Broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse, providing essential vitamins and fiber for a calorie bargain. While people have been enjoying broccoli for over 2,000 years, broccoli is a recent newcomer to the United States. Fresh broccoli contains more calcium than frozen broccoli, but frozen broccoli has plenty of beta-carotene and stores well. Fresh or frozen, buy and eat broccoli as often as you can.
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Fresh broccoli comes in the shape of a tree with stalks and florets. Frozen broccoli typically comes cut into florets or chopped. Eat fresh broccoli raw, or steam or roast fresh and frozen broccoli. A serving of raw broccoli is 1/2 cup or 36 grams, and provides just 10 calories. A 1/2 cup of cooked broccoli weighs 78 grams and provides 25 calories.
The kind of fiber found in broccoli is good for your heart. The majority of the fiber in broccoli is soluble fiber, an important nutrient that reduces your risk of high cholesterol and heart disease. A 1/2 cup serving of cooked broccoli contains 1.5 grams of fiber, and of this fiber, 1 gram is soluble.
Vitamins and Minerals
Broccoli is packed with vitamins. A single serving of raw broccoli gives you 60 percent of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C and 20 percent of your daily vitamin A requirements. A serving of cooked broccoli gives you 80 percent of your daily vitamin C needs and 30 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A. Broccoli is also an important source calcium and iron.
Broccoli is a versatile ingredient that works well with other foods. Add chopped broccoli to pasta sauce to bulk up spaghetti and lasagna. Saute chopped broccoli with tomatoes and fold the vegetables into an egg-white omelet. Make a heart healthy cream of broccoli soup with skim-milk. Roast broccoli with other vegetables, garlic and a little bit of olive oil for a caramelized vegetable medley. Encourage your kids to play with their food and cut broccoli trees for them to dip in a yogurt-based dressing.