Why is Broccoli a Superfood?

Medically Reviewed on 7/13/2022
Broccoli is a versatile ingredient that can be used in soups, pastas, and even be baked.
Broccoli is a versatile ingredient that can be used in soups, pasta, and oven baked.

Broccoli is one of the superfoods owing to its anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects. It is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family that is high in fiber and low in fat. It is high in antioxidants, chlorophyll, and other useful phytonutrients. 

Three reasons why broccoli is considered a superfood include: 

  1. Cancer-fighting properties: 
    • Broccoli contains cancer-fighting compounds called glucosinolate, sulforaphane, and isothiocyanates. 
    • Broccoli has a substantially greater amount of glucoraphanin than other vegetables. When we chew or cut broccoli, glucoraphanin—a type of glucosinolate—is converted to sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is the molecule considered responsible for many of the vegetable's advantages.  
    • In laboratory tests, myrosinase—an enzyme present in broccoli—transforms glucosinolates into isothiocyanates, which have been found to combat cancer.  
    • According to small-scale studies, a diet rich in broccoli has been associated with a considerably decreased incidence of numerous forms of cancer. 
  2. Anti-inflammatory properties: 
    • Due to its anti-inflammatory effects, broccoli may help fight allergies, boosts immunity, enhance cardiovascular health, and even help prevent some type’s malignancies. It has a low glycemic index, making it good for people with diabetes
  3. Good for overall health: 
    • Broccoli is low in calories but abundant in nutrients. This combination of low calorie and high nutrient density makes broccoli one of the healthiest superfoods. 
    • Broccoli is high in protein, fiber, and minerals, all of which are necessary for a healthy body.  
    • It is one of the healthiest foods because it is high in vitamins C, K, A, and B; iron; calcium; beta-carotene; potassium; phosphorous, and magnesium. 
    • Together, these aid in the development of the body, brain, and immune system, and the prevention of numerous malignancies, heart disease, and stomach disorders.  

Broccoli is believed to be one of the healthiest vegetables because it is nutritionally rich in phytochemical compounds, fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins, making this cruciferous vegetable a superfood.

How nutritious is broccoli?

Many prominent diets incorporate it, including the vegan diet, keto diet, and military diet. It has an abundance of vitamins and minerals, including omega-3 fatty acids, protein, dietary fiber, and niacin.

Table 1. Nutrition facts about broccoli (100 grams raw broccoli)
Nutrients, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and phytonutrients Value
Energy 34 kcal (kilocalories)
Carbohydrate 6.64 g (grams)
Protein 2.82 g
Total fat 0.37 g
Cholesterol 0 mg (milligrams)
Dietary fiber 2.60 g
Vitamin C 89.2 mg
Vitamin K 0.17 mg
Vitamin B9 63 mcg (micrograms)
Vitamin B3 0.639 mcg
Vitamin B5 0.573 mcg
Vitamin B6 0.175 mcg
Vitamin B2 0.117 mcg
Vitamin B1 0.071 mcg
Vitamin A 623 IU (international unit)
Vitamin E 101.6 mcg
Calcium 47 mg
Copper 0.049 mg
Iron 0.73 mg
Magnesium 21 mg
Manganese 0.210 mg
Selenium 2.5 mcg
Zinc 0.41 mg
Phosphorus 66 mg
Sodium 33 mg
Potassium 316 mcg
β-carotene 361 mcg
β-crypto-xanthan 1 mcg
Lutein-zeaxanthin 1 mcg


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14 potential health benefits of broccoli

Broccoli has several health benefits due to its high vitamin, mineral, and fiber content. This green vegetable may be eaten raw or cooked, but a new study reported that mild steaming delivers the highest health advantages. 

Fourteen potential benefits of including broccoli in your diet include: 

