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Broccoli is known as one of the rich source one particular Phytonutrient (a flavonol) called ‘Kaempferol’. It is also a very good source of Vitamin E, B1, B6, dietary fiber,Vitamin A(in form of Carotenoids), Potassium, Copper, Pantothenic Acid, Manganese, Zinc, Iron and Phosphorus as well. It is also known as a rich source of Calcium having anti-oxidant properties which help to prevent from some forms of Cancer. The flavor of broccoli also resembles that of cabbage but is somewhat milder. Some vegetable scholars recognize broccoli in the cookbook of Apicius also. Agriculture and Agri-Food department of Canada lists broccoli among the major field vegetables grown for fresh eating. Broccoli is planted in spring and cultivated in the month of August. The article is about Health Benefits of Broccoli.
Broccoli has its three most commonly varieties such as Calabrese Broccoli, Sprouting Broccoli, Romanesco Broccoli, Chinese Broccoli, Rabe Broccoflower and Purple Cauliflower etc. From these Calabrese Broccoli is most familiar broccoli. It has large green heads and thick stalks. It is named after Calabria which is a place in Italy where it was first cultivated. So basically broccoli is a cool-weather crop. Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family, making it a cruciferous vegetable.
History and Origin of Broccoli
Broccoli is an edible vegetable which generally looks like Cabbage. Its upper part (head) is used to be eaten. Broccoli is a word which came from Italian word “Broccolo”which means “cabbage sprout”. Though Broccoli is a form of Cabbage which is also known as the other names such as Brassica Oleracea Capitata DC or Brassica Oleracea Conica of mustard (Brassicaceae), flowering plant family is grown up for its edible flower buds and stalk. It is mostly found in eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor.
Broccoli was an Italian vegetable, as its name suggests, long before it was eaten elsewhere but it also a fact that firstly it was mentioned in France in the year 1560. The commercial cultivation of broccoli in the United States can be traced to the D’Arrigo brothers, named as Stephano and Andrea, which were the immigrants from Messina, Italy and after that their company made some tentative plantings in San Jose, California in the year 1922. Since 1980, the eating of fresh broccoli has been drastically increases as quadrupled in North America. Kids who were raised in the 70s and 80s decades are still eating broccoli, and some of them are having families and feeding it to their own kids too.
In America it has its great importance because broccoli, of all things, came up in the Supreme Court during arguments over the constitutionality of the Obama administration’s health care legislation. At some time, broccoli was also called the Italian Asparagus.
How Broccoli became popular
Broccoli has been considered as a one of most valuable vegetable since the Roman Empire by the Italians. It was first introduced in England in the mid of 18th century with its name as “Italian asparagus.”. Intent gardener, Thomas Jefferson, also made a record of experimenting with broccoli seeds brought over from Italy in the late 1700s. It is the total diet or overall eating pattern that is most important in disease prevention and achieving good health. So broccoli is one of a vast array of plants that provide value to human beings.
California of United States produces 90% of nations broccoli. Perhaps we should rename California as the “broccoli state” of United States. US enjoys their broccoli with the average American eating over 4 pounds a year by the data published by National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA. Now United States is the third largest producer of broccoli after China and India.
Nutritional Benefits of Broccoli
1. Vitamins and Minerals –
There are multiple vitamins and minerals are found in broccoli. It has Vitamin C and Vitamin K1, those are major Vitamins found while Florate B9, Potassium, Manganese and Iron are found as minerals. Except these other vitamins are also found in the very small amount. Vitamin C helps you to improve your skin glow while Vitamin K1 is important for blood clotting and promote bone health too.
Florate B9 is very helpful for pregnant woman while florate is important for normal tissue growth and cell function. Potassium is very beneficial for blood pressure control. Iron is important for the transportation of oxygen in red blood cells.
2. Protein –
Broccoli has 2.8 g protein in per 100 gram. Protein is known as the building blocks of our body. Broccoli has more protein than steak. Also broccoli probably isn’t the first food that you think of when you’re searching for sources of protein, but it does provide ample of protein without any fat. Substances those you need to stay alive, such as hormones, enzymes and oxygen-carrying hemoglobin, all consist of protein.
3. Fiber –
Broccoli is an enriched source of fiber. So it helps to get rid of toxins through the digestive tract. There is 2.6 gram fiber in per 100 gram. A cup of raw broccoli contains 2.4 grams of fiber while one cup of cooked broccoli contains about 5 grams of dietary fiber.
4. Carbohydrates –
The carbohydrates in broccoli mainly consist of fiber and sugars. There is 7 gm carb which is found in per 100 gram broccoli. Studies also that show broccoli may decrease insulin resistance in type 2 diabetics. Despite the small minority of anti-carbohydrate proponents, virtually nobody will never suggest that broccoli is a “bad” source of carbohydrates.
Health Benefits of Broccoli
1. Looking younger
Broccoli is broadly nutritious vegetable or fruit. It has highly dense vitamin C, vitamin A, riboflavin, calcium, iron, and soluble fiber. From which antioxidant Vitamin C is the source which helps you to look younger. This antioxidant vitamin C, when eaten in its natural form can help to fight skin damage caused by the sun and pollution, reduce wrinkles, and improve overall skin texture. The amount of Vitamin C which is found in the broccoli is 89.2 mg in 100 gram. This is the vegetable which has the more Vitamin than Orange.
2. Cancer Prevention
There are particular compounds such as phytochemicals, sulforaphane, and the indoles those are found in broccoli which help to protect against cancer. From which Sulforaphane is a compund which helps to fights against cancer on various fronts. There are also various studies which concludes that broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables might play in cancer prevention. Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower and cabbage which contain a group of phytochemicals, also seem to have cancer-preventing properties.
3. Cholesterol Levels
As body needs some cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest foods. Cholesterol plays a vital role for human health, but it’s entirely possible to have too much or too high count within your body. Broccoli is plentiful in soluble fiber, which does wonders for high cholesterol. This makes excreting cholesterol out of our body easy.
4. Eye Health
Broccoli, which contains beta-carotene, vitamin A, phosphorous and other vitamins such B complex, vitamin C and E. Lacking of Vitamin A can cause of blindness so it is a very rich source of this which helps you to protect your eye from any type of disease.
5. Skin Care
As broccoli is also an enriched source of antioxidants and nutrients like vitamin C which helps you to maintain your skin glow. It helps to protect the skin from getting infections as well as keep the natural glow of your skin.
6. Bone Health
As broccoli contains both Calcium and Vitamin K so it helps us to strengthen our bones also by preventing of osteoporosis. Because broccoli is full of other nutrients such as magnesium, zinc and phosphorous so it is extremely suitable for children, elderly and lactating mothers as well.
Broccoli is a cool-season vegetable and is closely related to cauliflower and cabbage, requiring similar production requirements. It is very rich source of Vitamin, fibers, protein and other nutrients which help our body to be healthy. Having these properties it is very good source to gain these in less price. Prices received for fresh broccoli are typically higher than prices received for broccoli for processing.