Broccoli has always been touted as a super food. It has many Health boosting properties. But, more on that later. Let’s first talk about its history. It is believed to have originated in the Mediterranean region and owns its name from Latin word “brachium” which means branch. Botanically speaking, it belongs to the brassica family, which is reputed to possess powerful cancer-fighting plant chemicals, known as phytochemicals, like sulphoraphane (sulphur compounds), glucosinolates, flavonoids and carotenoids.
Regular consumption of Broccoli can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and increase immunity. Sulphoraphane and glucosinolates found in broccoli when chewed are released in our body, which are then converted into phyto-nutrients called isothiocyanates and indoles. Indoles act as chemo-preventive agents, especially against hormone-related cancers. Researches have also proved that Isothiocyanates inhibit formation of tumour. Additionally, isothiocynates play a protective role in combating pancreatic cancer. Sulphoraphone has an inhibitory effect on breast cancer cells, even in the advanced stages. Broccoli is also effective against H.Pylori, the bacteria responsible for peptic ulcers and gastric cancer.
Vitamin C and beta-carotene found in Broccoli are powerful antioxidants that helps building a strong immune system, fend off chronic diseases and slows aging process. Beta-carotene is known to show anti-cancer properties and lutein, a carotenoid, aids in avoiding cataract, heart disease and stroke.
It doesn’t stops hear. Broccoli is also full of iron and folic acid. Folic acid is everyone must be aware is needed to preserve cellular health and DNA. Iron is crucial in preventing anemia.
Broccoli is also rich in other B-complex vitamins like vitamin B2 (riboflavin). Riboflavin is a water-soluble vitamin which assists in energy production and also plays crucial role in maintaining Health of Skin, eyes and red blood cells. Potassium in broccoli also makes it useful for blood – pressure regulation. Vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin, which helps blood clotting and protein production, is found in large content in broccoli.
Broccoli is also good for bones because it contains calcium.
But all these nutrients are available only if you cook broccoli properly. Isothiocyanates content is three times more in raw broccoli than in cooked. Boiling broccoli destroys Vitamin C by half. Cooking methods like boiling, stir-frying and microwaving destroys nutrients significantly while steaming conserves the nutrients the most. So, the best way to consume broccoli is steaming it first and avoid other methods of cooking. Buy broccoli which has deep green head with tight and dense florets. Yellow florets means that broccoli has aged.
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