This hearty, tasty vegetable is rich in dozens of nutrients. Broccoli provides a health bonus in the form of protective substances that may shield you from a deadly disease. Botanically, Broccoli belongs to the cabbage family, collectively known as cruciferous vegetables. In fact, it packs the most nutritional punch of any vegetable.
Broccoli’s noteworthy nutrients include:
- Vitamin C & F
- Vitamin A (mostly as beta-carotene)- Beta-carotene and vitamin C are important antioxidants that have been linked to a reduced risk of numerous conditions, including cataracts, heart disease, and several cancers.
- Calcium- Broccoli is an important calcium source for those who don’t consume dairy products. Calcium does more than build strong bones. Research shows that this mineral may play a role in the control of high blood pressure, and it may work to prevent colon cancer.
- Fiber- Broccoli is a fiber find. Not only is it a rich source, but also contains half of each of the fibers- insoluble and soluble. We need both the types for healthy functioning of the body.
But the story doesn’t end with broccoli’s rich array of nutrients.
Health organizations have singled out cruciferous vegetables as must-have foods, recommending we eat them several times a week. Why? They are linked to lower rates of cancer. Like all cruciferous vegetables, broccoli naturally contains two important phytochemicals — indoles and isothiocyanates.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore isolated from broccoli an isothiocyanate, called sulforaphane that increases the activity of a group of enzymes in our bodies that squelch cancer-causing agents.