These amazing vegetables, resembling miniature trees, enjoy a reputation as one of the healthiest. Of course, we are talking about broccoli.
Broccoli belongs to the family of cruciferous vegetables, and its closest relatives are different types of cabbage, including cauliflower, white cabbage, Brussels sprouts. It is believed that the ancient Romans first noticed the benefits of this cabbage when a wild "ancestor" of the vegetable populated the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
Many reject this vegetable because of its spicy-bitter aftertaste that broccoli got from the sulfur it contains. Meanwhile, it is sulfur and other important components that make this amazing cabbage one of the most wholesome types of food.
Broccoli is rich in many nutrients and is included in the list of leaders in the content of antioxidants. But it is important to know: heat treatment destroys some of them. Interestingly, in a raw vegetable contains almost twice as much vitamin C as in oranges, and about as much calcium as in milk. The presence of selenium in this cabbage makes it an effective antiviral and anti-cancer product.
As a result of more than three hundred scientific studies, scientists have identified the most important benefits of a vegetable. Broccoli is useful for chronic inflammation, to cleanse the body and prevent oxidative processes. The use of broccoli increases the body's ability to excrete carcinogens and oxidants obtained with food or in the airborne droplets. Scientists after a series of experiments claim that the vegetable possesses such abilities due to the phytochemical substance sulforaphane. In addition, many studies have proven the ability of green-purple cabbage to fight and even prevent cancer. But at the same time, scientists emphasize: the bioavailability (ability to be absorbed into the system) of isothiocyanates (phytochemicals or chemicals contained in plants) from fresh vegetables is almost 3 times more effective than in cooked vegetables. The results of another interesting study confirmed the importance of consuming cruciferous (including broccoli) to prevent DNA damage. But the list of health benefits does not end there. Below we consider in more detail the effect of this plant on the organs and systems of the human body.
Broccoli: benefits and harm to humans
Vegetables offer many health benefits, and broccoli is no exception. Using this vegetable, a person receives dozens, if not hundreds, of extremely useful components. Here are just a few of these benefits.
Protects against cancer
Sulforaphane, which has already been mentioned, is capable of destroying cancer stem cells. This means that the named substance, which is part of this amazing cabbage, destroys malignant tumors in the root. Another chemical compound - glucoraphanin - activates enzymatic processes in cells, as a result of which protection against carcinogens is enhanced.
In addition, the researchers found that sulforaphane normalizes DNA methylation (makes it possible to attach a methyl group to a DNA molecule), and gene formation depends on this process. On the other hand, DNA methylation can suppress unwanted genes. Abnormal DNA methylation almost always plays a key role in the development of all types of cancer. Scientists say that consuming broccoli 4 times a week prevents prostate cancer. In addition, among male lovers of broccoli, researchers have discovered hundreds of beneficial changes in the body. In addition to prostate cancer, cabbage prevents oncological diseases of the breast, uterus, internal organs (lungs, liver, colon, kidneys). For the female body, this vegetable is useful as a product that removes excess estrogen.
Meanwhile, the anti-cancer ability of broccoli is determined not only by glucoraphanin, but also by selenium, beta-carotene, potassium, zinc, some amino acids, as well as antioxidant vitamins: A, E, C.
Good for kidney
The components contained in the vegetable are able to improve the blood supply to the kidneys, and therefore, activate the functions of the organ. Scientists confirmed this assumption during an experiment in laboratory rats.
Protects the heart
In addition to antioxidants and fiber, broccoli is rich in many vitamins, minerals and fatty acids, which, working in a complex manner, regulate cholesterol levels, stabilize blood pressure, which is good for the heart.
Potassium contained in the vegetable is known for its vasodilating properties, which improves blood flow to the heart and fills vital organs with oxygen.
Strengthens the immune system
The antioxidant abilities of broccoli also stimulate the body's defenses. In particular, when released into the human body, chemicals from broccoli reduce oxidative stress and prevent the weakening of immunity that occurs over the years. In this case, we can say that broccoli also slows down the processes caused by aging.
Improves digestive health
It is also interesting that raw young broccoli sprouts improve the condition of the stomach, in particular, beneficially affect its mucous membrane. Many stomach problems are associated with the spread of Helicobacter pylori bacteria, including on the inner lining of the stomach. Raw broccoli sprouts contain substances that regulate the reproduction of unwanted bacteria.
In addition, broccoli fiber prevents many digestive disorders, improves intestinal motility, and magnesium and the vitamin complex regulate the acidity of the stomach, contributing to the proper digestion of food.
Recent laboratory mouse cell tests have shown that sulfur-rich broccoli blocks the production of a key enzyme that causes cartilage destruction. It is believed that increasing broccoli in your diet will help slow down (and in some cases prevent) osteoarthritis.
The vitamin complex, as well as the beneficial substances found in broccoli (including zeaxanthin), make this vegetable good for eye health. The healing components of this marvelous cabbage protect against macular degeneration of the eyes, cataracts, and also from the harmful effects of UV radiation.
Sulfur, Vitamin C and some amino acids make broccoli an important product for detoxifying the body. This type of cabbage is suitable for a cleansing diet that removes toxins, free radicals from the body, and cleanses of excess uric acid. The result of this effect is a reduction in the risk of developing gout, arthritis, rheumatism, skin diseases, as well as the formation of kidney stones, rashes and boils.
