Broccoli Nutrition - Information, recipes and top tips

Our broccoli nutrition page offers a more detailed look at the nutritional value and corresponding health benefits of eating broccoli, along with top tips, interesting snippets, and our favourite recipes that feature broccoli.

Our printable broccoli nutrition vegetable chart makes a great at a glance guide. Stick it in a notebook, or to the front of the fridge - it might inspire you when you look inside and don't know what to do with what's lurking in your vegetable drawer!

If you are looking for some printables to help your child recognise their veggies, we've created a nice collection of broccoli themed vegetable worksheets.

There are a number of varieties of broccoli ranging from the ever popular big green head of the calabrese through to the quick growing raab - both of which feature in our chart above - and not forgetting the beautiful purple sprouting broccoli which makes a delicious side dish when sautéed with a little garlic and butter, if you eat it.

If you want to get the most of broccoli nutrition you might also want to consider eating broccoli sprouts - great thrown in salads or on top of just about anything (except maybe a chocolate cake!) they are considered to have up to 50 times more of the cancer fighting compound than is found in fully grown broccoli!

Broccoli Nutrition - Nutritional Information

Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamins K and C, with 1 cup providing almost 2.5 times the RDA for vitamin K and 1.5 times the RDA for vitamin C!

Broccoli is also a good source of chromium, folate, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamins A, B6 and E, potassium and manganese.

Broccoli nutrition - Health Benefits of Eating Broccoli

  • Broccoli's key health benefit is its anti inflammatory effects. Inflammation seems to be connected to just about every type of human disease, so anything that helps reduce inflammation is going to be beneficial to health. Broccoli contains compounds which research shows, tells our genes to stop producing the inflammation causing chemicals. Of course proving that eating the whole plant has the same effect is extraordinarily difficult to prove, but it seems logical to assume that if a particular component within in a food impacts cells in a laboratory, that the same compounds found in the whole food will impact the cells in our bodies to a greater or lesser degree.
  • Broccoli contains a compound called sulforaphane which is the particular phytochemical that research has shown to be so effective at fighting and preventing cancers.
  • Broccoli sprouts contain up to 50 times more sulforaphane than standard broccoli, and because you would eat them raw, this compound is apparently more easily absorbed by the body.
  • Broccoli is thought to help prevent damage to cartilage, and that increasing the amount of broccoli you eat may slow down, or even prevent, the development of osteoarthritis. 
  • Broccoli may have a beneficial effect on high blood pressure, and as a result, kidney health.
  • Good old sulforaphane is also key in helping to keep the heart healthy, particularly it seems in those with diabetes.
  • Broccoli is good for you eyes and skin too - seemingly helping to reduce the effects of aging.

When to Buy Broccoli

The broccoli season in the UK runs from April to October, although if you are growing your own you will no doubt be able to extend that with careful planting. 

How to Keep and Store Broccoli

Buy the freshest broccoli you can find - no yellow or brown bits, and make sure the head is nice and firm not soft and wilting.

If you buy fresh broccoli it should last up to 10 days in the fridge - don't wash it until just before you want to use it, and keep it in an airtight bag or tightly wrapped in clingfilm (this is often how you will find it in the supermarket).

Growing Your Own

Broccoli is an nice easy vegetable to grow at home in the vegetable bed. Start your seeds out indoors between March and June, then transplant into your vegetable bed from April, when you can also direct so.

There are several varieties of broccoli including the popular calabrese which produces the classic big heads we associate with broccoli, Raab and the delicious over wintering purple sprouting broccoli.

Broccoli Raab is a very quick crop to grow -  45 to 60 days from seed - and can be planted successively to give a nice long harvest. If you have a polytunnel you can extend the season even further.

Broccoli is very tasty to birds and caterpillars so you would do well to net them with a fine mesh such as Enviromesh, which should protect the plants from both cheeky pests!

survival seed vault

Interesting Broccoli Nutrition Vegetable Facts

  • There is some debate over where the name broccoli comes from - some say it is the plural for the Italian broccolo meaning 'the flowering top of a cabbage', whilst others say it comes from the latin word brachium meaning 'arm'. 
  • Broccoli was plentiful on the shores of the Mediterranean in Roman times and is mentioned in the cook book of Apicius who suggests it be boiled and then 'bruised' with cumin, coriander, chopped onion and oil or wine. 
  • The Roman farmers called broccoli The Five Green Fingers of Jupiter.
  • Enjoyed in Southern Europe over two millennia ago, broccoli is thought to have been brought to Northern Europe by Catherine D'Medici following her marriage to Henry II of France in 1533. It was not popularly received though.
  • Broccoli reached England in the early 18th century where it was known as  sprout colli flower or Italian asparagus. It was seeming as unpopular as in France!
  • There is no wild variety of broccoli - it was cultivated from kale by early horticulturists.

Broccoli Nutrition - Broccoli Recipes

We generally have broccoli as a side dish so we don't have many broccoli specific recipes at the moment, do check back often or subscribe to our newsletter.

This Thai green curry recipe uses two heads of broccoli to add to the greenness of the dish as well as bumping up the nutrient content. 

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