Broccoli tends to be rather misunderstood as a vegetable. Though there are not many calories in broccoli by itself, many people shun the green vegetable with its thick stems that measure 6-10 inches tall and fine green or purple flower head clustered at the top. Despite its reputation as being the bane of every child’s existence, this vegetable is actually pleasant to the taste for most people.
The vegetable itself is part of the cruciferous (brassica) family, which includes cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels Sprouts among others. It grows best in cooler weather, so you’ll find it is cheaper during the fall.
Nutritional value – Broccoli is packed with vitamins and nutrients and with the low calorie count, this is an excellent addition to any diet. It is high in fiber and antioxidants, making this vegetable a good choice for dieters.
How many calories in broccoli? It is surprisingly low.
Every 100 grams of raw broccoli contains just 34 cal.
You can prepare this vegetable in many different ways and that will affect the calorie content, of course. Adding butter, milk or cheese is bound to boost the calorie content, so these things need to be weighed when planning your menu.
Steaming or boiling broccoli are two popular methods of preparation and are good for keeping the vegetable low calorie:
If you prefer to snack on the broccoli raw, then it comes out like this:
When calculating calories per portion for more complicated recipes, do not forget to add the other foods used, such as cheese and milk, pasta or anything else called for in the recipes.
Vitamins and Minerals – Broccoli is an excellent source of nutrition. It contains phyto nutrients, which have been linked to prevention of several cancers, including breast, prostate and colon cancers, among others.
In addition to these phyto nutrients, you will be getting a load of iron, calcium, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Zinc, selenium, phosphorus and manganese are all found in this powerful vegetable, as well. It may be obvious by now that this is not a vegetable to avoid after all, but one that should find its way to your plate at least several times a week. Vitamin C helps prevent viruses from attacking the body and is also useful in boosting the immune system while Vitamin A helps improve eyesight.
The top of the broccoli, the flower head, is where you will find plenty of folates. Just 100 grams of broccoli contains around 63 mcg of folates, or 16% of your daily dose. These are important in preventing neural tube defects in unborn babies, so pregnant women should consider eating plenty of fresh vegetables containing folates.