Broccoli – 6 reasons why you should love it
Broccoli is in season again from June on. Then you get the juicy green vegetable fresh from the harvest and regionally at the weekly market.
Green vegetables are always at the top of health tips because they provide important vitamins and minerals. Broccoli is one of the healthiest foods and stands out due to its diverse health effects and special ingredients such as sulforaphane.
In addition, it is one of the most magnesium and protein-rich vegetables and is, therefore, particularly interesting for athletes, vegetarians and vegans.
At home, we love broccoli! So that is reason enough to tell you all about this superfood and why we are so excited about it.
What is broccoli?
The plant is closely related to the cauliflower and belongs to the cruciferous plants.
Where does broccoli come from?
Broccoli is actually not a native crop, but was imported 500 years ago from Asia Minor and cultivated in Italy and France.
Most of the broccoli that you can find in the supermarket all year round come from California, Texas, Arizona or Oregon. The rest stem from the two European countries mentioned above.
Now in the summer months, broccoli is in season here and you can get it fresh and regional in the supermarket or at the farmers market.
When freshly picked, raw broccoli contains around 90% water, 6% carbohydrates (fiber) and 4% protein. Like most green vegetables, broccoli is very low in calories and provides only 35 calories per 100 grams.
Here is the nutritional information for 100 grams of raw broccoli:
Water: 90 percent
Protein: 4 grams
Carbohydrates: 6 grams
Sugar: 1.7 grams
Dietary fiber: 2.7 grams
Fat: 0.5 grams
Our favorite vegetables also contain many vitamins and minerals:
Vitamin C (100 grams of broccoli meet your daily needs)
Vitamin K1 for blood clotting (not vitamin K2)
Folic acid (vitamin B9) for healthy cells
Manganese for the metabolism in muscles, bones and joints
Iron for oxygen transportation
How much protein does broccoli contain?
Broccoli contains about 3-4 grams of protein per 100 grams, which is a proud value for a green vegetable. A typical serving of 300–500 grams provides you with a good 9 to 15 grams of protein – and makes a nourishing side dish.
I should emphasize that broccoli is particularly rich in the amino acid tryptophan. This amino acid is a building block of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which makes us relaxed and happy.
Unfortunately, plant proteins are not as easy for the body to absorb as animal proteins. Also, the myth that broccoli contains more protein than steak is not correct.
This would only be the case if the dry weight is taken into account. As a side dish, it contains an acceptable amount of protein, making it a good source of it. However, it’s not the protein bomb some people like to think it is.
Special plant substances in broccoli
Broccoli is particularly popular due to its phytonutrients. These ingredients strengthen the liver in detoxification processes, serve as powerful antioxidants and regulate the hormonal balance. Sounds promising? I say – broccoli is awesome!
Sulforaphane is a special sulfur-containing ingredient that can be found in many types of cabbage. As a phytochemical, it is associated with numerous health effects because it is one of the most powerful antioxidants and regulates our genes. Sulforaphane provides a large number of positive effects.
A study has shown that people who eat more types of cabbage, such as broccoli, are significantly less likely to develop cancer.
One of the reasons for this is sulforaphane, because it works effectively against different types of cancer by reducing the number and cancer cells.
It is important to know that the bioavailability (uptake rate) of sulforaphane decreases significantly with the cooking of broccoli. A study has shown that raw broccoli contains 10 times more of it
If you don’t tolerate broccoli raw so well, short steaming is a good way to preserve its valuable ingredients.
Indole-3-carbinol is also a secondary plant substance that belongs to the group of indole derivatives and is also effective against cancer.
The substance also supports the liver in detoxification processes and is an important, growth-promoting messenger for the intestinal cells.
As a result, vegetables belonging to the cabbage family have a preventive effect on intestinal diseases such as leaky gut syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome.
Here are 6 healthy reasons to eat more broccoli
The ingredients described already give a good taste of the effects of green vegetables. Here you will find an overview of all the reasons that make broccoli so wholesome for you.
1- Broccoli is effective against 6 types of cancer
Sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol are weapons against tumors. There is scientific evidence for the following six types of cancer:
Cancer of the stomach
2- Broccoli is extremely anti-inflammatory
Another strong plant substance that makes broccoli so special is the flavonoid kaempferol. Studies have shown that the plant substance (which can also be found in peppermint and chamomile) has strong anti-inflammatory properties (see anti-inflammatory foods).
The substance has an inhibitory effect on the NF-κB signaling pathway, which regulates immune activity. The other ingredients in broccoli have a synergistic effect and increase this reaction.
3- Half a broccoli covers your daily vitamin C needs
Vitamin C is a great booster for a strong immune system, and broccoli is rich in this nutrient. Forget about apples and oranges – local, green vegetables often provide a lot more of it.
4 Broccoli looks like a fountain of youth
And again, Sulforaphane is in the spotlight. In the article on epigenetics, I have already described that our genetics depend on various environmental factors and that we actually have the capability to switch genes on and off.
The plant substance has an activating effect on genes that slow down the aging process because they protect the cells.
5- Broccoli is brain food
Thousands of pieces of information flow into our brains every day. Multitasking and stress put a lot of strain on our governing body. Unfortunately, diseases such as dementia and depression are on the rise.
You can also protect yourself with broccoli. Its bioactive ingredients, you know them now, protect the brain structures and support the oxygen supply. The plant substances can also support regeneration after a stroke.
6- Broccoli sprouts multiply the effects
Are you excited about the effects of green vegetables? Then I have good news for you, because broccoli sprouts contain a larger amount of the healthy ingredients sulforaphane, indole-3-carbinol and kaempferol. Broccoli sprouts are particularly effective in the treatment of diabetes.
The good thing is that broccoli sprouts are child’s play to grow. In a sprout house or germ garden like this *one here, you can grow a health army from broccoli seeds within a few days.
We have such a germ garden on the window sill and use the broccoli sprouts as a healthy snack, with healthy salads, in a sandwich or soups.
Can you eat the stalks?
Yes, absolutely – the broccoli stalk is also rich in valuable ingredients and you should under no circumstances throw it away. However, the broccoli stalk should be peeled because its “bark” is not quite as tender. Otherwise, you can use the stalk just like the broccoli florets. Cut into strips, it looks like kohlrabi.
How to prepare broccoli?
You can prepare Broccoli in many different ways. As a salad, you can even enjoy it raw, which prvides you with its vital ingredients. Short blanching or steaming are also gentle methods. You should avoid long cooking unless you cannot tolerate broccoli.
Growing your own sprouts
Broccoli sprouts are among the healthy all-rounders in our kitchen. Reminder: They contain many times more sulforaphane than full-grown broccoli. Here you will find the instructions for breeding.
Accessories and ingredients
Germination glass or germ garden
1- Soak the broccoli seeds in cold water for 6-8 hours
2- Add about 1.5 tablespoons of broccoli seeds to each level of the germinator (it looks little, but this creates enough sprouts)
3- Put your germinating plant in a dark place, there the seeds germinate best
4- Add fresh water twice a day
5- After about 5 days you can start harvesting
It is always amazing what nutrition can do. Broccoli is another superfood that definitely belongs on your menu – green, healthy and affordable! The green vegetables are extremely diverse and easy to prepare.
The health benefits that we owe to the secondary ingredients are really impressive and tempt me to change an old quote to: “A broccoli a day keeps the doctor away”.
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