The word broccoli comes from the Italian plural of broccolo, which means "the flowering crest of a cabbage", and is the diminutive form of brocco, meaning "small nail" or "sprout". Broccoli is often boiled or steamed but may be eaten raw.
Broccoli is classified in the Italica cultivar group of the species Brassica oleracea. Broccoli has large flower heads, usually green in color, arranged in a tree-like structure branching out from a thick, edible stalk. The mass of flower heads is surrounded by leaves. Broccoli resembles cauliflower, which is a different cultivar group of the same species.
Broccoli is a result of careful breeding of cultivated leafy cole crops in the northern Mediterranean starting in about the 6th century BC. Since the time of the Roman Empire, broccoli has been considered a uniquely valuable food among Italians. Broccoli was brought to England from Antwerp in the mid-18th century by Peter Scheemakers.Broccoli was first introduced to the United States by Italian immigrants, but did not become widely known there until the 1920s.
There are three commonly grown types of broccoli. The most familiar is Calabrese broccoli, often referred to simply as "broccoli", named after Calabria in Italy. It has large (10 to 20 cm) green heads and thick stalks. It is a cool season annual crop. Sprouting broccoli has a larger number of heads with many thin stalks. Purple cauliflower is a type of broccoli sold in southern Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. It has a head shaped like cauliflower, but consisting of tiny flower buds. It sometimes, but not always, has a purple cast to the tips of the flower buds.
Other cultivar groups of Brassica oleracea include cabbage (Capitata Group), cauliflower and Romanesco broccoli (Botrytis Group), kale and collard greens (Acephala Group), kohlrabi (Gongylodes Group), Brussels sprouts (Gemmifera Group), and kai-lan (Alboglabra Group). Rapini, sometimes called "broccoli raab" among other names, forms similar but smaller heads, and is actually a type of turnip (Brassica rapa). Broccolini or "Tenderstem broccoli" is a cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli. Beneforté is a variety of broccoli containing 2-3 times more glucoraphanin that was produced by crossing broccoli with a wild Brassica variety, Brassica oleracea var villosa.
A 100 gram serving of raw broccoli provides 34 calories and is an excellent source (> 19% of the Daily Value, DV) of vitamin C and vitamin K (table). Raw broccoli also contains moderate amounts (10-19% DV) of several B vitamins and the dietary mineral, manganese, whereas other essential nutrients are in low content (table). Broccoli has low content of carbohydrates, protein, fat and dietary fiber (table).
Boiling broccoli reduces the levels of sulforaphane, with losses of 20–30% after five minutes, 40–50% after ten minutes, and 77% after thirty minutes. However, other preparation methods such as steaming, microwaving, and stir frying had no significant effect on the compounds.
Broccoli also contains the carotenoid compounds, lutein and zeaxanthin (table) in amounts about 6 times lower than in kale.
Broccoli, raw (edible parts)
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 141 kJ (34 kcal)
Sugars 1.7 g
Dietary fiber 2.6 g
Vitamin A equiv.
(4%) 31 μg
(3%) 361 μg
Thiamine (B1) (6%) 0.071 mg
Riboflavin (B2) (10%) 0.117 mg
Niacin (B3) (4%) 0.639 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
(11%) 0.573 mg
Vitamin B6 (13%) 0.175 mg
Folate (B9) (16%) 63 μg
Vitamin C (107%) 89.2 mg
Vitamin E (5%) 0.78 mg
Vitamin K (97%) 101.6 μg
Calcium (5%) 47 mg
Iron (6%) 0.73 mg
Magnesium (6%) 21 mg
Manganese (10%) 0.21 mg
Phosphorus (9%) 66 mg
Potassium (7%) 316 mg
Sodium (2%) 33 mg
Zinc (4%) 0.41 mg
Water 89.3 g
Broccoli is known to be hearty and tasty vegetable which is rich in dozens of nutrients. It is said to pack the most nutritional punch of any vegetable.
Here are some of the benefits of broccoli:
1.Cancer prevention: Broccoli shares these cancer fighting, immune boosting properties with other cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage.
2. Cholesterol reduction: Like many whole foods, broccoli is packed with soluble fiber that draws cholesterol out of your body.
3. Reducing allergic reaction and inflammation: Research has shown the ability of kaempferol to lessen the impact of allergy-related substances on our body. Broccoli even has significant amounts of omega 3 fatty acids, which are well know as an anti-inflammatory.
4. Powerful antioxidant: Of all the cruciferous vegetables, broccoli stands out as the most concentrated source of vitamin C, plus the flavonoids necessary for vitamin C to recycle effectively. Also concentrated in broccoli are the carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene, other powerful antioxidants.
5. Bone health: Broccoli contains high levels of both calcium and vitamin K, both of which are important for bone health and prevention of osteoporosis.
6. Heart health: The anti-inflammatory properties of sulforaphane, one of the isothiocyanates (ITCs) in broccoli, may be able to prevent (or even reverse) some of the damage to blood vessel linings that can be caused by inflammation due to chronic blood sugar problems.
7. Diet aid: Broccoli is a good carb and is high in fiber, which aids in digestion, prevents constipation, maintains low blood sugar, and curbs overeating.
8. High in Indole-3-carbinol, a compound that helps reduce estrogen levels, broccoli is a great libido booster in men (although it can have the opposite effect in women). Brussel sprouts are also a great source of Indole-3-carbinol.
9.Eat healthy for a healthier bedroom experience. According to Spanish research published in Fertility and Sterility, upping your intake of folates found in broccoli can increase semen production, which leads to stronger orgasms and improved fertility.
Furthermore, a cup of broccoli has as much protein as a cup of rice or corn with half the calories.
Broccoli Stir Fry Recipe-(Vegetarian)
This is a very simple stir fry recipe prepared with broccoli in Indian style. This stir fry goes best with rice. Broccoli is considered to be one of the most nutritious vegetable with numerous health benefits.
2 heaped cups broccoli florets
1/2 to 1 cup capsicum or potatoes or peas (optional)
½ tsp cumin
¾ to 1 tsp ginger grated or ginger garlic paste
Oil as needed
1 small onion sliced thinly
1 medium tomato chopped finely
Salt and turmeric as needed
½ tsp Red chili powder
½ to ¾ tsp garam masala
Few roasted peanuts crushed (optional)
1. Heat 3 to 4 cups of water in a pot, add salt and add the florets. Leave them for about 5 minutes. This helps hidden worms come to the water. Drain off the water and rinse them well under running water. Drain them and set aside.