Plant Biography: Broccoli

Basic Info

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Scientific Name: Brassica oleracea, italica variety

Taste: Bitter-ish

Varieties: Calabrese (most common), Sprouting, and Purple Cauliflower

Relatives: Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli raab

Fun Fact: How broccoli tastes differs from person to person, depending on more than just their gene for bitterness taste receptors (TASR38). Most of the population falls into a moderate category, having one copy of the gene that results in perceiving a strong bitter taste and one copy of the gene that results in hardly detecting bitterness. But there is variation in taste perception even in this group. In a mechanism that is not yet known, some people produce more mRNA that produce more bitter taste receptors than others. Sorry for the long spiel, but I live for this stuff.

Health Benefits: Its high levels of potassium, calcium, and magnesium work together to regulate blood pressure; its vitamin C takes out free radicals; promotes bone health; its beta-carotene boosts the immune system; contains glucoraphanin, which repairs skin damage from the sun and breaks down into the cancer-fighting compound sulphoraphane; contains indol-3-carabine, which prevent multiple types of cancers; fights muscular degeneration, cataracts, and thickening of arteries with carotenoid lutein.

Nutritional Information

Serving Size (1 cup) % Daily Value
Calories                            31 2%
Total Fat                           0.3 g 1%
Cholesterol                      0 mg 0%
Sodium                            30 mg 1%
Total Carbohydrates       6.0 g 2%
Dietary Fiber                     2.4 g 9%
Sugars                                 1.5 g
Protein                                2.6 g 5%
Vitamin A                          567 IU 11%
Vitamin C                          81.2 mg 135%
Vitamin E                          0.7 mg 4%
Vitamin K                         92.5 mcg 116%
Riboflavin                         0.1 mg 6%
Vitamin B6                        0.2 mg 8%
Folate                               57.3 mcg 14%
Calcium                            42.8 mg 4%
Iron                                    0.7 mg 4%
Magnesium                     19.1 mg 5%
Phosphorus                     60.1 mg 6%
Potassium                        288 mg 8%
Manganese                      0.2 mg 10%

The take home message is broccoli is super good for you and you should eat it. I challenge you to eat it with at least one meal this week! I prefer it it cooked, but you can eat it raw with some hummus for a less bitter flavor. Here’s some recipe ideas to get you started.

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