  1. Prevents chronic diseases: 
    • Broccoli includes phenolic chemicals that aid in the prevention of chronic illnesses. 
    • This reduces your risks of diabetes, bronchial asthma, heart issues, and a variety of other dangerous ailments. 
    • Broccoli's purple and green hue is derived from antioxidants such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, selenium, copper, choline zinc, and phosphorus. These substances are excellent enhancers of the immune system and can protect us from a variety of ailments. 
  2. Excellent for eye health: 
    • Broccoli is high in carotenoid antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. These carotenoid antioxidants help protect eye function by reducing age-related macular degeneration, inhibiting cataract development, and maintaining a healthy vision for years to come. 
    • Other antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin C, contribute to the health of the optic nerve
  3. Antioxidant:  
    • Broccoli is an excellent detoxifier due to its high levels of vitamin C, sulfur, and amino acids.  
    • It aids in the removal of free radicals and toxins such as uric acid from the body, therefore cleansing the blood and preventing toxin-related issues. 
    • It is an alkaline vegetable that helps regulate the pH levels in the body. 
  4. Good for digestive health: 
    • Broccoli's indigestible fiber feeds the beneficial bacteria in the big intestine. They derive beneficial short-chain fatty acids from this, which support healthy gut flora, intestinal health, and immunological function. 
    • Broccoli is strong in isothiocyanate sulforaphane chemicals, which help combat dangerous intestinal bacteria. 
    • Other chemicals that preserve and maintain the stomach lining (gut barrier), such as indole glucosinates, are abundant. These are broken down into chemicals that activate stomach and intestinal protecting components. As a result, the delicate gut flora balance is preserved, and the immune system is strengthened.  
  5. Treats constipation
    • Broccoli has a high fiber content, which aids in the movement of food and waste through the digestive tract. This fiber, in particular, helps within the colon by adding bulk and stimulating the need to defecate.  
    • This lowers the risk of intestinal malignancies. A single cup of broccoli has approximately 10 percent of your required daily fiber intake. 
  6. Reduces cholesterol levels
    • Broccoli can help reduce blood cholesterol levels by increasing bile acid levels. 
    • Broccoli chemicals bind to bile acids and stimulate their excretion, avoiding their re-conversion into cholesterol. 
    • As a result, if bile acids are needed, fresh cholesterol should be used, lowering blood levels in the process. This is an effective natural method for lowering high cholesterol levels. 
  7. Optimizes blood pressure
    • Broccoli may optimize blood pressure regularly in a variety of ways, including cholesterol reduction and keeping blood vessels healthy.  
    • The presence of potassium aids in the dilatation of blood arteries, hence improving blood flow and lowering vascular tension. 
    • Furthermore, potassium is required to manage sodium and water stability, ensuring that blood volume does not expand excessively due to sodium's water retentive abilities. 
  8. Good for heart health: 
    • Sulforaphane, a sulfur-rich substance present in all cruciferous vegetables, is abundant in broccoli. Sulforaphane, a potent anti-inflammatory, helps reduce atherosclerosis or plaque buildup. 
    • Many studies have reported that people who consume sulforaphane from cruciferous vegetables live longer and have a low risk of heart disease
    • Raw broccoli has 10 times more sulforaphane than cooked broccoli. To get the most out of this crucial vitamin, steam or cook broccoli for not more than three minutes. 
  9. Good for pregnant women: 
    • Broccoli is high in nutrients that pregnant women require. It includes proteins, calcium, vitamins, antioxidants, iron, and phosphorus, as well as high fiber content.  
    • It prevents constipation, which is a typical concern during pregnancy.  
    • The folate concentration guarantees that no birth abnormalities occur, including neural tube defects, which are a major issue for pregnant women who have a folic acid shortage in their diet. 
  10. Promotes bone health: 
    • Bone is a living tissue that requires nutrients for optimal health and function. Broccoli has traces of calcium, magnesium, and zinc, which aid in the mineralization of bone structure. 
    • Moreover, broccoli contains a significant quantity of vitamin K, which may be considered a deciding element in effective bone mineralization. 
  11. Boosts brain health: 
    • Broccoli, which is high in vitamin K and choline, can improve cognition and memory. 
    • Similarly, the sulforaphane in it helps prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease and other neurological diseases. 
  12. Reduces the progression of arthritis
    • Studies have reported that broccoli consumption was linked to the suppression of a critical enzyme that triggers cartilage deterioration, perhaps shutting down the inflammatory cascade that may eventually reduce the pain in people. 
  13. Improves sexual performance: 
    • Broccoli can improve libido by increasing blood circulation to the body's organs. It contains folate and vitamin C, which may improve fertility and sperm count. 
  14. Anti-aging properties: 
    • Individuals age as a result of decreased metabolic functioning and oxidative damage. 
    • Broccoli, which is high in antioxidants, can help minimize oxidative stress. Antioxidants aid in the elimination or neutralization of free radicals or molecules that cause different cellular damages. 
    • Sulforaphane is a plant chemical that acts as an antioxidant and helps slow the aging process. 
    • Collagen is the major component that contributes to skin health. Broccoli is incredibly important for good skin because it assists in the synthesis of collagen. 
    • Other vitamins, such as vitamins A and E, are responsible for youthful and healthy skin. 

Try including broccoli into your diet at least a few times each week, especially if you have any ailment or condition that might benefit from its nutrients. Your body and mind will both benefit greatly from broccoli in your diet.

What is the best way to cook broccoli for reaping its health benefits?

Cooking broccoli for an extended period disables the enzyme that converts compounds called glucosinolates into cancer-fighting agents. 

  • If you must cook broccoli, gently steam it for about five to six minutes to preserve the antioxidants. 
  • Frozen broccoli may lack the potential to create sulforaphane and other vital nutrients, so consume fresh broccoli whenever possible to get full advantage of the food. 
  • Roasting broccoli is another alternative, but the higher the temperature, the more nutrients the vegetable loses. 

To get maximum nutrients out of broccoli, it should still retain a little crunch after cooking.

5 ways to cook broccoli to make it delicious and healthy

After washing your broccoli, clip the stem away from the crown. Cut the crown into smaller florets and then split the stem. 

