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What's New and Beneficial About Broccoli

Nutrition Tip

posted by Research Admin 1 on 31 January 2020

The World's Healthiest Foods, 27 January-2 February, 2020 

  • Since our recommended cooking method for broccoli has always been Quick Steaming, we are excited to report on recent studies that show certain nutritional benefits from the steaming of broccoli (versus other cooking methods). Included in these benefits are better retention of vitamin C and sulforaphane when broccoli is steamed rather than boiled. Also noted in these studies are better firmness and more vibrant green color from short-term versus long-term steaming. "Short-term" in this context typically means 5 minutes or less of steaming, and "long-term" means more than 5 minutes, and usually more like 15-20 minutes.
  • Connected with these steaming results in recent studies are clearly noticeable differences in nutrient concentrations that occur when steaming times are changed by relatively small amounts. For example, researchers are finding nutrient differences in broccoli steamed for 1 versus 2 minutes, or 3 versus 5 minutes. Many nutrients in broccoli are clearly sensitive to total steaming time, and as a general rule, all studies suggest that total steaming time be kept relatively short. At WHFoods, our recommended steaming time for broccoli florets and leaves is 4 minutes.
  • The anti-inflammatory benefits of sulfur compounds in broccoli have a strong research track record. Adding to this track record is a recent study showing broccoli benefits in small group of smokers who averaged at least 10 cigarettes per day. Participants in the study consumed steamed broccoli for a 10-day period. The daily serving size was about 1.66 cups per day, and the cooking method featured in the study was 10 minutes of steaming. Participants in the study experienced a drop in their blood level of C-reactive protein (CRP), which is a blood protein used to measure a general degree of inflammation. The participants also experienced an increase in their blood level of the carotenoid lutein and the B-vitamin folate. Since broccoli is our 16th best source of carotenoids and 5th best source of folate, these study findings definitely make good sense to us. But equally interesting for us is the amount of broccoli consumed in this study. At WHFoods, our "outstanding" level of cruciferous vegetable intake is at least 1.5 cups per day of cruciferous vegetables. The intake level in this study was very close to that outstanding amount.
  • In a recent study on organically grown broccoli, researchers noticed an association between the deep green color of the broccoli florets and their total carotenoid content. In other words, the deeper and more rich the florets were in color, the more carotenoids they contained. Since carotenoids are yellow-orange in color and do not contribute to the greenness of food, this finding may seem somewhat surprising. But it may give us a practical way to make our broccoli selections in the grocery if we are trying to choose broccoli with higher carotenoid content.

To read more about the health benefits of broccoli, click here