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Updated: Jul 28, 2020

Broccoli was originally from Italy where it developed from wild cabbage. Broccoli was introduced to the United States by Italian immigrants in colonial times.

Include broccoli as one of the cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, kale, cabbage, 

Brussels sprouts) you eat on a regular basis if you want to receive fantastic health benefits. At a minimum, include cruciferous vegetables as part of your diet 2-3 times per week, and make the serving size at least 1-1/2 cups.

Nutrient Profile: Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C, chromium, folate, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), choline, potassium, copper, magnesium, iron, calcium. It is a good source of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Broccoli is also concentrated in phytonutrients- key in cancer prevention.

Health Benefits:

  • Cancer Prevention: The unique combination of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and pro-detoxification components in broccoli make it a unique food in terms of cancer prevention. In the case of broccoli, the research is strongest in showing decreased risk of prostate cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, bladder cancer, and ovarian cancer.

  • Anti-inflammatory benefits: Through the presence of isothiocyanates (also found in other cruciferous vegetables), omega-3 fats, and the phytonutrient kaempferol.

  • Antioxidant benefits: Amongst all of the commonly consumed cruciferous vegetables, broccoli stands out as the most concentrated source of the premiere antioxidant nutrient—vitamin C.

  • Enhances the body's detoxification system through glucosinolate phytonutrients

  • Cardiovascular Support:

  1. Cholesterol-lowering benefits- due to the fiber related components in broccoli.

  2. Prevents some of the damage to blood vessel linings caused by chronic blood sugar problems.

  3. Lowers the formation of homocysteine which raises the risk of atherosclerosis, stroke and heart attack.

  • Important role in eye health

  • Skin support and support of sun-damaged skin

Storage: Place broccoli in a plastic bag, removing as much air as possible.  Store in the refrigerator where it will keep for 10 days. Do not wash broccoli before storing because exposure to water encourages spoilage. Partial heads of broccoli should be placed in a well-sealed container or plastic bag and refrigerated. Since the vitamin C content starts to quickly degrade once broccoli has been cut, it is best to use it within a couple of days.

Health Concerns: People with Thyroid Dysfunction: Broccoli may contain substances (especially found in cruciferous vegetables) which may cause swelling of the thyroid gland (goiter). This may lead to the thyroid not being able to produce as many of the hormones that are needed for regulating metabolism.  Consumption of these vegetables should be altered but not eliminated in individuals with thyroid dysfunction. For example, steam, cook or ferment these cruciferous vegetables as the heat alters the molecular structure within the vegetables and thus eliminates the goitrogenic effect.  f you have normal thyroid function and consume adequate amounts of iodine, these vegetables will have no effect on your thyroid and may be eaten liberally.

This recipe for a broccoli crunch salad from Pamela Salzman is delicious! 

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