It belongs to the Brassicaceae family, that includes Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, bok choy, rutabaga, collard greens, and turnips.
It should be noted that while Romans and Greeks consumed this vegetable over 2,000 years ago, it was introduced to the US only during colonial times. However, it did not gain popularity until the 1920’s. Also, in the United Kingdom, it is also known as Italian Brussel Sprouts.
It can be eaten raw or cooked, nevertheless, the best method is to steam it or eat this cruciferous vegetable raw since that preserves best the minerals and vitamins contained in it.
It is an incredible source of vitamins (such as – vitamin B1, vitamin A – in the form of carotenoids, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, folate, pantothenic acid, vitamin K), minerals (like – chromium, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, iron, sodium, calcium, potassium, manganese, magnesium, copper). It is also a very good source of dietary fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, betaine, and choline.
Moreover, it is an excellent source of sulforaphane (very potent antioxidant) and lutein (a compound antioxidant).
Not only is this vegetable an excellent source of fiber, but half of its fiber is soluble (draws LDL cholesterol out of your body), and half is insoluble, helping to meet your nutritional needs for both types of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is a vital ingredient in weight loss diets since foods that are rich in it take longer to digest.
It contains glucoraphanin, a plant compound that the human body processes into sulforaphane, an anti-cancer compound. Just 4 servings of this cruciferous vegetable every seven days could protect men from prostate cancer, according to a 2008 study conducted at the Institute of Food Research, UK and issued in PLoS One.
Also, sulforaphane prevents oxidation which can lead to cancer within the digestive organs as well as it fights against bad bacteria within the large intestine. Another great thing about this compound is that it kills cancer cells, but has no or minimal effect on healthy cells. Lastly, this vegetable is a good source of indole-3-carbinols, that stops the growth of both prostate and breast cancer cells.
A Good Source Of Potassium
There is a high amount of potassium, an essential mineral, in this cruciferous vegetable which ensures a proper functioning of the brain and also provides health to the nervous system. Furthermore, potassium prevents cardiovascular disease as well as it is beneficial for blood pressure control.
Zeaxanthin and lutein are naturally occurring chemicals found in this vegetable and have been shown in various studies to help protect against cataracts and macular degeneration – two common debilitating eye conditions which considerably affect the quality of life and vision. Consuming foods rich in these two antioxidants delays the onset of macular degeneration and cataracts in comparison to taking a supplement, according to a study at the Linus Pauling Institute.
Vitamin C is crucial to the production of collagen, the most abundant protein in the human body which makes up the connective tissue between organs. This vegetable provides 89.2 mg that is nearly 150 percent of the recommended daily intake per 100 g. Moreover, this cruciferous vegetable has a few other important nutrients which are vital for the skin, such as – coenzyme Q10 and carotene.
There are no known side effects, except for people who are taking blood thinning medicines and an excessive consumption of this cruciferous is not recommended because it can interfere with these prescriptions drugs. Additionally, it may interfere with iodine absorption. Again, only if you eat too much.
It is a member of the cancer-fighting cruciferous family of vegetables and is acknowledged to have originated in the northeastern part of the Mediterranean. In the present day, it is found across the globe with California as one of the top producers.
It is an excellent source of vitamins (like – vitamins B1, B2, niacin, vitamin K, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, vitamin C, folate) and minerals (such as – calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, potassium, selenium, copper, sodium, zinc, and phosphorus). It also contains omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, and dietary fiber.
Additionally, it has phytochemicals, called glucosinate and indoles as well as choline, a B vitamin which is necessary for brain development.
Vitamin K is responsible for the health of the skeletal structure as well as it helps to prevent conditions related to a loss of bone mineral density. For example, women who eat at least 110 mg of vitamin K every day were about one-third less likely to break a hip than women who ate less than that, according to a 1999 study conducted at the Department of Medicine, Boston, United States and issued in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Moreover, this vegetable is a good source of calcium that has many benefits, like maintaining our teeth and bones healthy, as well as it is involved in the transmission of nerve impulses.
It has anti-inflammatory compounds which lower oxidative stress as well as it eliminates free radicals in the human body. A high level of inflammation in the body leads to chronic pain, digestive problems, high LDL cholesterol, atherosclerosis, and memory issues.
This cruciferous vegetable helps in preventing some types of cancer because it contains sulforaphane, a plant compound which kills cancer stem cells by slowing tumor growth. Also, it is a very good source of strong antioxidants such as vitamin A and vitamin C (in the form of carotene), nutrients with cancer inhibitor properties.
A typical serving of this vegetable provides more than 3g of fiber, that is important to maintain a healthy digestive system. Additionally, research has established that a regular diet high in foods containing dietary fiber is strongly associated with a lower risk of a few chronic disease, like – cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Furthermore, some studies have concluded that the intake of fiber may play a vital role in regulating the level of inflammation in the body and the immune system, hence, lowering the risk of life-threatening conditions, like – diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and cancer.
Eating this sulfur-rich vegetable may lead to a smellier variety of gas. Also, individuals who are using blood thinners should not over-consume it since the high levels of vitamin K could react negatively with these medicines.
Broccoli vs Cauliflower – Which Has A Better Nutritional Profile?
Both these vegetables are quite nutritious. However, broccoli is clearly the winner here.
References https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9925126?dopt=Citation