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Broccoli Rabe (Rapini)

This article is part of a larger article titled "100+ Healthiest Foods On Planet Earth."  Read it here.

Broccoli Rabe (Rapini) Nutritional Information (per 100g)

Water: 92.6 g
Calories: 22 kcal
Protein: 3.2 g
Carbohydrate: 2.9 g
Dietary fiber: 2.7 g
Sugars: 0.4 g
Fat: 0.5 g
Saturated fat: 0.1 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.1 g
Vitamin C: 20.2 mg
Vitamin B1: 0.2 mg
Vitamin B2: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B3: 1.2 mg
Vitamin B6: 0.2 mg
Vitamin B9: 83 μg
Vitamin A: 131 μg
Vitamin E: 1.6 mg
Vitamin K: 224 μg
Calcium: 108 mg
Iron: 2.1 mg
Magnesium: 22 mg
Phosphorus: 73 mg
Potassium: 196 mg
Sodium: 33 mg
Zinc: 0.8 mg

Broccoli rabe, also known as rapini, is a cruciferous vegetable (or brassica) associated with Italian, French and Portuguese cuisine. High in both micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals) and phytonutrients (non-essential but beneficial compounds), rapini is a great addition to any diet, and a must for those whose diet lacks vegetables from the brassica family. Specifically, rapini helps fight cancer and promote bone, blood, eye, and cardiovascular health.

Before we get into all that, a word on preparation. Like many brassicas, rapini suffers from being widely considered too bitter to be tasty. But it doesn’t have to be this way! If you undercook rapini, it tastes bitter, if you overcook, it tastes stringy. Instead, try blanching it in salt water to get the most out of this vegetable (it also goes great with garlic).

With that said, let’s talk about rapini’s impressive nutritional profile. According to the USDA database 100g of cooked rapini has just 33 calories. But like many brassicas, rapini is very high in vitamin K and C: 100g contains 256% of your daily value (DV) of vitamin K, vital for blood and bone health, and 61% DV of vitamin C, important for creating connective tissues, absorbing iron, and promoting cardiovascular health. Rapini is also extremely high (90% DV) in vitamin A, which is vital for eye health.

Rapini’s nutritional benefits continue to impress with high levels of somewhat more uncommon micronutrients. 100g contains 11% DV of vitamin B6, 10% DV of calcium and 9% of potassium. Vitamin B6 is important for a plethora of processes in the body, including those involved in digestive and immune health, calcium is great for bone health and muscle regulation, and potassium is a vital part of maintaining your cardiovascular health. Deficiencies in all three are not uncommon, so pack in those greens!

Finally, like most brassicas, the phytonutrients are where much of the real benefit of rapini is, specifically those compounds with anti-cancer effects (see ‘Bok Choy’). Eating cruciferous vegetables has benefits for tumour prevention, breast cancer, lymphoma, bladder cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer, and may protect from chemotherapy drugs.

Overall, rapini is a great addition to any diet wanting in cancer-fighting green vegetables, and an adventurous choice for those looking to dabble in European cuisine.