Broccoli (Brassica oleracea) is a cruciferous vegetable related to cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. These vegetables are known for their beneficial health effects. Broccoli is high in many nutrients, including fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and potassium. It also boasts more protein than most other vegetables. This green veggie can be enjoyed both raw and cooked, but recent research shows that gentle steaming provides the most health benefits. This article tells you everything you need to know about broccoli.
Raw broccoli contains almost 90% water, 7% carbs, 3% protein, and almost no fat. Broccoli is very low in calories, providing only 31 calories per cup (91 grams).
The nutrition facts for 1 cup (91 grams) of raw broccoli are:
- Calories: 31
- Water: 89%
- Protein: 2.5 grams
- Carbs: 6 grams
- Sugar: 1.5 grams
- Fiber: 2.4 grams
- Fat: 0.4 grams
Broccoli’s carbs mainly consist of fiber and sugars. The sugars are fructose, glucose, and sucrose, with small amounts of lactose and maltose. However, the total carb content is very low, with only 3.5 grams of digestible carbs per cup (91 grams).
Fiber is an important part of a healthy diet. It can promote gut health, help prevent various diseases, and aid weight loss. One cup (91 grams) of raw broccoli provides 2.3 grams of fiber, which is about 5–10% of the Daily Value (DV). Broccoli is low in digestible carbs but provides a decent amount of fiber, which promotes gut health and may reduce your risk of various diseases.
Proteins are the building blocks of your body, necessary for both growth and maintenance. Broccoli is relatively high in protein, which makes up 29% of its dry weight, compared to most vegetables. However, because of its high water content, 1 cup (91 grams) of broccoli only provides 3 grams of protein. Broccoli is higher in protein than most vegetables. That said, the amount of protein in each serving is relatively low.
Vitamins and minerals
Broccoli contains a variety of vitamins and minerals, including:
- Vitamin C. An antioxidant, this vitamin is important for immune function and skin health. A 1/2-cup (45-gram) serving of raw broccoli provides almost 70% of the DV.
- Vitamin K1. Broccoli contains high amounts of vitamin K1, which is important for blood clotting and may promote bone health.
- Folate (vitamin B9). Particularly important for pregnant women, folate is needed for normal tissue growth and cell function.
- Potassium. An essential mineral, potassium is beneficial for blood pressure control and heart disease prevention.
- Manganese. This trace element is found in high amounts in whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.
- Iron. An essential mineral, iron has many important functions in your body, such as the transport of oxygen in red blood cells.
- Broccoli also contains numerous other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts. In fact, it provides a little bit of almost every nutrient you need.
Broccoli is high in many vitamins and minerals, including folate, potassium, manganese, iron, and vitamins C and K1.
Other plant compounds
Broccoli is rich in various antioxidants and plant compounds, which contribute to its health benefits. These include:
- Sulforaphane. One of the most abundant and extensively studied plant compounds in broccoli, sulforaphane may protect against various types of cancer.
- Indole-3-carbinol. A unique nutrient found in cruciferous vegetables, this compound may help fight cancer.
- Carotenoids. Broccoli contains lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta carotene, which may all contribute to better eye health.
- Kaempferol. An antioxidant with many benefits for health, this compound may protect against heart disease, cancer, inflammation, and allergies.
- Quercetin. This antioxidant has numerous benefits, including lowering blood pressure in people with high levels.
Broccoli is high in many plant compounds that have been associated with health benefits. The most abundant one is sulforaphane.