Broccoli is one of the very low calorie vegetables; provides just 34 calories per 100 g. Nevertheless, it is rich in dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, and anti-oxidants that have proven health benefits. Total antioxidant strength measured in terms of oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) of broccoli is 1632 µmol TE/100 g.
Fresh Broccoli is a storehouse of many phyto-nutrients such as thiocyanates, indoles, sulforaphane, isothiocyanates and flavonoids like beta-carotene cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zea-xanthin. Studies have shown that these compounds by modifying positive signaling at molecular receptor levels help protect against prostate, colon, urinary bladder, pancreatic, and breast cancers.
This fresh vegetable is exceptionally rich source of vitamin-C; providing 89.2 mg or about 150% of RDA per 100 g. Vitamin-C is a powerful natural anti-oxidant and immune modulator, helps fight against flu causing viruses.
Further, it contains very good amounts of another anti-oxidant vitamin, vitamin-A. 100 g fresh head provides 623 IU or 21 % of recommended daily levels. Together with other pro-vitamins like beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and zea-xanthin, vitamin A helps in maintaining the integrity of skin and mucusa. Vitamin A is essential for healthy eye-sight and helps prevent from macular degeneration of the retina in the elderly population.
Broccoli leaves (green tops) are an excellent source of carotenoids and vitamin A; (16000 IU of vitamin A per 100 g) carrying these compounds several times greater than that in their flower-heads.
Fresh heads are an excellent source of folates; contain about 63 µg/100 g (Provides 16% of RDA). Studies have shown that consumption of fresh vegetables and fruits rich in folates during pre-conception, and pregnancy helps prevent neural tube defects in the offspring.
This flower vegetable is a rich source of vitamin-K and B-complex group of vitamins like niacin (vit B-3), pantothenic acid (vit.B-5), pyridoxine (vit.B-6), and riboflavin. Further, its florets also hold some amount of omega-3 fatty acids.
Furthermore, it is also a good source of minerals like calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, selenium, zinc and phosphorus.
See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:
Broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica), fresh, raw,
Nutrition value per 100 g(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)