Broccoli, a member of the Brassicaceae family of nutrient-rich vegetables, offers several health benefits. The brassica genus also includes familiar cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and bok choy. Once considered strictly a winter vegetable, markets now feature fresh broccoli year round. Broccoli derives its name from the Italian word “brocco” meaning arm or branch.
Raw broccoli makes a great addition to crudite platters or garden salads. According to the USDA Nutrient Database, a standard 100-gram serving of raw broccoli has 34 calories with less than half a gram of fat, 1.7 grams of sugar, 6.6 grams carbohydrates, 2.6 grams dietary fiber and 2.8 grams of protein. Broccoli also contributes greatly to your daily vitamin and mineral requirements. For example, raw broccoli delivers 89.2 milligrams of vitamin C, which equates to 149 percent of your daily allowance. In its raw state, broccoli provides 9 percent of your daily requirement of potassium and 12 percent vitamin A.
Serve cooked broccoli as a healthy side dish with lean meats or fish. Most people think cooked vegetables lose a substantial amount of nutrients, however the USDA Nutrient Database tells a different story. A 100-gram serving of cooked broccoli has 35 calories, comprised of 7.18 grams carbohydrates, including 3.3 grams of dietary fiber, and 2.38 grams protein. The same serving size contains 65 milligrams of vitamin C, or 90 percent of the daily recommended amount and 31 percent vitamin A. Look to cooked broccoli as a good source of potassium, delivering 6 percent of RDA, or 293 milligrams per serving.
Use frozen broccoli in baked recipes or as a healthy side dish. A 100-gram serving of frozen broccoli contains 5.35 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 3.10 grams of protein and 28 calories. It also contains just 0.1 gram of fat, making it virtually fat-free. Frozen broccoli delivers 40.1 milligrams of vitamin C, or roughly 53 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. It also provides 5 percent of your total requirement of potassium and 48 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A.
Of cruciferous vegetables, broccoli contains the highest concentration of sulfur-rich glucosinolates. Scientists from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University believe these organic compounds may act to eradicate carcinogens in the body before they have a chance to attack healthy DNA. In addition, glucosinolates could possibly prevent normal cell tissue from becoming cancerous.
- University of Florida; Broccoli; James M. Stephens; 1994
- Penn State University Agriculture Alternatives; Broccoli Production; 2000
- USDA National Agricultural Library: Broccoli, Raw
- USDA National Agricultural Library: Broccoli, Cooked, Boiled, Drained, Without Salt
- USDA National Agricultural Library: Broccoli, Frozen, Spears, Cooked, Boiled, Drained, Without Salt
- Photos.com/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.