Broccoli is a branched, green vegetable with either purple or green flower buds.
It belongs to the cruciferous family, the same family that cauliflower, cabbage and kale belong to.
Brocolli can be either eaten raw or cooked.
Health experts have always recommended its use because of its nutrient-rich profile that offers some real health benefits.
Broccoli is a source of fibre and protein, and contains iron, potassium, calcium, selenium and magnesium as well as the vitamins A, C, E, K and a good array of B vitamins including folic acid.
A study by conducted by the Nutrition Research found that consuming steamed broccoli regularly lowers the risk of heart disease by reducing a large amount of cholesterol in the body.
Another study in the US also found that increasing vegetables in the diet, especially cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, could reduce the risk of heart disease.
While there are no single ‘superfoods’ that can prevent cancer and certain risk factors for cancer are not related to diet, there is ample evidence that eating a healthy diet can reduce the risk of cancer.
A key component of broccoli is a phytochemical known as sulforaphane, which also gives broccoli a slight bitter taste. Studies have shown that sulforaphane may play a part in enhancing detoxification of airborne toxins, such as cigarette smoke, and could help reduce the risk of certain cancers.
Further research has suggested that broccoli may have anti-cancer properties and could reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Broccoli sprouts are, in fact, a more concentrated source of these cancer-fighting compounds. These can easily be sprouted from seed on your windowsill, just like growing cress.