  1. Microwave: 
    • Microwaving is preferable to boiling because veggies such as broccoli lose nutrients in the cooking water. Just keep in mind that eating broccoli after microwaving may be a little bland, so pair it with your choice of healthy and delicious dips. 
    • Microwave on high for three and a half minutes. Check the broccoli with a fork to see whether it is soft enough for you. If not, microwave for another minute. 
    • Season with salt, pepper, one teaspoon of butter or olive oil (per serving), and additional ingredients to taste. Toss to coat and then serve. 
  2. Steam: 
    • Place your steamer basket in a bigger saucepan with one inch of water. 
    • Bring the water to a boil. Transfer the broccoli florets to the steamer basket using tongs. Cover with a cover and steam for five to six minutes. 
    • Take out the florets once you are satisfied. 
    • Season with salt, pepper, one teaspoon of butter or olive oil (per serving), and additional ingredients to taste. Toss to coat and then serve. 
  3. Blanching or scalding: 
    • Blanch the broccoli in boiling water for a brief time—about half the time it takes to steam broccoli. Blanched broccoli is ideal for individuals who want their broccoli somewhat crispier. This procedure maintains broccoli fresh and green before adding it to a sauté. 
    • Bring a big saucepan with two-thirds full of water to a boil
    • Add one to two teaspoons of sea salt. 
    • Cook for two to three minutes after adding broccoli. While the broccoli is cooking, fill a big bowl halfway with ice and water.  
    • Drain broccoli and place in an ice bath for 5 to 10 minutes or until cold. Set aside after draining. 
    • Season with salt, pepper, one tablespoon of butter or olive oil (per serving), and extra ingredients to taste. Toss to coat and serve. 
  4. Sauté: 
    • Simple broccoli sauté goes nicely with any supper meal, such as beef, pig, chicken, or seafood. You'll need 1 to 1.5 lbs of broccoli. 
    • In a large pan over medium-high heat, heat two to three tablespoons of frying oil. 
    • Combine the broccoli florets and stems. Sauté them for four to five minutes. 
    • Add garlic cloves, coarsely chopped, and continue to sauté for 20 to 30 seconds. 
    • Add half a cup of chicken broth and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for an additional five minutes. 
    • Add some sesame oil on top (optional). Serve right away. 
    • Including extra vegetables in your sauté will make it more colorful and tasty. 
  5. Roast: 
    • Roasting broccoli may be the preferred and best way to cook it. 
    • Preheat the oven to 475°F. 
    • Toss the broccoli florets with two tablespoons of olive oil, half a teaspoon of sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. 
    • Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Place the broccoli on a baking sheet and roast for 15 to 20 minutes or until the edges are browned and the broccoli is tender-crisp. 
    • Remove the broccoli from the oven and set it aside to cool. Serve with your favorite toppings (such as roasted pine nuts, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese). 

The broccoli plant's components are all edible. The leaves and stems are thought to contain more medicinal properties than the widely popular florets. 

What can i do with lots of broccoli?

Broccoli is a versatile ingredient that can be used in soups, pasta, and even baked.

As a side dish: 

  • Cheddar broccoli side dish: Preheat the oven to 350° F. Lightly coat a 9-inch square baking dish with cooking spray. Now, in a nonstick skillet, mix shredded broccoli (florets), onion, and water. Sauté over medium-high heat for about 5-8 minutes or until tender. Add water as needed so that the veggies do not dry up. Drain and set aside.
  • In a bowl, mix egg, milk, and 3/4 cup cheddar cheese. Add this and pepper to the broccoli mixture. Stir well.
  • Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Set this into a large pan filled with about an inch of water. Bake this without cover for about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and top this with 1/4 cup shredded cheese and broil it for another 5 minutes. Let it rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

As a salad:

  • Cold steamed broccoli is one of the best salads after work out. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add the broccoli to the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes or until tender and drain. Heat oil in a small pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté for half a minute. Add broccoli, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Combine well and serve.
  • Broccoli works very well with Asian spices and sauces, such as garlic, ginger, and soya sauce.


  • Curry broccoli omelet: A cup of shredded broccoli, two teaspoons of curry powder, 2 eggs, salt, and pepper. Whisk them all together in a bowl. Use coconut oil or butter to make the omelet. Steam broccoli if you need more moisture and roast the broccoli if you want a smokey flavor.


  • Broccoli, spinach, onion, coconut milk, and a whole bunch of seasonings can make a delicious soup. Kids love this, especially with added cheese and garlic bread.


  • Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente (tender), 10-12 minutes, or according to the package directions and drain.
  • Steam broccoli florets for 5-8 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, combine the cooked pasta and broccoli. Toss with parmesan cheese, olive oil, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.


  • Broccoli and swiss cheese quiche
  • Pasta with broccoli, sausage, and roasted red peppers
  • Broccoli dip in a bread bowl

Broccoli is normally safe to eat, and any adverse effects are minor. The most common adverse effect is gas or intestinal irritation induced by the high fiber content of broccoli. However, the advantages of good health exceed the inconvenience.

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Medically Reviewed on 7/13/2022
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