Broccoli, a cruciferous vegetable, touts a variety of health benefits that make it a superfood favorite. The fiber that broccoli provides is essential for a healthy digestive tract. The hearty vegetables boasts anti-inflammatory properties which help to keep our bodies free of toxins and may even help prevent the growth of cancer.
1. Health Benefits of Broccoli
1. Broccoli can help lessen allergic reactions.
Allergic reactions can range from annoying to deadly.
Many people suffer from allergic reactions. Millions of dollars are made every year from selling allergy relief medications. Most reactions cause rashes, itchy eyes, or running nose (or some combination of the three). More severe reactions can cause the throat to swell up and choke off the air supply.
Very severe reactions can cause rapid death.
Allergic reactions are the result of an overactive immune system.
When your body's immune system mistakenly identifies a harmless molecule (usually a protein) it triggers a reaction in an effort to repel the invading molecule.
The body pumps histamine into the blood.
The purpose of histamine is to cause inflammation within your cells and tissues in order to attract the white blood cells so that they can fight off the invading entities.
Broccoli has kaempferol.
Kaempferol is a naturally occurring chemical that helps your body recover from bouts of inflammation.
Eliminating or reducing reactions can help you feel better.
An allergic reaction can make you feel sick, tired, and run down. Reducing reactions can make them more manageable and less disruptive of your life.
EAT SMARTER TAKE AWAY: Eating broccoli may can help you manage your allergies.
2. Disadvantages of Broccoli
1. Eating too much broccoli can contribute to the development of kidney stones.
Kidney stones are deposits of calcium, mixed with other minerals.
Kidney stones form when calcium, oxalate, or uric acid are present in too high of concentration in your urine. You can also get them if your urine doesn't have enough of the substances that prevent crystals from sticking to each other.
Kidney stones can be very painful.
When kidney stones reach a certain size, your body can have difficulty passing them through your ducts. These crystals can scratch the sides of the ducts, causing pain. The can also grow large enough that they get lodged in the ducts, causing your ducts to clog. As urine builds up, pressure mounts and your kidneys begin to hurt.
Kidney stones can damage your urinary tract.
If the pressure becomes too great, your kidneys can become damaged and may have a difficult time functioning.
EAT SMARTER TAKE AWAY: Limit the amount of broccoli that you eat to prevent damage to your kidneys.
3. Top 100 Broccoli Recipes
4. Broccoli Recipes in Video
The health benefits of broccoli go beyond its impressive fiber content. It is full of healthy vitamins and nutrients that make it a superior superfood. Among other benefits, it helps detoxify our bodies and keeps our digestive system working properly.
5. About Broccoli
How many varieties of broccoli are there?
There are three varieties – Calabrese broccoli, Sprouting broccoli, and Purple cauliflower, with many cultivars and hybrids in existence.
How many 'Early Broccoli' cultivars exist?
There are six cultivars that are popular among gardeners and horticulturists.
How many 'Mid-season Broccoli' cultivars exist?
There are an additional six cultivars that are popular as well.
When is the growing season for broccoli?
Two growing seasons exist each year in most regions for broccoli. Broccoli is a cool weather plant. For spring planting, sow your seeds as soon as the lowest daily temperature is at least 25o F. For fall planting, sow your seeds late during the summer (or when daytime high temperatures in your region are falling close to 70o F).
6. Broccoli vs. Cauliflower
With their similar, flowering heads, it’s understandable why broccoli and cauliflower are considered to be just different-colored versions of the same vegetable. But while both crucifers are members of the cabbage (brassica) family, but they are actually not botanical relatives and have different nutritional profiles. For starters, one cup of broccoli provides more than the daily requirement of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, and vitamin K, essential for proper blood-clotting and other bodily functions, while cauliflower provides around 70 percent and 30 percent respectively (still impressive!). Broccoli is also a good source of vitamin A, while cauliflower has none, and has double the calcium, important for bone and teeth health. This is not to discount cauliflower’s many benefits; like broccoli, it is low in fat and calories and high in fiber and cancer-fighting glucosinolates. Cauliflower is also considered to have a more delicate taste than broccoli, and can be cooked in much the same way. Both make excellent additions to a healthy diet.
7. History of Broccoli
A veggie created by humans.
Broccoli does not occur in the wild, because it is a result of many years of selective breeding.
Wild cabbage or kale is native to the Mediterranean.
The cabbage that we eat today is descended from wild cabbage (as is broccoli). But this wild cabbage resembles kale, not the purple or green variety that we know. These plants evolved around the Mediterranean and Western Asia.
The Etruscans carefully selected the best traits to reproduce.
The Etruscans were master horticulturists. They took the wild cabbage, which flowers every other year (producing only small flowers), and selected the plants from each crop that produced the largest flowers, or that flowered every year and planted seeds from those plants, discarding all others.
Over time, they eventually changed the behaviors of these plants.
A whole new group of plants is born.
From this selective breeding, a number of plants were born, including modern day cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and broccolini.
8. Q&A About Broccoli
Can I grow broccoli from seed?
When growing broccoli from seed, it may be helpful to start them in pots inside your house or greenhouse, especially if the weather is still too cold.
Can I grow broccoli from starts?
As long as your starts are not hybrids, or treated with a chemical growth inhibitor, then yes, you can.
How long does it take for broccoli to grow?
It depends on the variety and whether you are planting from seed or from starts.
Early varieties of broccoli are ready to harvest 50 to 60 days after planting, when planting from starts. If you are planting them from seed, you'll need to add 25 – 30 more days to the growing time.
Where can I get broccoli seed or starts?
You can buy both seed and starts online or at most stores that have a nursery.
9. Nutritional Information
This is the nutritional information for one cup of broccoli (5.5 oz).
|Calories from fat 6g|
|Total Fat 0.6g||<1%|
|Saturated Fat <0.1g||<1%|
|Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0g|
|Monounsaturated Fat 0.0g|
|Total Carbs 11.2g||4%|
|Dietary Fiber 5.1g||21%|
Bonnie Plants. "Growing Broccoli - Bonnie Plants." Bonnie Plants. Bonnie Plants, n.d. Web. 11 July 2016. https://bonnieplants.com/growing/growing-broccoli/.
Masley, Steve. "Broccoli Varieties, Types of Broccoli, Varieties of Broccoli." Grow It Organically. Grow It Organically, n.d. Web. 11 July 2016. http://www.grow-it-organically.com/broccoli-varieties.html.
Reference. "How Tall Does Broccoli Grow?" Reference. Reference, n.d. Web. 11 July 2016. https://www.reference.com/home-garden/tall-broccoli-grow-b4629a1517ecaab4.
USDA.gov. "Plants Profile for Brassica Oleracea Italica (sprouting Broccoli)." Plants Profile for Brassica Oleracea Italica (sprouting Broccoli). USDA.gov, n.d. Web. 11 July 2016. http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=BROLI.
Wikimedia Foundation. "Broccoli." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 11 July 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broccoli.