Broccoli has been around for more than 2000 years, The name “broccoli” comes for the Latin word brachium, which means “branch,” or “arm.”

Americans have grown it in their gardens for only about 200 years! The first commercially grown broccoli was grown and harvested in New York, then planted in the 1920’s in California. A few crates were sent back East and by 1925 the broccoli market was off the ground.

Broccoli’s Italian Roots

Broccoli has been around for more than 2000 years, but Americans have grown it in their gardens for only about 200 years.

Broccoli has its roots in Italy. In ancient Roman times, it was developed from wild cabbage, a plant that more resembles collards than broccoli. Broccoli was introduced to the United States in colonial times, popularized by Italian immigrants who brought this prized vegetable with them to the New World.

Broccoli is a vegetable very much like spinach. Often people will tend to overcook it, and they end up with a very shriveled up, soft and unpleasant tasting vegetable. When cooked properly, broccoli is a crisp and sweet healthy vegetable.

Broccoli Nutrition

  • Broccoli is the superhero of the vegetable kingdom with its rich vitamin A content.
  • Though a bit on the bitter side, broccoli leaves are edible and contain generous amounts of vitamin A.
  • Broccoli that has been cooked still has 15 percent more vitamin C than an orange and as much calcium as milk.
  • Frozen broccoli has twice as much sodium as fresh (up to 68 mg per 10 oz. package), about half the calcium, and smaller amounts of iron, thiamin, riboflavin, and vitamin C.
  • Folic acid is also abundant with one-half cup cooked registering 39 mcg and raw 31.2 mcg.
  • Broccoli offers 71.8 mg of calcium for a whole cup of cooked, as much calcium as 4 oz. of milk.
  • One cup of cooked broccoli has as much vitamin C as an orange — a cup of broccoli actually fulfills your daily vitamin C requirement.
  • Broccoli (1 cup chopped) contains 90 percent RDA of vitamin A, 200 percent of vitamin C, 6 percent of niacin, 10 percent of calcium, 10 percent of thiamin, 10 percent of phosphorus and 8 percent of iron.
  • Broccoli provides 25 percent of your fiber needs and to top it off, five grams of protein.
  • Broccoli contains only 22 calories for one-half cup chopped and boiled and 12 calories for one-half cup raw.
  • Across the nutrition scale, broccoli contains all the nutrients mentioned above in addition to vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.

Broccoli too Bitter?

New research from two studies suggests that some people have a stronger aversion to bitter foods than others. A gene variat labeled TAS2R38 is to blame. In people with this gene variant, bitter compounds bind more tightly to taste buds. Instead of passing on broccoli or other bitter vegetables, roast them to bring out their natural sweetness. Add a bit of salt and oil, which blocks bitter receptors on the tongue.

Broccoli and Your Immune System

Even if you don’t like the taste of this vegetable, you’ll enjoy it more than having a compromised immune system. Full of vitamins A, C, and D, it can help with a variety of ailments, including infection.

Broccoli vs. Cancer

The green pigment in broccoli makes it a potent disease-fighter. Substances called isothiocyanates, found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, stimulate our bodies to break down potential carcinogens. Plus, ounce for ounce, broccoli contains as much calcium as milk. Vegetables in the crucifer family range widely in color, shape and flavor, from squat purple turnips to lanky, leafy nappa cabbage. Most crucifers are strong-flavored and require an assertive seasoning to bring out their best.

Broccoli Varieties

Broccoli was first grown in the Italian province of Calabria and was given the name Calabrese. Today there are many varieties. In the United States, the most common type of broccoli is the Italian green or sprouting variety. Its green stalks are topped with umbrella-shaped clusters of purplish green florets.

Purchasing Broccoli

When purchasing broccoli, select ones where the stalks are tight and firm. The buds should be tightly closed and the leaves are crisp and very green. Also note that if the broccoli tends to have a very strong smell or if the leaves have a slightly yellow color, it can often suggest that it is old. Try and avoid broccoli where the buds are yellow in color. When purchasing broccoli, keep in mind that good color indicates high nutrient value. Avoid ALL broccoli with open, flowering, discolored, or water-soaked bud clusters and tough, woody stems.

