Broccoli: the green we trust

What is it?

Broccoli is a vegetable under the cabbage family that is green in colour, resembling a small tree with ‘branches’ forming its stems and the ‘tree’ forming the leaves of the plant. It has a high resemblance to cauliflower, another cultivar group under the same species of the broccoli.

Another form of broccoli widely consumed for its purported cancer preventive properties is broccoli sprouts, which are three to four day old broccoli plants. For the purpose of the article, “Broccoli” here will refer to the fully grown variant of the plant, as broccoli sprouts do not have the nutritional value of the full-sized version, and are not as easily obtainable.

Why is it so special?

Cruciferous vegetables are vegetables of the family Brassicaceae, and include vegetables such as bak choy, broccoli, cress, cauliflower, and cabbage. Not only are they rich in vitamins and minerals, but broccoli in particular has been prized for its anti-cancer preventive properties.

Just like the many other cruciferous vegetables available, broccoli also contains sulforaphane, a compound made from the enzyme myrosinase, which transforms glucoraphanin into sulforaphane through damage sustained by the plant. Sulforaphane is the compound that is believed to have anti-cancer properties.

Broccoli is also rich in dietary fibre, assorted vitamins and minerals, making it an excellent choice for those who wish to supplement their current diet with a vegetable chock full of valuable nutrients while fulfilling their daily vegetable intake amounts.


Who is this suitable for?

Broccoli is suitable for everyone, regardless of health status. Due to it not an allergic food type, or something known to trigger a food allergy, it is a food that can be eaten with non-existent risk to the one eating it.


When should I eat this?

Incorporate broccoli into your daily meals as part of a healthy and balanced diet. As a rule of thumb, you should eat broccoli any time you would be eating vegetables, or if you’re anticipating a vegetable-free meal or two ahead, feel free to load up on broccoli!

How is it usually served?

Add broccoli to your meals like you would any other vegetable, or make a salad centred around it—the sky’s the limit when it comes to a vegetable like broccoli. There’s one caveat, though: be sure to cook it by steaming, microwaving, or stir-frying it. Boiling broccoli causes the levels of sulforaphane in it to be lost. Thankfully, the versatility of broccoli means that it can be cooked with very little preparation.