Rapini (Broccoli Rabe) – Health Benefits, Nutritional Facts, Side Effects

Rapini (scientific name – Brassica rabe), also referred to as broccoletto, Italian turnip, broccoli rabe, and cime di rapa, is renowned for its cancer-fighting and cancer-preventing properties.

Nutritional Facts

It is a good source of vitamins (including folate, vitamin A, thiamin, vitamin E, riboflavin, vitamin B6, niacin, vitamin C, vitamin K), minerals (such as –  calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, manganese, copper, zinc), dietary fiber, glucosinolates, protein, and even omega-3 fatty acids.

Health Benefits of Rapini

Cancer Prevention

This vegetable contains glucoraphanin that within the human body is transformed into the anti-cancer compound called sulforaphane, a sulfur-containing compound that gives cruciferous vegetables their bitter bite.

According to recent research, sulforaphane seems to be a potent anti-inflammatory substance that also boosts the activity of antioxidants in the human body.

Prevents Osteoporosis

It contains high levels of both calcium and vitamin K (an impressive 1,398 percent daily value), two important nutrients for our health. For instance, vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin, has an active role in blood clotting.

However, both are vital for the prevention of osteoporosis and bone health. Also, a deficiency of vitamin K may ultimately lead to weakened bones, heart disease, cancer, and tooth decay.

Good For Pregnant Women

Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin that is found naturally in fruits and vegetables. The human body can not store this vitamin, hence, we need to eat foods high in folate daily.

This vitamin helps prevent neural tube defects, severe abnormalities of the spinal cord and brain. A deficiency of folate in pregnant women can have considerable adverse effects on unborn children’s brain development. 100g of this vegetable has 83 mcg of folate, which is 21 percent of the daily recommended intake.

Boosts Collagen Production

Vitamin C is an effective antioxidant that protects the human body from damaging free radicals. Vitamin C is also involved in the production of collagen, a protein that forms body bone and tissue, and helps wounds and cuts heal.

This vitamin is also involved in the regulation of immune reactions and the metabolism of stress hormones, plus, it is important for the conversion of proline to hydroxyproline during collagen synthesis. A deficiency of vitamin C can lead to mood changes, fatigue, muscle, and joint aches, weight loss, dental conditions, bruising, and dry skin and hair.

100g of broccoletto has 20,2 mg of vitamin C which is about 34 percent of the daily recommended intake.

Improves Vision

Vitamin A is an essential vitamin needed for healthy development and growth, vision, cell recognition, reproduction, and immune function.

Research has established that people who eat dark green leafy vegetables more than twice every seven days have a 25 percent reduced risk of cataracts when compared to people who consume cruciferous vegetables less than once every 30 days.

More importantly, vitamin A can improve your overall skin health (preventing the development of wrinkles and lines by producing more collagen) and fight acne.

100g of this dark green leafy vegetable has 2622 IU vitamin A (in the form of carotene) that is approximately 52 percent of the daily recommended intake.

Weight Loss

Dietary fiber is an essential part of a healthy diet. For example, fiber can help prevent a variety of diseases, promote gut health, and is strongly associated with proper digestion.

Not only is this vegetable a rich source of fiber, but half of its dietary fiber content is soluble, and half is insoluble, helping to meet the needs of both types of dietary fiber.

Furthermore, individuals who include more dietary fiber in their regular diet tend to have an easier time maintaining a normal weight, according to the American Dietetic Association.

100 g of broccoletto has 2,7 g of fiber which is 11 percent of the daily recommended intake.

Brain Health

Manganese, an essential trace mineral, aids in bone development and brain function and helps the body heal after an injury. Also, manganese has an important role in DNA polymerase and glutamine metabolism.

This mineral also helps protect the cells from oxidative stress and activates the enzymes which play a vital function in the metabolism of amino acids, carbohydrates, and cholesterol.

100g of this vegetable has 0,4 mg manganese that is approximately 20 percent of the daily recommended intake.

How To Eat

It is best to consume it raw since it is more nutritious. Steaming is the best method to cook Italian turnip due to the fact that a good part of the nutrients are lost when it is boiled.

However, when cooked, the vitamin A content (in the form of carotenoids) increases since heat helps release vitamins from the structural part of cell walls.

Selection And Storage

When purchasing this vegetable, select one with the firm and tight stalks. Also, the cut ends of the stalks should be fresh.

Note – the greener it is, the more beta-carotene it contains.

In the raw form, it may last up to 28 days if stored at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not store this cruciferous in a plastic bag or sealed container. After cooking, leftovers should be covered and refrigerated and consumed within 3 days.

Side Effects of Broccoli Rabe

The high vitamin K content may interfere with the effects of anticoagulant drugs in the body. There are no other scientifically proven side effects.

Image credit – Shutterstock

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