Important for skin
Preservation of youthfulness and freshness of the skin depends on the presence of antioxidants in the diet, such as beta-carotene, vitamins A, B, C, E, K, Omega-substances. All of these elements are fully represented in young broccoli. That is why lovers of this vegetable can not worry about the possible early withering of the skin. In addition, some of the phytonutrients found in vegetables protect against the negative effects of sunlight on the skin.
Needed for pregnant
Since broccoli is rich in many nutrients, it is necessary for pregnant women. The presence of this vegetable in the diet provides the body of the future mother with proteins, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamins, antioxidants, fiber. And folic acid protects the unborn child from congenital pathologies, including those associated with the functionality of the central nervous system.
Important for treating anemia
A lack of iron and protein tends to cause anemia. Broccoli is rich in both substances, therefore it can be considered a vegetable against anemia. Regular consumption of cabbage will improve the general condition, blood flow and supply of organs with oxygen, which is necessary for the proper functioning of all systems. In addition to these components, broccoli contains copper - a mineral that, along with iron, is responsible for the production of red blood cells.
Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamins K, C, folic acid and chromium. This vegetable has a lot of fiber and proteins, vitamins of groups B, A, E, as well as manganese, phosphorus, choline, potassium, copper, selenium, omega-3 fatty acids and useful phytonutrients. And in addition to all this, it practically does not contain calories, since almost 9/10 the vegetable consists of water.
Vitamin K in cabbage is essential for proper blood coagulation and protein formation. Folic acid is responsible for the production of new cells in the body, and vitamin C creates collagen - an indispensable component of bones, cartilage and skin. In addition, ascorbic acid is known to be one of the most powerful antioxidants.
Among the most useful phytonutrients contained in this type of cabbage are sulforaphane (prevents cancer), carotenoids (improve vision), campferol (protects against cardiac diseases, inflammation, allergies, cancer), quercetin (important for hypertensive patients).
|Calorie content||34 kcal|
|Vitamin A||31.2 mcg|
|Vitamin C||89.3 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.77 mg|
|Vitamin K||101.4 mcg|
|Vitamin B1||0.08 mg|
|Vitamin B2||0.13 mg|
|Vitamin B3||0.65 mg|
|Vitamin B5||0.55 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.21 mg|
|Folic acid||63 mcg|
Feasible side effects
Despite the fact that broccoli has many benefits for the body, it is important for some people to consume this vegetable with extreme caution. First of all, we are talking about people prone to food allergies. In this case, broccoli can cause an allergic rash and skin irritation. In addition, the vegetable belongs to the so-called strumogenic factors, which can have a harmful effect on the thyroid gland.
And this information should be of interest to people taking blood thinners. American researchers believe that excessive consumption of broccoli can reduce the effectiveness of these drugs. This is explained by the presence of vitamin K.
How to choose and store
The first rule for choosing broccoli is the same as when buying other vegetables. Cabbage should be without "bruises", rot and stains, the stem - solid, one tone.
The color of a vegetable can vary, depending on the variety, from bright green to violet green. And in no case should you take vegetables on which yellow flowers appeared - this is a sign of overriding. If leaves are attached to the inflorescence, then they should be fresh and bright, and not wilted.
It is easy to preserve the freshness of a vegetable by placing it in a plastic bag without air and sending it in the refrigerator. In this form can be stored up to 10 days. You should not wash broccoli before storage - water will accelerate the spoilage of the product. Pre-blanched vegetables can be frozen and stored for several months. But it is important to use boiled broccoli within 1-2 days.
How to cook broccoli
No matter how you cook the broccoli, the first step is always the same - wash the vegetable under running water and divide into portions.
To maintain the balance of taste, it is important that inflorescences and stems are combined in one slice.
As for the method of heat treatment of the vegetable, the nutritionists call the most healthy - steaming. And to speed up the preparation of fibrous stems, you can make a couple of longitudinal incisions. As a rule, as a result of this processing method, the vegetable reaches readiness in 5-7 minutes. But broiling broccoli is not the best choice. Only 4 minutes of contact with hot oil (120-140 degrees) destroys almost 2/3 of useful substances in vegetables, including vitamins, phenols, minerals.
But nevertheless, raw broccoli is called the most useful for the body. At the same time, the youngest sprouts of this amazing cabbage are most delicious. But too soft slices of boiled broccoli are a sure sign that practically no useful components are left in the vegetable.
This vitamin dish can be used as a sauce, a bright decoration for other dishes, or as a dressing.
To start, broccoli, cut into small pieces, dip for several minutes in boiling water (you can cook and steam). At this stage, the cabbage should soften a little, but not lose the brightness of the greenery. After that, send the prepared vegetable to a blender, add 2 cloves of garlic, a third glass of olive oil, a teaspoon of cumin and coriander, onion, black pepper, about 2 tablespoons of lemon or lime juice and a glass of water. Grind all ingredients to a smoothie condition. Pour the resulting mixture into a pan and cook over 3 minutes over low heat until excess liquid evaporates. Add salt to taste in the finished sauce.
Broccoli is loved all over the world not only for its excellent taste. The amazing abilities of this vegetable to heal from various ailments and prevent the degeneration of cells have made her the queen on the dining table for 2,000 years.