Broccoli

These amazing vegetables, resembling miniature trees, have a reputation for being one of the healthiest. Of course, we are talking about broccoli.

General characteristics

Broccoli belongs to the cruciferous family, and its closest relatives are different types of cabbage, including cauliflower, white cabbage, Brussels sprouts. It is believed that the ancient Romans were the first to notice the benefits of this cabbage, when the wild "progenitor" of the vegetable inhabited the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

Many reject this vegetable because of its spicy-bitter taste, which broccoli got from the sulfur it contains. Meanwhile, it is sulfur and other important components that make this amazing cabbage one of the most useful.

Health Benefits

Broccoli is rich in many nutrients and is on the list for antioxidants. However, it is important to know: heat treatment destroys some of them. Interestingly, a raw vegetable contains almost twice as much vitamin C as oranges and about as much calcium as milk. The presence of selenium in the composition of this cabbage makes it an effective antiviral and anti-cancer product.

After more than three hundred scientific studies, scientists have identified the most important benefits of the vegetable. Broccoli is useful for chronic inflammation,for cleansing the body and preventing oxidative processes. The use of broccoli increases the body's ability to eliminate carcinogens and oxidants obtained with food or inhaled into the body. Scientists after a series of experiments claim that the vegetable has such properties due to the phytochemical substance sulforaphane. In addition, many studies have proven the ability of green-purple cabbage to prevent cancer. At the same time, scientists emphasize that the bioavailability (ability to be absorbed into the system) of isothiocyanates (phytochemicals or chemicals found in plants) from fresh vegetables is almost 3 times more effective than from boiled ones. The results of another interesting study confirmed the importance of cruciferous consumption (including broccoli) in preventing DNA damage. The list of health benefits does not end there. Below we consider in more detail the effect of this plant on the organs and systems of the human body.

Broccoli: benefits and harms for humans

Vegetables are very beneficial for human health, and broccoli is no exception. Using it, a person receives dozens, if not hundreds, of extremely useful components. Here are just a few of these benefits.

Sulforaphane, which has already been mentioned, is able to destroy cancer stem cells. This means that the named substance, which is part of this amazing cabbage, destroys malignant tumors at the root. Another chemical compound - glucoraphanin - activates enzymatic processes in cells, as a result of which protection against carcinogens is enhanced.

Researchers have found that sulforaphane normalizes DNA methylation (makes it possible for a methyl group to be attached to the DNA molecule), a process that determines gene formation. On the other hand, DNA methylation makes it possible to suppress unwanted genes. Abnormal DNA methylation almost always plays a key role in the development of all types of cancer. Scientists say that consumption of broccoli 4 times a week prevents prostate cancer. In addition, in male lovers of broccoli, the researchers found many positive changes in the body. In addition to prostate cancer, cabbage prevents oncological diseases of the breast, uterus and internal organs (lungs, liver, colon, kidneys). For the female body, this vegetable is useful as a product that removes excess estrogen.

Meanwhile, the anti-cancer properties of broccoli are determined not only by glucoraphanin, but also by selenium, beta-carotene, potassium, zinc, some amino acids, as well as antioxidant vitamins: A, E, C.

Beneficial for the kidneys

The components contained in the vegetable can improve the blood supply to the kidneys, and therefore activate the functions of this organ. Scientists confirmed this assumption during an experiment on laboratory rats.

Protects the heart

In addition to antioxidants and fiber, broccoli is rich in many vitamins, minerals and fatty acids. which, working in a complex manner, regulate the level of cholesterol, stabilize blood pressure, which is beneficial for the heart.

Potassium contained in the vegetable is known for its vasodilating properties, which can improve blood flow to the heart and fill vital organs with oxygen.

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The antioxidant properties of broccoli also stimulate the body's defenses. In particular, when ingested into the human body, the chemicals in cabbage reduce oxidative stress and prevent the weakening of the immune system that occurs over the years. In this case, we can say that broccoli also slows down the processes caused by aging.

