Broccoli contains large amounts of vitamin C and beta carotene which are important antioxidants. One half cup cooked broccoli contains the following nutrients as well as many other trace nutrients and phytochemicals.
Broccoli is a great source of vitamin, a good source of folate (folic acid) and also provides potassium, fiber.
- Vitamin C – builds collagen, which forms body tissue and bone, and helps cuts and wounds heal. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and protects the body from damaging free radicals.
- Vitamin K – essential for the functioning of many proteins involved in blood clotting
- Fiber – diets high in fiber promote digestive health. A high fiber intake can also help lower cholesterol.
- Potassium – a mineral and electrolyte that is essential for the function of nerves and heart contraction.
- Folate – Folate is necessary for the production and maintenance of new cells in the body.
- Sulforaphane – One of the most abundant and extensively studied plant compounds in broccoli. It can have protective effects against various types of cancer.
- Carotenoids – Broccoli contains lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene, which may all contribute to better eye health.
How to Choose Fresh Broccoli
- Choose broccoli which feel heavy for its size, firm with closed florets, and a deep green color.
- The cut ends of the stalks should be fresh and moist looking.
- Avoid broccoli with dried out or browning stem ends or yellowing florets.
How to Cook Broccoli Keeping Nutrients
To get the most nutrients and keep the bright-green color, eat broccoli raw or lightly cooked in a very small amount of water, not boiled.
For a tender-crisp broccoli, try:
- Stir-frying: Check for tenderness as you cook. Once the stem can be pierced with a fork, it’s done.
- Steaming: Steam for 8-15 minutes, or until stems can be pierced with a fork.
- Microwaving: Cover with ½ cup (125 ml) water and cook for 8-10 minutes on high, or until stems can be pierced with a fork.