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The main properties of broccoli

From a botanical perspective, broccoli is incredibly adaptable; in fact, it can be cultivated anywhere in the world, even though it is native to the Middle East and the Mediterranean region. Broccoli is generally connected with Italian cooking when travelling abroad because it is a highly popular meal in our nation and was consumed frequently until a few decades ago.

The popularity of broccoli can be attributed to its low calorie content (around 40 kcal per 100 g) and high nutritional value, but it is also easily cultivated. It is also a definite satiating food. Although broccoli has some B vitamins, it shines when it comes to the amount of mineral salts it has. In actuality, reports of extremely high potassium, phosphorus, iron, and calcium concentrations exist. Though not as high as in citrus fruits, the amounts of vitamin C are nevertheless noteworthy.

The different varieties

Broccoli is closely related to cauliflower and cabbage, to the point that it could be considered a variety of these vegetables. In turn, broccoli has specific varieties, which are characterised by the harvesting time but above all by the shape, colour, and taste. Here is a brief and exhaustive overview of the different varieties of broccoli.

  • Romanesco. It is harvested from August to November. The colour is slightly light, and the taste is quite sweet. The consistency, however, tends to be crunchy.
  • Fiesta Broccoli. It has a particularly dark colour and is noticeably compact. It is picked between December and March. This broccoli is one of the best ever.
  • Belstar Broccoli. It is generally harvested from May to June. It is characterised by a slightly faded green, medium firmness, and a full-bodied flavour.

What can we prepare with it?

They are extremely versatile vegetables; after all, it was precisely this characteristic that made their fortune. Broccoli can be used to prepare delicious and healthy soups; it could be enhanced by legumes, fish, and meat. Given their compactness, these vegetables can also be used to make delicious, velvety soups and exquisite creams.

Furthermore, as evidenced by the wide range of broccoli risottos available in Italian cuisine, they can serve as the principal ingredient in even the most elaborate preparations. Likewise with the many pasta dishes, both with and without tomatoes. Here are some recipes that I personally think are great when broccoli is used a lot. You have an abundance of options!

What are the benefits of broccoli?

Broccoli, as we’ve seen, has significant nutritional qualities and is therefore crucial for maintaining optimum health. An outline of the advantages they offer is as follows:

Improved intestinal function. Broccoli is rich in fibre; therefore, it helps digest and support bacterial flora.

Increased body defenses. The credit for this goes to the abundance of vitamin C, in quantities similar to those of citrus fruits.

Restoration of muscle power. Broccoli aids in the restoration of muscular tone after periods of forced rest. The reason for this is that certain mineral salts, such as zinc, magnesium, and selenium, are abundant.

Prevention of cancer. In this instance, the abundance of beta-carotene is being discussed, which functions as an antioxidant and helps the body absorb vitamin A, which is vital for healthy skin and vision. Moreover, it inhibits the growth of malignant cells and combats free radicals.

They fight diabetes and bad cholesterol. Broccoli avoids glycemic peaks because of its medium-low glycemic index. They also reduce bad cholesterol, which is the cause of acute and frequently fatal heart problems.

They safeguard the heart. The abundance of sulforaphane, which “repairs damage” to the arteries, particularly that brought on by high blood sugar, is the ingredient to which reference is made.

Who can’t eat broccoli?

Broccoli is a healthy food, so it would be a contradiction to talk about contraindications. In fact, they can be eaten by anyone, even in large quantities. Obviously, it’s best not to overdo it. Like most “green” vegetables, the intake of fibre can turn into a double-edged sword, i.e., produce an unpleasant laxative effect. In this case, people who suffer from intestinal problems and are prone to dysentery need to be careful of their excessive intake.

The same discussion goes for those suffering from thyroid disease. In general, broccoli supports thyroid function, but if consumed in large quantities, it could have the opposite effect. The reason for this lies in the presence of goitrogen, a substance that inhibits the functionality of the thyroid. Finally, there are some unpleasant interactions with anticoagulant drugs, usually used to combat hypertension. From this point of view, the abundance of vitamin K has an impact.

All others are free to proceed; in fact, broccoli is a recommended food for any diet, including sliming diets. In reality, fats are scarce, and the caloric content is rather low.