Broccoli is part of the cruciferous family of vegetables, along with others such as cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. This family of vegetables contain a number of essential micronutrients and bioactive compounds that are essential to health. Broccoli is a great source of vitamin C, folate, iron, potassium, and beta-carotene (which is converted into vitamin A once it gets inside your body), flavonoids and glucosinolates. The phytochemicals that broccoli contains generally retain their superpowers whether the vegetable is raw, cooked, frozen, or fresh. However, boiling broccoli can result in losses of about 50% of its vitamin C content, so you’re better off lightly steaming or stir-frying for a short amount of time when cooking it.
During the preparation, chewing, and digestion of broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, glucosinolates break down into a number of biologically active compounds that have been researched for beneficial health effects including:
- Protection of cells from DNA damage
- Inactivation of carcinogens
- Antiviral and antibacterial properties
- Anti-inflammatory effects
If you want to read up a bit more on the cruciferous vegetable family and how good they are for you check out the scientific literature links below.
- Cruciferous Vegetables and Cancer Prevention
- Physiological effects of broccoli consumption
- The cancer chemoprotective actions of phytochemicals derived from glucosinolates
- Cruciferous vegetables and cancer prevention
- Cruciferous vegetables – Linus Pauling Institute
- A critical review of the bioavailability of glucosinolates and related compounds