Broccoli is one of the most nutritious vegetables from the cruciferous family. It is recommended that you eat it on a regular basis for about one and a half cups daily or at least five cups per week. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, have so many health benefits to offer, including:
1. Very nutritious
Broccoli has many vitamins and minerals including more than the recommended daily allowance of vitamin K and vitamin C. Aside from them, broccoli also contains:
- Vitamin E
- Vitamins B1, B2, B3, and B6
2. May be able to fight cancer
There are several studies that connect less inflammation with eating broccoli regularly. Inflammation, particularly when chronic, can lead to cancer. Broccoli may also help in preventing oxidative stress, which can also leads to cancer.
3. Good for digestion
Broccoli contains 21% of fiber RDA or one gram of fiber for each 10 calories in this green. This means you don’t have to eat a lot of broccoli to meet the daily requirement for dietary fiber. Fiber is useful in helping food move through the body and because of the regular movement, this can help improve intestinal health. Glucosinolates that are converted into isothiocyanates are also present in broccoli, which can help protect the lining of the stomach from bacterial overgrowth.
4. Good for the heart
Studies have shown how broccoli can help reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in the body or LDL. High LDL levels can lead to heart disease. The B vitamins in the vegetable as well as the phytonutrients work together to improve cardiovascular health.
5. Good for the eyes
Yellow and orange foods aren’t the only ones that are rich in carotenoids. Greens, such as broccoli, also have them particularly lutein and zeaxanthin which are helpful in preventing macular degeneration or weakening of the eyes as a result of getting older.
With the benefits above, you want to make sure you preserve broccoli’s nutrients. There are cooking methods that could reduce or even eliminate the health benefits. Here are some tips in preparing broccoli:
- When rinsing, use cold running water.
- Cooking should be quick and even, so cut the florets into four parts.
- Include the stems and leaves for a balanced flavor.
- Don’t cook the broccoli right away after preparing it to enhance its nutrients.
- Boiling broccoli for five minutes can help preserve quercetin and kaempferol, which are flavonoids. This can also help in retain beta-carotene and lutein.
- Steaming can help retain chlorophyll and vitamin C, but microwaving is better. Pressure cooking though retains the most of the vegetable’s vitamin C.
Out of all the methods, it is best to quickly steam broccoli to maintain its antioxidant capacity, along with its nutrient content.