Improves the condition of the digestive organs

It is also interesting that raw young broccoli sprouts improve the condition of the stomach, in particular, have a beneficial effect on its mucous cover. Many problems with the stomach are associated with the spread of Helicobacter pylori bacteria, including on its inner wall. Raw broccoli sprouts contain substances that regulate the growth of these unwanted bacteria.

In addition, fiber from broccoli prevents many digestive disorders, improves intestinal motility, and magnesium and vitamin complex regulate stomach acidity, contributing to proper digestion of food.

Prevents Arthritis

Recent tests in mouse cells have shown that sulfur-rich broccoli blocks the production of a key enzyme that causes cartilage breakdown. Increasing your diet with broccoli is thought to help slow (and in some cases prevent) osteoarthritis.

Improves eyesight

The vitamin complex, as well as the beneficial substances contained in broccoli (including zeaxanthin), make this vegetable beneficial for eye health. The healing components of this marvelous cabbage protect against macular degeneration of the eyes, cataracts, as well as from the harmful effects of UV radiation.

Detoxifies

Sulfur, vitamin C, and some amino acids make broccoli an important detox food for the body. This type of cabbage is suitable for a cleansing diet that removes toxins, free radicals, and excess uric acid from the body. The result of such exposure is a reduction in the risk of developing gout, arthritis, rheumatism, skin diseases, as well as the formation of kidney stones, rashes and boils.

Preservation of youthfulness and freshness of the skin directly depends on the presence of antioxidants in the diet, such as beta-carotene, vitamins A, B, C, E, K, Omega-substances. All of these elements are fully represented in young broccoli. That is why lovers of this vegetable do not have to worry about the possible early withering of the skin. In addition, some of the phytonutrients found in the vegetable protect against the negative effects of sunlight on the skin of the face.

Essential for pregnant women

Since broccoli is rich in many nutrients, it is essential for pregnant women. The presence of this vegetable in the diet provides the body of the expectant mother with proteins, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. Folic acid protects the unborn child from congenital pathologies, including those associated with the functionality of the central nervous system.

Important in the treatment of anemia

Iron and protein deficiency tends to cause anemia. Broccoli is rich in both substances, hence it can be considered a vegetable against anemia. Regular consumption of cabbage improves the general condition, blood flow and oxygen supply to organs, which is necessary for the proper functioning of all systems. In addition to these components, broccoli contains copper, a mineral that, along with iron, is responsible for the production of red blood cells.

Nutrients

Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamins K, C, folic acid and chromium. This vegetable has a lot of fiber and protein, B vitamins, A, E, as well as manganese, phosphorus, choline, potassium, copper, selenium, Omega-3 fatty acids and useful phytonutrients. In addition to all this, the vegetable contains almost no calories, since almost 9/10 consists of water.

Vitamin K found in cabbage is essential for proper blood clotting and protein formation. Folic acid is responsible for the production of new cells in the body, and vitamin C creates collagen - an indispensable component of bones, cartilage and skin. In addition, ascorbic acid is known to be one of the most powerful antioxidants.

Among the most beneficial phytonutrients contained in this type of cabbage are sulforaphane (prevents cancer), carotenoids (improve vision), kaempferol (protects against heart disease, inflammation, allergies, cancer ), quercetin (important for hypertensive patients).

Nutritional value per 100 g
Calories 34 kcal
Water 89 g
Proteins 2.8 g
Fat 0.04 g
Carbohydrates 6.6 g
Vitamin A 31.2 mcg
Vitamin C 89, 3 mg
Vitamin E 0.77 mg
Vitamin K 101.4 mcg
Vitamin B1 0.08 mg
Vitamin B2 0.13 mg
Vitamin B3 0.65 mg
Vitamin B5 0.55 mg
Vitamin B6 0.21 mg
Folic acid 63 mcg
Choline 18.7 mg
Calcium 46.3 mg
Iron 0.74 mg
Magnesium 22 mg
Phosphorus 68 mg
Potassium 315 mg
Sodium 34 mg
Zinc 0.42 mg
Copper 0.06 mg
Manganese 0.22 mg
Selenium 2.6 mcg

Possible side effects

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Even though broccoli has many health benefits, it is important for some people to consume this vegetable with extreme caution. First of all, we are talking about people prone to food allergies. In this case, broccoli can cause an allergic rash and skin irritation. In addition, the vegetable belongs to the so-called goiter factors, which can have a negative effect on the thyroid gland.

