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Broccoli

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

Broccoli Nutritional Information (per 100g)

Water: 89.3 g
Calories: 34 kcal
Protein: 2.8 g
Carbohydrate: 6.6 g
Dietary fiber: 2.6 g
Sugars: 1.7 g
Fat: 0.4 g
Vitamin C: 89.2 mg
Vitamin B1: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B2: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B3: 0.6 mg
Vitamin B6: 0.2 mg
Vitamin B9: 63 μg
Vitamin A: 31 μg
Vitamin E: 0.8 mg
Vitamin K: 101.6 μg
Calcium: 47 mg
Iron: 0.7 mg
Magnesium: 21 mg
Phosphorus: 66 mg
Potassium: 316 mg
Sodium: 33 mg
Zinc: 0.4 mg

Broccoli is not only a nutritional wonder, but was probably also one of the first members of the brassica family you came across, especially if your family were keen on you eating healthy.

While overcooking and other preparation mistakes may have ruined broccoli for some, by making it taste excessively bitter, those who eat broccoli enjoy huge health benefits. Most notably, broccoli has one of the highest concentrations of cancer-preventing compounds of any brassica.

The USDA database states that 100g of broccoli not only provides 127% of your daily value (DV) of vitamin K, great for blood clotting and bone health, but it also provides a huge 148% DV of vitamin C, a vitamin that is essential not only for essential processes like the formation of connective tissue and wound healing, but also iron absorption.

Many people are under the false impression that high doses of vitamin C can only be obtained from fruits such as oranges and strawberries, however this is far from the truth. Vegetables such as kale and broccoli contain much more vitamin C.

Broccoli is not only beneficial for its great nutritional breakdown, however. The anti-cancer effects of cruciferous vegetables are extremely powerful, and broccoli may even have some unique advantages. It has an extremely high concentration of glucosinalates (the anti-cancer compounds found in brassicas). In fact, broccoli sprouts have the highest concentration of any food!

The brassica family has been shown to have great anti-cancer effects (see ‘Bok Choy’). Brassica intake results in tumour prevention, has benefits for breast cancer, lymphoma, bladder cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer, and may have a ‘chemo-protective’ effect, possibly limiting some of the damage caused by chemotherapy drugs.

Broccoli may even be an especially great cancer-fighting food among cruciferous vegetables. Sulforaphane was studied in conjunction with other compounds found in broccoli, as this review paper notes, and the results showed that broccoli is even better than isolated compounds.

Inhibition of breast cancer cells, and lowering your risk of colon cancers are important, but particularly interesting is the finding that broccoli inhibits certain digestive tract infections that cause gastric tumours, and potentially stomach cancer. So for those of you looking for a way to pack nutritious and cancer-fighting foods into your diet, broccoli has to be near the top of the list.