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Broccoli Nutrition facts

Broccoli is a cabbage family vegetable grown for its nutritious flower heads. Its green or purple florets are known for several noteworthy, unique phytonutrients that have been found to have disease-preventing and health-promoting properties.

Botanically, the vegetable is a member of large cruciferous (Brassica) family of vegetables, which also include cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage, and arugula.

Scientific name: Brassica oleracea var. italica.

Broccoli head.

Broccoli is a cool-season crop and demands fertile and well-drained soil to flourish. Technically, broccoli is categorized into two main types according to their appearance; heading and sprouting. Heading variety (Calabrese broccoli) forms a large, solid head, whereas sprouting types (purple sprouting broccoli) forms many smaller heads or florets.

Once established, broccoli plant bears about 4-10 inches wide, dark green to purple color flower heads depending on the cultivar type. The central thick stalk measures about 6-10 inches in length and both the stalk and fleshy flower heads are edible.

Broccoflower (a hybrid of broccoli and cauliflower), broccolini (broccoli and Chinese-kale) are a few different hybrid-mix of broccoli established with other cruciferous family members.

Chinese broccoli (Gai lan) (Brassica oleracea var. alboglabra) is a non-heading cultivar in the Crucifer family of leafy greens native to mainland China.

9 Health benefits of Broccoli

  1. Broccoli is one of the very low-calorie vegetables; provides just 34 calories per 100 g. Nonetheless, it is rich in dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that have proven health benefits. The total antioxidant strength oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) of broccoli is 1632 µmol TE/100 g.

  2. Fresh Broccoli is a storehouse of many phytonutrients such as thiocyanates, indoles, sulforaphane, isothiocyanates, and flavonoids like beta-carotene cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Studies have shown that these compounds by modifying positive signaling at molecular receptor levels help protect against prostate, colon, urinary bladder, pancreatic, and breast cancers.

  3. Fresh broccoli is an exceptionally rich source of vitamin-C; providing 89.2 mg or about 150% of RDA per 100 g. Vitamin C is a powerful natural antioxidant, and immune modulator that helps fight against flu-causing viruses.

  4. Further, it contains good amounts of another anti-oxidant vitamin, vitamin-A. 100 g fresh head provides 623 IU or 21 % of recommended daily levels. Together with other pro-vitamins like beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and zeaxanthin, vitamin A helps maintain the integrity of skin and mucosa.

  5. Vitamin A is also an essential factor for healthy eyesight and to prevent age-related macular degeneration of the retina (AMD) in the elderly.

  6. Broccoli leaves (green tops) are an excellent source of carotenoids and vitamin-A; (16000 IU of vitamin-A per 100 g) carrying these compounds many folds higher than that in their flower-heads.

  7. Fresh heads are an excellent source of folates; contain about 63 µg/100 grams (provide 16% of RDA). Studies have shown that consumption of fresh vegetables and fruits rich in folates during pre-conception, and pregnancy helps prevent neural tube defects in newborns.

  8. This floret-vegetable is a rich source of vitamin K and the B-complex group of vitamins like Niacin (vitamin B-3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), and riboflavin. Further, its florets also hold some amount of omega-3 fatty acids (Alpha-linolenic acid-ALA).

  9. Furthermore, it is also a good source of minerals like calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, selenium, zinc, and phosphorus.

See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:

Broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica) nutrition profile, fresh, raw, per 100 g.

(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Principle Nutrient Value Percent of RDA
Energy 34 Kcal 1.5%
Carbohydrates 6.64 g 5%
Protein 2.82 g 5%
Total Fat 0.37 g 1%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 2.60 g 7%
Folates 63 µg 16%
Niacin 0.639 mg 4%
Pantothenic acid 0.573 mg 12%
Pyridoxine 0.175 mg 13%
Riboflavin 0.117 mg 9%
Thiamin 0.071 mg 6%
Vitamin A 623 IU 21%
Vitamin C 89.2 mg 149%
Vitamin E 0.17 mg 1.5%
Vitamin K 101.6 μg 85%
Sodium 33 mg 2%
Potassium 316 mg 7%
Calcium 47 mg 5%
Copper 0.049 mg 5.5%
Iron 0.73 mg 9%
Magnesium 21 mg 5%
Manganese 0.210 mg 9%
Selenium 2.5 µg 5%
Zinc 0.41 mg 4%
Carotene-β 361 µg --
Crypto-xanthin-β 1 µg --
Lutein-zeaxanthin 1403 µg --

Selection and storage

Fresh broccoli heads can be available year-round. In the market, choose fresh, bright, compact, firm-textured flower heads with rich flavor.

Avoid those with overmature florets featuring yellow flower buds, excessive branching, and hollow stem ones. Buy, if possible, from the nearby organic farm to get maximum health benefits.

Once at home, rinse the flower head by dipping it upside down in the salted water for up to 30 minutes and then wash again in running cold water before use in cooking to remove any pesticide residues and dirt. Clean broccoli greens in the same way as any other greens like spinach.

Eat broccoli while they are fresh. Otherwise, place it in the refrigerator wrapped in a zip pouch where it may keep well for a few days.

Preparation and serving methods

Fleshy floret heads, stalks, and leaves are edible. Tough stalks and thick leaves are trimmed away using a paring knife.

broccoli recipe
Broccoli recipe(photo: The essential vegetarian cook book)

Here are some preparation tips:

  • Young, tender broccoli heads may be eaten raw or as a salad.
  • Its flower heads are much sought-after in stir-fries; either alone or with other vegetables, beans, and poultry, in mouth-watering recipes mixed with sauce, oil, onions, pepper, and garlic.

  • Add broccoli florets to rice, pasta, and pizza dishes.

  • Prolonged cooking, boiling, and microwaving of broccoli have been found to destroy heat-sensitive vitamins like folate, antioxidant vitamins like vitamin C, and some of its anti-cancer phytonutrients. Alternatively, employing a few other brief cooking techniques like steaming, and gentle braising may not alter much of the composition of these compounds.

Safety profile

In a way similar to other members of the Cruciferous family vegetables, broccoli also contains goitrogens that may cause swelling of the thyroid gland, and therefore, should be avoided in individuals with thyroid dysfunction. However, it may be consumed safely by healthy persons. (Medical disclaimer).

Also read ≻≻

≺≺Broccolini nutrition facts.

≺≺Chinese broccoli (Gai lan) nutrition facts.

≺≺Choy sum (Chinese flowering cabbage) nutrition facts.

≺≺Komatsuna nutrition facts.

≺≺Broccoli rabe nutrition facts.

≺≺Cauliflower nutrition facts.

≺≺ Back to Vegetables from Broccoli nutrition. Visit here for an impressive list of vegetables with complete illustrations of their nutrition facts and health benefits.

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  1. Stanford School of Medicine Cancer information Page- Nutrition to Reduce Cancer Risk (Link opens in new Window).

  2. USDA National Nutrient database.

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