This information should be of interest to people taking blood thinners. American researchers believe that excessive consumption of broccoli may reduce the effectiveness of these drugs. This is explained by the presence of vitamin K in the vegetable.

How to choose and store correctly

The first rule for choosing broccoli is the same as when buying other vegetables. Cabbage should be without "bruises", rot and spots, the stem is solid, one tone.

The color of the vegetable can vary depending on the variety from bright green to purple-green. In no case should you take vegetables on which yellow flowers have appeared: this is a sign of overripeness. If leaves are attached to the inflorescence, then they should be fresh and bright, not withered.

Keeping a vegetable fresh is easy if you put it in a plastic bag without air and send it to the refrigerator. In this form, it can be stored for up to 10 days. Washing broccoli before storage is not worth it: water will accelerate the spoilage of the product. Pre-blanched vegetables can be frozen and stored for several months. But boiled broccoli is important to use within 1-2 days.

How to cook broccoli properly

No matter how you cook broccoli, the first step is always the same - wash the vegetable under running water and cut into portions.

To maintain a balance of taste, it is important that both inflorescences and stems are combined in one slice.

As for the method of cooking a vegetable, nutritionistscall steam cooking the most healthy . To speed up the preparation of fibrous stems, you can make a couple of longitudinal cuts. As a rule, as a result of this processing method, the vegetable reaches readiness in 5-7 minutes. But frying broccoli is not the best choice. Only 4 minutes of contact with hot oil (120-140 degrees) destroys almost 2/3 of the nutrients in the vegetable, including vitamins, phenols, minerals.

But still, raw broccoli is called the most beneficial for the body. At the same time, the young sprouts of this amazing cabbage are the tastiest. But too soft slices of boiled broccoli are a sure sign that there are practically no useful components left in the vegetable.

Broccoli Sauce

This vitamin dish can be used as a sauce, a bright decoration for other dishes, or as a dressing.

First, dip the broccoli, cut into small pieces, into boiling water for a few minutes (you can also steam it). At this stage, the cabbage should soften a little, but not lose the brightness of the greens. After that, send the prepared vegetable to a blender, add 2 cloves of garlic, a third of a glass of olive oil, a teaspoon each of cumin and coriander, onion, black pepper, about 2 tablespoons of juice of lemon or lime and a glass of water. Grind all ingredients to a puree. Pour the resulting mixture into a saucepan and cook over low heat for 3 minutes until excess liquid has evaporated. Add salt to taste to the finished sauce.

Broccoli is loved all over the world, not only for its excellent taste. The amazing properties of this vegetable to heal various ailments and prevent cell regeneration have made it a queen on the dinner table for 2000 years.

Sources
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  2. Medical News Today portal. – The health benefits of broccoli.
  3. Health website Healthline. – Top 14 health benefits of broccoli.
  4. NeuroscienceNews. – Broccoli sprout compound may restore brain chemistry imbalance linked to schizophrenia.
  5. U. S. National library of medicine. – Antioxidant and Anticancer Activities of Broccoli By-Products.
  6. U. S. National library of medicine. – Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of broccoli florets.
  7. ResearchGate social network for scientists. – Therapeutic potential of brassica oleracea (broccoli).
  8. ScienceDaily. – Natural compound found in broccoli reawakens the function of potent tumor suppressor.
  9. U. S. department of agriculture. – Broccoli, raw.
  10. NutritionValue.org. – Broccoli, raw.
  11. Oxford Academic Journal. – Antioxidant properties of green broccoli and purple-sprouting broccoli under different cooking conditions.
  12. American Chemical Society (ACS) Publications. – Kinetics of the stability of broccoli myrosinase and isothiocyanates in broccoli juice during pressure/temperature treatments.