Storing Broccoli

With broccoli, it is best to store them in a plastic bag and then place them in the refrigerator. Do not rinse or wash the broccoli when storing. Of course, as with most vegetables, broccoli should be eaten as soon as possible to retain the freshness and nutrition.

Cleaning Broccoli

To clean broccoli, simply rinse the broccoli with cold water but do not soak. Soaking the broccoli can cause it to lose some of its nutrients. Next trim the base of the stem. If you find the stem is quite tough, try removing the outer layer of the stem. Though most of the time, once the broccoli is cooked the stem is already tender.

Cooking Broccoli

The best way to cook broccoli is to use a steamer. You can also cook in the microwave or stir-fry with a little broth or water. These methods are far better than boiling. Some of the vitamin and mineral content are lost from the vegetable and end up in the cooking water when they are boiled.

Cooked broccoli should be tender enough so that it can be pierced with a sharp knife, and still remain crisp and bright green in color.

To eliminate the smell of broccoli, add a slice of bread to the pot.

Tasty Broccoli. Steam broccoli briefly and add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and a dash of soy sauce.

Steaming Broccoli: The Best Choice

A study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture investigated the effects of various methods of cooking broccoli. Of all the methods of preparation, steaming caused the least loss of nutrients.

Boiling for typical time periods caused a loss of 56 percent of the folate in broccoli, and 51 percent of the folate in spinach, while boiling potatoes caused only minimal folate loss. Steaming spinach or broccoli, in contrast, caused no significant loss of folate.

Steamed Broccoli Florets

Freshly steamed broccoli florets are delicious as a side dish, especially when tossed with a unique dressing. For broccoli with a Mediterranean flair, combine 1/2 cup vinaigrette dressing, 1 tablespoon chopped sun-dried tomatoes and 1 tablespoon pitted kalamata olives; toss gently with the broccoli.

Microwaving Broccoli

Microwaving broccoli resulted in a loss of 97, 74 and 87 percent of its three major antioxidant compounds – flavonoids, sinapics and caffeoyl-quinic derivatives. In comparison, steaming broccoli resulted in a loss of only 11, 0 and 8 percent, respectively, of the same antioxidants.

You probably do not need any convincing that broccoli, the classic “good for you” vegetable, is a healthy choice, so if you can, place an increased emphasis on dark green vegetables like broccoli and leafy greens such as spinach and kale.

Fresh vs. Frozen Broccoli

Packaged frozen broccoli differs from fresh in its nutrient content. The flower buds or florets are richer in beta carotene than the stalks. Manufactures typically cut off most of the stalk before packaging it, so frozen broccoli may contain 35 percent more beta carotene by weight than fresh broccoli. The downside is that frozen broccoli has twice as much sodium as fresh (up to 68 mg per 10 oz. package), about half the calcium, and smaller amounts of iron, thiamin, riboflavin, and vitamin C.

Stir-fried Broccoli Recipe

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or cooking oil
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1 small onion – sliced
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 pound broccoli, washed and prepared
  • 2 tablespoons water

Heat oil in saucepan or wok. Add sliced onions to wok. After a few minutes add the garlic. Mix for about one minute.

Add broccoli, 2 tablespoons water and cover. Cook over low to medium heat for about three minutes or until desired crispness and tenderness. Add oyster sauce, mix well and serve.

Broccoli At Its Best

Available all year round, broccoli is best from October to May. Broccoli stems should not be too thick. Wilted leaves may indicate old age. Do not buy any broccoli if buds are open or yellowish. Bud clusters should be firm, closed and of good green color. Use as soon as purchased. Refrigeration will help retain the vitamin A and C content of your broccoli.

