Broccoli: an asset to eating well
Published: May 29, 2020
A ½ cup serving of broccoli provides many essential nutrients which are required for optimal body function.
As well as contributing to your intake of essential vitamins and minerals, broccoli also contains a variety of phytochemicals some of which are thought to offer protection against some forms of cancer.
There is a significant amount of research concerning the health benefits associated with the consumption of vegetables such as broccoli.
However, research has yet to identify a direct cause effect relationship between the consumption of broccoli, and other cruciferous vegetables, and a reduced risk of cancer.
In addition, some studies suggest that when consumed in a particular form components in broccoli may have a negative effect on health.
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable belonging to the species Brassica oleracea commonly referred to as the cabbage family. Other vegetables within this species include various types of cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, kale, and kohlrabi.
Calabrese broccoli is the most common type of broccoli recognised for its large dark green head and leaves, and thick stalks. Another type of broccoli is “sprouting broccoli” which has thinner stalks and more heads which can be green or purple.
The head or flower head is composed of small florets, “tree-like” structures which sprout from the stalk.
In its natural state dark green leaves surround the flower head and along with the stalk are also edible although thick stalks may need to be peeled if woody. Grocry store broccoli is usually leafless.
Although broccoli appears similar to cauliflower, cauliflower heads consist of fused curds rather than numerous individual small florets. Broccoli is seldom “out of season”, but needs a rich soil and plenty of water for crops to flourish.
Broccoli may have Mediterranean origins and has been cultivated in parts of Europe since medieval time. Different cultivars are grown in various parts of Europe and America.
In the last few decades broccoli has become one of the most popular vegetables, particularly among the cabbage family.
This is not only due to its flavour, but also its nutrient composition.
When selecting broccoli look for small, fresh heads and stalks that you can snap between your fingers.
Broccoli is a source of essential macronutrients and micronutrients which support health. Macronutrients include carbohydrate, protein (all essential amino acids in very small amounts) and fibre.
Related TopicsDiet Health Food Choices Cooking Methods Nutrients Carbohydrates Protein Micronutrients Minerals Vitamins Phytochemicals Your Body
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CSPI November 2007, CSPI November 2011