Broccoli. One of the few veggie with a wide range of health benefits. It is native to the Mediterranean and were said to have been engineered from cabbage by the horticultural talents of their time, the Etruscans. It was first cultivated in Italy during the ancient Roman times where it has been eaten since the 6th century B.C. It eventually made its way to Europe where it was widely grown.
With broccoli, it’s a love or hate relationship. Others have a strong dislike on this veggie because of its strong flavor and aroma. Its Latin name is brachium which means arm and the word broccoli was taken from the Italian broccolo. This vegetable is actually a large edible flower that looks like a miniature tree. They are a member of the cultivar group of brassicacaea family and are closely related to brussel sprouts and cauliflower.
This superfood has a very impressive nutritional profile. It is super rich with essential vitamins like vitamin A, Vitamin k, Vitamin B-complex, and vitamin C. Did you know that with just 100 grams serving of broccoli can give you 150% of your RDA of Vitamin C? Its mineral contents include iron, phosphorus, zinc, and calcium. Broccoli is also loaded with both soluble and insoluble fiber to help maintain a good gastrointestinal health; and phytonutrients that can lower your risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.
What makes broccoli so incredible is the superior amount of glucosinolates it contain which is the highest among vegetables. Glucosinolate is a phytochemical that is known to reduce the risk of developing cancers like breast, lung, and prostate cancer. The presence of other potent anti-carcinogenic compounds like glucoraphanin, beta-carotene, selenium effectively remove excess estrogen. Physiological effects of estrogen in the body include breast cell stimulation, weight gain, salt and fluid retention, depression, headaches and poor sleep patterns among others. Broccoli also possesses a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which together with other vitamins help reduce bad cholesterol and regulate blood pressure resulting to a healthy heart.
Some words of caution. Do not take broccoli in large medicinal amount as it may cause harm. This applies especially to pregnant and breastfeeding women. Hypersensitive individual should not apply broccoli to skin as it can cause rashes due to some powerful compounds that can be very irritating. Person with thyroid problems should first consult with their health provider about effect of eating broccoli as it contains a naturally occurring substance called goitrogens that can influence the function of thyroid glands. It’s best to eat broccoli in moderation to fully enjoy its health benefits. When eating raw broccoli, make sure that they are properly washed or better yet organically grown.
Broccoli fun facts: An average person in the U.S. consumes 4 ½ pounds of broccoli per year.
Stay fit. Eat organic
Photo by: http://www.5amtag.ch/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/5amtag_broccoli_m.jpg