Broccoli is one of the most nutritious foods out there. Here are some interesting facts about broccoli:
1. Broccoli is a human invention. It was bred from the wild cabbage plant. Broccoli isn’t alone in being created out of wild cabbage. Cauliflower, kohlrabi, kale, brussels sprouts, and the cabbages found in grocery stores are also offsprings of wild cabbage. Source.
Broccoli originated in Italy and used to be called “Italian Asparagus.” Thomas Jefferson was one of the first people to bring broccoli to America — he brought seeds over from Italy in 1767 and grew broccoli at Monticello. However, broccoli didn’t catch on in America until the 1920s with the influx of Italian immigrants. Source.
2. Broccoli has about 9 grams of protein per 100 calories. This ranks it up there with many meats in terms of protein per calorie. Of course, 100 calories of broccoli is a lot- about 3 cups — whereas 100 calories of steak is just a few bites.
3. Broccoli is packed with vitamins, phytochemicals, antioxidants and fiber. A serving of broccoli has more vitamin C than an orange and has lots of potassium, folate, iron, vitamin K and vitamin A.
4. Broccoli is 90% water, 7% carbs, 3% protein, and almost no fat. This makes it very low in calories, only 31 calories per cup. Being low in calories an high in fiber means that broccoli gives a big bang for the buck: it will fill you up without many calories.
5. The antioxidants and phytonutrients in broccoli have been found to have anti-cancer properties. So, eating broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables may help prevent cancer.
6. Broccoli is good for your heart. It can “help lower cholesterol because the soluble fiber in the vegetable binds with the cholesterol in the blood. This binding makes the cholesterol easier to excrete, and consequently lessens cholesterol levels in the body.” Source.
Here’s a recipe for one of my favorite soups from one of my favorite cookbooks: The Garden of Vegan:
Delightful Broccoli and Red Pepper Soup
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cups broccoli, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
4 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp Braggs or soy sauce
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp black pepper
In a large soup pot on medium heat, saute the onions and garlic in olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add the broccoli, red pepper, stock and the spices. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15 mintues. In a blender or food processor, blend the soup until smooth. Return to pot and reheat. Makes 4-6 Servings.