SHAFAQNA – Broccoli is a cool-season crop and demands fertile rich and well-drained soil to flourish. Technically, broccoli is categorized into two main types according to their appearance; heading and sprouting. Heading variety forms a large, solid head, whereas sprouting types forms many smaller heads or florets.
Broccoli is one of the very low calorie vegetables; provides just 34 calories per 100 g. Nevertheless, it is rich in dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, and anti-oxidants that have proven health benefits. Total antioxidant strength measured in terms of oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) of broccoli is 1632 µmol TE/100 g.
Fresh Broccoli is a storehouse of many phyto-nutrients such as thiocyanates, indoles, sulforaphane, isothiocyanates and flavonoids like beta-carotene cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zea-xanthin. Studies have shown that these compounds by modifying positive signaling at molecular receptor levels help protect from prostate, colon, urinary bladder, pancreatic, and breast cancers.
Fresh vegetable is exceptionally rich source of vitamin-C. Provides 89.2 mg or about 150% of RDA per 100 g. Vitamin-C is a powerful natural anti-oxidant and immune modulator, helps fight against flu causing viruses.
Further, it contains very 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 zea-xanthin, vitamin A helps maintain integrity of skin and mucus membranes. Vitamin A is essential for healthy eye-sight and helps prevent from macular degeneration of the retina in the elderly population.
Broccoli leaves (green tops) are an excellent source of carotenoids and vitamin A; (provide 16000 IU of vitamin A per 100 g) contain these compounds, several times greater than that in their flower-heads.
Fresh heads are an excellent source of folates; contain about 63 µg/100 g (Provides 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 the offspring.
This flower vegetable is rich source of vitamin-K; and B-complex group of vitamins like niacin (vit B-3), pantothenic acid (vit.B-5), pyridoxine (vit.B-6), and riboflavin. The flower heads also have some amount of omega-3 fatty acids.
Furthermore, it is also a good source of minerals like calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, selenium, zinc and phosphorus.