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Broccoli

Broccoli evolved from a wild cabbage plant on the continent of Europe. Indications point to the vegetable's being known 2,000 years ago. Since the Roman Empire, broccoli has been considered a uniquely valuable food among Italians. Broccoli was grown at Antwerp whence it was taken to England by the sculptor Peter Scheemakers, according to a biographical note by J. T. Smith. Broccoli was first introduced to the United States by Italian immigrants but did not become widely known until the 1920s.

Broccoli is usually boiled or steamed, but may be eaten raw and has become popular as a raw vegetable in hors d'œuvre trays. Boiling reduces the levels of suspected anti-cancer compounds in broccoli, with losses of 20 – 30% after five minutes, 40 – 50% after ten minutes, and 77% after thirty minutes. Steaming broccoli for 3–4 minutes is recommended to maximize potential anti-cancer compounds, such as sulforaphane.

Nutritional Information

Broccoli is high in vitamin C, as well as dietary fiber; it also contains multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties, such as diindolylmethane and small amounts of selenium.[9] A single serving provides more than 30 mg of Vitamin C and a half-cup provides 52 mg of Vitamin C. The 3,3'-Diindolylmethane found in broccoli is a potent modulator of the innate immune response system with anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer activity. Broccoli also contains the compound glucoraphanin, which can be processed into an anti-cancer compound sulforaphane, though the benefits of broccoli are greatly reduced if the vegetable is boiled. Broccoli is also an excellent source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.Broccoli has the highest levels of carotenoids in the brassica family. It is particularly rich in lutein and also provides beta-carotene.


A high intake of broccoli has been found to reduce the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Broccoli consumption has also been shown to be beneficial in the prevention of heart disease. Broccoli consumption is also associated with malodorous flatulence, due to a high sulfate content.

Broccoli, raw (edible parts)
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 141 kJ (34 kcal)
Carbohydrates 6.64 g
- Sugars 1.7 g
- Dietary fiber 2.6 g
Fat 0.37 g
Protein 2.82 g
Water 89.30 g
Vitamin A equiv. 31 μg (3%)
- beta-carotene 361 μg (3%)
- lutein and zeaxanthin 1121 μg
Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.071 mg (5%)
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.117 mg (8%)
Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.639 mg (4%)
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.573 mg (11%)
Vitamin B6 0.175 mg (13%)
Folate (Vit. B9) 63 μg (16%)
Vitamin C 89.2 mg (149%)
Vitamin E 0.78 mg (5%)
Vitamin K 101.6 μg (97%)
Calcium 47 mg (5%)
Iron 0.73 mg (6%)
Magnesium 21 mg (6%)
Phosphorus 66 mg (9%)
Potassium 316 mg (7%)
Zinc 0.41 mg (4%)
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database

Cultivation


Broccoli is a cool-weather crop that does poorly in hot summer weather. Broccoli grows best when exposed to an average daily temperature between 18 and 23 °C (64 and 73 °F). When the cluster of flowers, also referred to as a "head" of broccoli, appear in the center of the plant, the cluster is green. Garden pruners or shears are used to cut the head about an inch from the tip. Broccoli should be cultivated before the flowers on the head bloom bright yellow.

Books on broccoli
 

 

Humpty Dumpty Health Book
Humpty Dumpty's Guide to Healthy Eating for Kids

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