The origin of broccoli seems to be Mediterranean. It is surely the result of a careful natural crossing of plants of the Brassica family , carried out in northern Italy around the 6th century BC.
We know that since the time of the Roman Empire broccoli has been considered a food of unique value among Italians. It was first introduced in the United States by immigrants from southern Italy, but it did not become very popular until the 1920s.
Its gastronomic qualities and the studies that prove its health benefits have made it one of the great emblems of modern healthy eating.
Broccoli, broccoli or broccoli ( Brassica oleracea italica ) is the fashionable medicinal food . Familiar with cauliflower and cabbage, it is native to Asia Minor. Today, the People’s Republic of China is the main producer of this green vegetable, whose cultivation and consumption has been extended to almost all the countries where fresh climates reign, necessary for its development.
Included in the list of the coveted superfoods for the many benefits that it gives to those who consume it, its pleasant flavor allows it to be added to numerous recipes, since it admits the most diverse preparations.
If you are not yet familiar with broccoli, the vegetable with antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti -cancer properties, keep reading to us and you will see why you can not miss from now on your diet.
Meet the broccoli🥦
Broccoli, whose name comes from the Italian broccoli (sprout) belongs to the family of brasicáceas. Its dissemination throughout the world is attributed to Mediterranean navigators and merchants such as Romans, Greeks and Muslims:
- Before it received the denomination of cruciferous and is very similar to cauliflower, differing from it by its intense green color
- Another difference is that while cauliflower only exhibits a floral head, broccoli also has it but can show flowers around
- Once the flowers have matured, broccoli cannot be consumed and shows 4 pale yellow petals
- Its fruits are presented as silicones that when ripening open, releasing the seeds. The fruits are pinkish
- It is characterized by its abundant inflorescences, which give it the appearance of a small tree , attached to tender stems
- Only the inflorescences are edible, when they have matured, and the central stem , where calcium is concentrated
- To keep all its properties, it is preferable to take it “in the English”, that is, very little boiled or raw
How to keep it
It is obvious that it is not going to help you to choose the freshest broccoli from the store if when you get home you do not keep it properly. Think that this vegetable that you can get so much out of, has a fairly short life span of about a week.
If once in your kitchen you will not consume broccoli during the day, follow the following tips for its conservation:
- Do not wash it or you will be favoring the appearance of mold
- If it does not come wrapped in a bag or film, do it, leaving a small hole that allows you to perspire
- Enter it in the refrigerator drawers, as it is the right place for the most delicate products such as fruits, vegetables and vegetables
Broccoli nutritional properties
The benefits that broccoli provides to our body seem endless. We have made for you a list of the main reasons why this green vegetable must always be in your kitchen:
- Detoxifies the organism. It has antioxidant properties that help the body eliminate both toxins, such as free radicals and uric acid, facilitating renal function. The result is that blood and skin are purified. Moreover, certain vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and radish are a source of selenium , which improves the metabolism of estrogens that takes place in the liver.
- It effectively helps you lose weight. Its high fiber content makes this food an effective ally for those who wish to lose weight, since this fiber has a remarkable satiating effect, has few calories and also regulates intestinal transit, which makes it perfect to add it to slimming diets .
- It lowers blood cholesterol levels. By favoring the digestion of foods high in fat, as it binds to bile acids, causing their rapid elimination , it ends up lowering cholesterol levels and, therefore, protecting the heart.
- Contributes to heart health. Not only for the reason just mentioned, but also because it has the ability to reverse the damage that diabetes can cause to the cardiovascular system, because its enzymes reduce the molecules that cause them, protecting blood vessels
- Take care of the view. Lutein and zeaxanthin are potent detoxifiers with a presence in broccoli, which helps prevent many eye diseases related to age, such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Its vitamin A content also allows the improvement of the eye health of people of any age.
- It prevents cancer. This vegetable has great anti-cancer activity, according to data released by various studies, since it encourages the activation of genes that prevent the development of tumors , while being able to deactivate those other genes responsible for their expansion.
7. Strengthens the bones. If you usually eat broccoli, your bones will remain stronger, since their calcium, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus content is not negligible. This joins that its richness in vitamin C causes the body to absorb a greater amount of iron, while vitamin K allows the improvement of the bone system and decreases the chances of suffering bone fractures.
8. Improves skin condition. Its consumption really helps to make your skin look younger, smoother, bright and beautiful, since in addition to being an antioxidant, it has vitamin A, B, E and K, as well as Omega-3 fatty acids. As for vitamin C, it is a collagen producer and keeps the skin flexible and healthy, while vitamin E takes care of the skin from the harmful action of UVA rays and protects the skin’s cell membranes.
