What’s The Nutritional Value of Broccoli – One Cup Equals Excellent Nutrition
One of the most popular of all the cruciferous vegetables is broccoli.
It’s a vegetable that even many kids like to eat both raw with a dip or cooked pretty much any way you like. I know mine did when they were young so for obvious reasons, I fed it to them regularly.
It’s also high on my list of most nutritious and delicious vegetable sides that’s readily available at any grocery store and super easy to prepare.
To back up the nutritional claims let’s look at exactly what you’re getting in one cup of raw broccoli
Broccoli 1 Cup – Nutrition Facts
My thanks to the USDA for supplying the following nutritional data on the nutritional value of 1 cup of raw broccoli.
That one cup of raw broccoli contains a paltry 31 calories, only six grams of carbohydrates, and a measly 1.5 grams of sugar. As for the 6 grams of carbs, over one third of them come from fiber. Simply put, broccoli is a densely nutritious, heart smart cruciferous vegetable that almost everyone should be enjoying regularly.
The glycemic index (GI) is an estimate of how a particular food can affect your blood sugar levels. Broccoli rates a 10 making it a low GI food that has only a small effect on blood sugar levels.
Broccoli contains just a trace of fat and it’s 100% cholesterol free. Also on the upside, it also gives you a small dose of omega-3-fatty acids. It comes in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Eating two cups of broccoli flowers gives you almost .5 grams of this good-for-you fatty acid.
Is There Protein In Broccoli?
Broccoli contains two and a half grams of vegetable protein per our one cup measurement. A good amount in vegetable form but, you will likely want to include other sources of protein to ensure getting enough in your diet.
Vitamins and Minerals
Broccoli is not only delicious, it’s packed full of important vitamins and minerals. One cup of raw broccoli provides 135% (81mg) of your daily vitamin C intake. It also gives you an excellent source of vitamin K ( (vital for healthy bones and wound healing). That one cup gives you 116% of your daily intake. In addition, broccoli is a good source of vitamin B and A along with potassium, other B vitamins and manganese. In short, it’s a nourishment powerhouse!
Does Broccoli Have Health Benefits? – Yes And They’re Plentiful!
Because broccoli is rich in nutrients but extremely low in calories, it’s a perfect addition to diets of those of us looking to lose weight. One cup of broccoli gives us 9% of our daily fiber intake. Fiber is important in lowering cholesterol and promoting healthy bowels and blood sugar levels. Both are extremely important components of losing excess weight. Because of its high fiber content, eating broccoli can help you feel full for longer thereby lowering your appetite.
Other health benefits are associated with high fiber diets like the considerably lower risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes.
Improved Heart Health
Multiple medical studies have demonstrated a higher consumption of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli does excellent things for your heart. Lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke are the main benefits but there are many.
Can It Lower Your Risk of Cancer?
Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables rate highly when it comes to cancer prevention. Numerous studies have linked their regular consumption with helping to prevent prostate, lung and breast cancers. The high fiber content helps in the fight against colon cancer.
Broccoli also comes with high levels of antioxidants. These antioxidants help prevent cell damage that can lead to inflammation in our bodies by fighting off free radicals that can cause such damage.
Allergies and Broccoli
Broccoli as a rule is not a vegetable prone to causing humans problems with allergies. In some rare cases, certain individuals who suffer from hay fever due to mugwort pollen have been documented having a mild case of tingling lips and/or tongue. In extremely rare cases a swollen throat or anaphylaxis can result, but it has to be said, those cases are extremely rare.
Does Broccoli Have Any Adverse Effects?
As mentioned, broccoli has a large amount of Vitamin K and if a person eats large quantities or makes sudden changes in how much you eat AND you’re taking certain blood thinners, the change in Vitamin K can affect the thinning mechanism of the drug. To be safe, Vitamin K intake should be consistent. Again, this is extremely rare but to be sure, seek the advice of a qualified medical or nutritional professional before making any changes in diet.
Broccoli comes in many different varieties but it’s doubtful you’ll be seeing them all at your local grocery store. The standard broccoli varieties seen in North American grocery stores are Calabrese, Destiny and Belstar. These can be identified by their thick stalks and bright green flowers.
There’s a variety called Romanesco that’s occasionally seen at the grocery stores. It’s recognizable by its yellowish color and pointy flowers.
You are least likely to find varieties like Romanesco broccoli, which has pointy florets and a greenish-yellowish color. Delicious and easy to use like the more regular broccoli varieties, it doesn’t store or sell as well so will not see it as often.
Another personal favorite of mine is Broccoli Raab. It’s delicious although it can be a tad bitter and not for everybody. Technically speaking, raab is actually a member of the turnip family and not broccoli but that really doesn’t matter.
What’s The Best Time Of The Year To Eat Broccoli?
As anyone who shops knows, broccoli is usually available all year long even though its natural growing cycle is October to April. Just in case it does stop being available all year, the good news is frozen broccoli is just as nutritious as fresh so eat and enjoy.
When buying broccoli, choose the tight flowered, dark green bunches with a firm green stalk. Try to pass on the bunches with soft flowers or stalks. Yellowish flowers mean it’s going bad so try to avoid.
Storage and Food Safety
Storing broccoli means keeping it in the fridge crisper. It will last for a few days but try to use it in short time and keep it dry as much as possible until cooking time.
Broccoli can be frozen, just blanch or steam it briefly before freezing. Cook for 2-3 minutes before plunging into ice cold water to stop it cooking. Freeze in airtight bags for up to a year.
Broccoli is edible pretty much from flower to stem. Just trim off the woody outer layer of the stalk before cooking. Eating the stalks raw is one of my favorites. Cut off the outer layer, slice thinly and sprinkle with good quality sea salt and enjoy. Try it. I’ll bet you’ll love it.
It’s been said by some that broccoli can smell off and that means it’s gone bad. Fortunately, that’s not the case.
Broccoli has substances known as glucosinolates that contain sulfur smelling chemicals. These chemicals (naturally occurring – not introduced) give broccoli its distinctive aroma.
Broccoli is as equally tasty when washed, cut up and eaten raw in salads or coleslaw as it is steamed, sautéed or roasted. The point being it’s easily adaptable to whatever you want to do with it and tastes great regardless.
When cooking broccoli, be sure not to overcook it. It’s the one definite way to turn it tasteless, soft and unappealing. Overcooking also diminishes the nutrient value so try to avoid that.
For perfect steamed broccoli every time, simply steam the raw broccoli cut in whatever fashion you prefer for four minutes keeping the lid on the whole time. After the four minutes, your broccoli will be a vibrant green color and will have perfect crunch but be cooked enough to enjoy. Any bitterness will be removed by this process.
Another excellent way to enjoy broccoli is to toss it in olive oil, sea salt and fresh-ground pepper and roast it at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. For something extra, add fresh garlic and diced jalapeno to the mix for great flavor and just a bit of background heat. Delicious!
Click Here For A Description of What Are Cruciferous Vegetables – Here’s The List