Broccoli (one cup chopped) contains 90 percent RDA of vitamin A, 200 percent of vitamin C, 6 percent of niacin, 10 percent of calcium, 10 percent of thiamin, 10 percent of phosphorus and 8 percent of iron. It also provides 25 percent of your fiber needs and to top it off, five grams of protein.

Broccoli has a strong, positive impact on our body’s detoxification system.

Broccoli may help us solve our vitamin D deficiency epidemic.

Broccoli is a particularly rich source of a flavonoid called kaempferol. Recent research has shown the ability of kaempferol to lessen the impact of allergy-related substances on our body.

Thirteen percent of broccoli, in a study showed that pesticides residue remained. The worst one is Parathion and even after washing and boiling some may remain. Parathion is an organic phosphorus compound used as an insecticide that is extremely toxic to humans.

To cook all parts of the broccoli equally, cut an X in the stem.

To eliminate the smell of broccoli, add a slice of bread to the pot.

Broccoli florets have about eight times as much beta carotene as the stalks.

Over-cooked broccoli becomes soft and mushy, an indication that it has lost both nutrients and flavor.

Broccoli that has been cooked still has 15 percent more vitamin C than an orange and as much calcium as milk.

Adding a lemon wedge to the saucepan when you are cooking broccoli will cut down on the odor considerably.

To retain the nutrients in broccoli, either steam it, stir-fry it, or boil it in a very small amount of water. Most other methods will cause a nutrient loss of about 25 to 35 percent.

Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli tend to release strong smelling chemical compounds when cooked. These ammonia and hydrogen sulfide compounds will smell up the kitchen. Steaming or cooking in a small amount of water and as fast as possible will reduce this problem.

broccoli Health Benefits 2022

Broccoli FAQs

Is broccoli the healthiest vegetable?

Broccoli is the only vegetable you actually need to eat, according to a doctor

  • It can be a challenge to get your five-a-day of fruit and vegetables.
  • According to a doctor, broccoli is all you need.
  • The green vegetable is good for healthy gut bacteria, bowel health, and improving immune health.

Is broccoli healthier raw or cooked?

Actually, raw broccoli is not necessarily more healthful than cooked. Broccoli is part of the cruciferous vegetable family and great food to include in your diet either raw or lightly cooked. These vegetables provide many nutrients but their unique contribution is a group of compounds called glucosinolates.

Does broccoli have carbs?

One cup (91 grams) of raw broccoli contains 6 grams of carbs, 2 of which are fiber (8). It also provides more than 100% of the RDI for vitamins C and K. Broccoli contains 4 grams of digestible carbs per serving.

Is broccoli a Superfood?

Broccoli has a reputation as a superfood. It is low in calories but contains a wealth of nutrients and antioxidants that support many aspects of human health. Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, alongside kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, collard greens, rutabaga, and turnips.

What part of broccoli do we eat?

Broccoli has two main edible parts, the florets — the dark green forest-y tops which are actually undeveloped flower buds — and the stalk — the pale green undercarriage like the trunk of a tree.

How do I eat broccoli?

Broccoli is a nutritious and delicious vegetable that can be eaten many different ways. Eat it raw, with a dip or in a salad, to get the most nutrients out of it. Roast, steam, or pan-fry it for a healthy and tasty side dish or snack, or add it into recipes like pasta, stir fry, and soup.

Does broccoli give you gas?

Kale, broccoli, and cabbage are cruciferous vegetables, which contain raffinose — a sugar that remains undigested until bacteria in your gut ferment it, which produces gas and, in turn, makes you bloat. But don’t shun those healthful greens just yet.

Is broccoli a keto?

Broccoli is a Keto-friendly vegetable because it’s high in fiber making it’s net carbs low. Broccoli has about 2 net carbs per 1 cup of broccoli.

What is the healthiest way to eat broccoli?

Cooking (Or Not Cooking) Broccoli To Protect Its Nutritional Riches : The Salt Cooking broccoli too long destroys the beneficial enzyme that breaks down chemicals into cancer fighters. The best way to eat it is raw or steamed for just two to three minutes, a nutrition expert says.

How do you store broccoli in the refrigerator?

