Broccoli – nutritional values and properties

Broccoli, also called asparagus or green cauliflower. Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables. The properties of broccoli have been appreciated since ancient times, especially in the Mediterranean region, where this valuable green vegetable comes from.

    Vitamins and minerals – what does broccoli have in it?

    Broccoli is, first of all, an excellent source of one of the strongest antioxidants – vitamin C. Similarly to other green vegetables, they also contain plenty of vitamin K, which is responsible for proper blood clotting processes in our body, as well as detoxifying chlorophyll. 100 grams, or roughly one large handful of raw broccoli florets, will provide us with our full daily allowance of both these vitamins.

    Due to the content of vitamin B9, broccoli is a good addition to the diet of women, especially those trying to have a baby and mothers-to-be. They also provide us with other B vitamins, especially B2, B5, and B6.

    In the case of minerals, they mainly contain manganese and phosphorus. Broccoli also contains carotenoids beneficial to the health of our eyes – lutein and zeaxanthin. They are also low in calories – 100 g will provide us only with about 34 kcal.

    Sulforaphane – the broccoli treasure

    Broccoli is also one of the foods with the highest content of sulforaphane – a compound from the group of isothiocyanates, found in vegetables of the cabbage family. According to research data, broccoli sprouts provide us with the highest amount of sulforaphane a few days after germination.

    Chemical structure of sulforaphane
    Chemical structure of sulforaphane

    Okay, but why do we need sulforaphane anyway? Research conducted so far shows that this compound shows anticancer activity at different stages of carcinogenesis. First, it helps prevent DNA damage and the formation of cancerous lesions. Secondly, it affects existing cancer cells, inhibiting their growth and expansion, as well as inducing their apoptosis (i.e. death). Additionally, it shows anti-inflammatory and antibacterial activity (including against Helicobacter pylori strains).

    Of course, this does not mean that eating broccoli, or any other products will cure cancer – especially since studies usually use high doses of this substance. Nor will it change genetic and environmental predispositions and risks that come from smoking, for example. However, a healthy diet that does include vegetables (including broccoli, but also cabbage, legumes, garlic), fruits, nuts, and good fats can help reduce the risk of many diseases.