9. Fight constipation. Not surprisingly, its high fiber content regulates intestinal transit, which also allows the prevention of stomach conditions such as inflammation and acidity, improving digestion. Its sulfur compounds, such as sulforaphane, face the helicobacter pylori, which causes gastric ulcer and some gastric tumors.
10. Strengthens the immune system. What is due to the presence in it of vitamin C, beta-carotene, minerals and other vitamins.
11.It is ideal for pregnant women. Its richness in folic acid, calcium, antioxidants, proteins, fiber and phosphorus, makes it an ideal food for all future moms, being very nutritious.
12. Favors the condition of fibromyalgia sufferers. Introduce some portions of broccoli several times a week, it is highly recommended for people diagnosed with fibromyalgia, as well as those suffering from Human Papillomavirus and HPV lesions.
13.Improves mood. As with other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli contributes to the production of serotonin and dopamine, which doubles its benefits after exercising.
14.Beautifies hair. The consumption of broccoli strengthens the hair from the root and its vitamin A content, significantly improves its appearance in summer, when it is damaged by the action of sun rays, sea salt and chlorine from the pools. With it you can also say goodbye to the dreaded frizz of the hair.
Regarding its nutritional value , 100 grams of edible portion of broccoli contain 32.25 kcal of energy, 4.40 g. of proteins, 0.90 g. of fat, 1.80 g. of carbohydrates, and 2.60 g. fiber
Broccoli is for many people the vegetable par excellence. Its current varieties are mainly classified into 3 types:
Broccoli Ramoso Verde Calabrés or Broccoli from Calabria. It is the most important commercially and encompasses two groups of varieties, those of winter-spring collection and those of summer-autumn collection. It is the broccoli type of intense green color and the easiest to find. Its primordial inflorescence measures 8 to 10 cm.
Verona broccoli. Its inflorescence measures 10 to 15 cm., So its size is medium and is white-gray.
Romanesco broccoli. Its inflorescence is green and measures between 14 and 16 centimeters, so its size is large.
Among the winter-spring collection varieties, “De San José”, “Tardío de San Isidro” and “Tardío Verde” stand out, while “Gem”, “Grande” and “Early German” stand out among the summer-autumn harvest varieties. “
Although you already know many more things about broccoli, we want to send you some curiosities about this healthy green vegetable that everyone talks about:
- The term “broccoli” means “arm” or “branch” since its cross-shaped stems are assimilated to small trees with florets. Examples of other crucifers are Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale or cauliflower
- Its peculiar smell is due to its richness in minerals and sulfur
- This food was very popular among the ancient Romans, growing freely on the shores of the Mediterranean. They called it “the 5 green fingers of Jupiter”
- In France it began to be consumed in the 16th century and in England in the 17th century, while its commercial cultivation in the United States originated there by 1920
- It is better to eat it raw, because its preparation and cooking ends with several of its beneficial antioxidant properties
- It has twice the vitamin C of an orange and virtually the same calcium as whole milk (with a better absorption rate)
- The importance of consuming cruciferous vegetables to protect cells against DNA damage is a scientifically proven fact
- It is “fractal” , that is, its shape is self-similar because it is composed of identical minibrocolis
- It is a human invention , created by man about two thousand years ago from a wild cabbage
- The so-called “green broth” made with broccoli or cabbage, is the most famous soup in Minho, Portugal
Where to buy broccoli
Broccoli will report countless benefits for your health, but not everything goes when it comes to acquiring it. Remember that fresh products make it easy for you to choose which ones you have to put in your shopping cart . Specifically, in the case of the vegetable that we have in our hands, it is important that when you go to buy it in the supermarket, greengrocer or grocery store you look at:
- The color of broccoli. It must be intense green, so if you don’t see it green enough or it is clear in certain areas, it will not be fresh
- The stems of broccoli. They must be smooth and rigid, otherwise they will indicate that the cold chain has been broken
- The floral heads of broccoli. They must be tight and perfectly attached to each other. If not, the stems will be losing consistency and the broccoli will be starting to get bad
Another interesting possibility is that you buy broccoli in herbalists or online stores, directly from the producer, with a careful selection, which can be both fresh, such as broccoli extract, crispy broccoli, broccoli powder, organic broccoli seed sprouts, seed oil of virgin broccoli or crunchy broccoli.