Consume fresh broccoli as soon as you can as it will not keep long. To store, mist the unwashed heads, wrap loosely in damp paper towels, and refrigerate. Use within 2 to 3 days. Do not store broccoli in a sealed container or plastic bag.

How long should I boil broccoli?

Trim and cut the stalk in half, then finely slice it. Once boiling, use a slotted spoon to carefully lower the broccoli into the water. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until tender – you should be able to poke the tip of a knife easily into the florets.

Do you need to peel broccoli stems?

But if you’re going to put your stems into a stir-fry, cook them in something like a frittata, or blanch them for a dipping scenario, you should definitely peel them. Basically, if they’re being cooked for a long time, leave the skin on, and if it’s just for a few minutes, peel it. … Peeling broccoli stems is easy.

Are broccoli stalks healthy?

Broccoli stalks are as nutritious as the broccoli florets. Broccoli stalks are low in calories and high in fibre. You can put broccoli stalks in soups, salads or stir-fry them.

Does broccoli make you poop?

In a 2017 study , healthy people ate either 20 g of raw broccoli sprouts or 20 g of alfalfa sprouts every day for 4 weeks. The researchers found that the people who ate broccoli sprouts had fewer symptoms of constipation and quicker bowel movements.

Is broccoli a protein or carb?

Raw broccoli contains almost 90% water, 7% carbs, 3% protein, and almost no fat. Broccoli is very low in calories, providing only 31 calories per cup (91 grams).

Which is healthier broccoli or cauliflower?

Broccoli and cauliflower contain many of the same nutrients, but broccoli has more of them, Kuhn says. “Overall, that makes it a healthier choice,” Kuhn says. However, cauliflower is also a healthy veggie that’s low in calories, high in fiber and packed with nutrients.

How much broccoli should you eat a day?

The good news is that it doesn’t take much to enjoy the health benefits, especially because adults only need about 2.5 cups of cooked vegetables per day (you’ll need a slightly larger amount if they’re raw).

Can I freeze fresh broccoli?

To blanch the broccoli, bring a pan of water to the boil. Have a bowl of iced water ready, along with a tray lined with kitchen paper. … Pat dry, then lay the broccoli on a tray in a single layer and freeze until solid. Transfer to a labelled freezer bag, and freeze for up to a year.

How do you keep broccoli fresh longer?

To store fresh broccoli, mist unwashed heads, wrap loosely with paper towels, and keep it in the refrigerator. This will help to keep broccoli fresh for at least two or three days. If you need to store broccoli for longer than a few days, you will need to cut your broccoli into small pieces, blanch it and freeze it.

How do you know if broccoli has gone bad?

If broccoli florets have changed from its typical dark green into a yellowish color, this means that it has started to spoil. Touch. When spoiled, broccoli stems become soft with a slimy texture. What’s more, you can see brown moldy spots on the broccoli head, meaning it needs to be thrown out.

Can you eat broccoli raw?

Broccoli can be eaten cooked or raw — both are perfectly healthy but provide different nutrient profiles. Different cooking methods, such as boiling, microwaving, stir-frying and steaming, alter the vegetable’s nutrient composition, particularly reducing vitamin C, as well as soluble protein and sugar.

Can we eat broccoli leaves?

Can you eat broccoli leaves? Yes! In fact, using broccoli leaves just as you would any other greens, like kale or spinach, is a great way to perk up salads and other dishes.

When should you eat broccoli?

According to new research aggregated by Eat Clean, certain veggies are better eaten at lunch. Cruciferous vegetables—like broccoli and cauliflower—are loaded with vitamins that are great for you, but they also carry a large amount of insoluble fiber, which takes forever to digest.

Is broccoli a fat burner?

Broccoli contains phytochemicals that help enhance fat loss in the body.

Why does broccoli make my stomach upset?

Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli and cabbage, have the same sugars that make beans gassy. Their high fiber can also make them hard to digest. It will be easier on your stomach if you cook them instead of eating raw.

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