The U.S. Department of Agriculture suggests that adults eat 1 1/2 to 2 cups of dark green veggies each week. Dark green veggies, including broccoli, are rich in nutrients that help fight cancer. Not only is broccoli a cancer fighter, but it is also low in calories and a good source of other nutrients that keep you healthy, even when it's cooked.
A stalk of cooked broccoli that's about 8-inches long and weighs 180 grams, has 63 calories. With 0.35 calories per gram, cooked broccoli is a low-energy-dense food, which means it has few calories compared to its weight. Low-energy-dense foods make a good choice for those following a low-calorie diet for weight loss because they fill you up without all the calories.
Carbs and Fiber
A medium stalk of broccoli is a good source of carbs and fiber, with 13 grams of carbs and 6 grams of fiber per serving. Fiber helps make broccoli a nutritional standout. It helps you feel full faster, which might help you manage your weight. Additionally, getting more fiber in your diet might reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes and diverticular disease. Adults and children need 20 to 30 grams of fiber a day.
Protein and Fat
Cooked broccoli is a source of protein and a small amount of fat, with 4 grams of protein and 0.7 grams of fat per medium stalk. As a plant source of protein, the cooked broccoli does not contain all of the essential amino acids, so it is considered an incomplete source of protein. However, including other vegetables and grains in your diet can help make sure you get all the amino acids you need. While cooked broccoli is virtually fat-free, fat is an essential nutrient your body needs to absorb fat-soluble vitamins and maintain cell membranes.
Vitamin and Minerals
Cooked broccoli is a good source of a number of essential vitamins and minerals that help keep you healthy, including vitamin C, carotenoids, folate and potassium. Vitamin C and carotenoids, like beta caroteneare, are antioxidants that protect your cells from damage by free radicals, which might help reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer. You need adequate intakes of folate to make cells. Folate is especially important to women who may become pregnant because it helps prevent neural tube defects in their babies. Eating more potassium-rich foods may help you get better control over your blood pressure by blunting the effects of sodium.
Eating more cruciferous vegetables including broccoli might reduce your risk of cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Cooked broccoli is a source of phytochemicals, which act as antioxidants and are considered anti-cancer chemicals. One of the phytochemicals in broccoli, indole-3-carbinol, may increase levels of protective enzymes in your body, which may help slow or stop the growth of breast and prostate cancer cells, says the American Cancer Society.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: ChooseMyPlate.gov: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food - groups/ vegetables - amount .html How Many Vegetables Are Needed Daily or Weekly?
- American Cancer Society: Broccoli
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Broccoli, Cooked, Boiled, Drained, Without Salt
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Low-Energy-Dense Foods and Weight Management: Cutting Calories While Controlling Hunger
- Harvard School of Public Health: Fiber
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Protein
- McKinley Health Center: Maconutrients: The Importance of Carbohydrates, Protein and Fat
- MedlinePlus: Antioxidants
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Folate
- American Heart Association: Potassium