Full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, cabbage needs to be a regular in your kitchen

Full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, cabbage needs to be a regular in your kitchen


With its high concentrations of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, cabbage is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat. As a cruciferous veggie, in the same family as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, it also contains glucosinolates, phytochemicals that break down into indoles, sulforaphane and other cancer-preventive substances.

Different types of cabbage (red, green and Savoy) contain different patterns of glucosinolates, which suggests you should try to eat a variety of cabbage for the best health effects. Its variety is another one of cabbage’s pluses — it comes in hundreds of different types and is incredibly versatile. Eaten raw, cabbage is a mainstay of cole slaw and other summer salads. It’s also one of the most popular base vegetables for creating your own homemade sauerkraut.


Cooked lightly and quickly, cabbage also makes an excellent side dish to virtually any protein source and can be seasoned in a number of different ways depending on the type of cuisine. You may be tempted to rely on your local grocery store for cabbage, but growing your own is so much more rewarding, both in terms of freshness and flavor. What’s more, growing cabbage is incredibly easy, and if you time your planting right you can expect to harvest it during the summer as well as the late cold-weather season.

Choose the Right Varieties for the Growing Season

Cabbage is one of those vegetables that taste better after a frost. This is because as temperatures drop, the cold causes the plants to break down energy stores into sugar, leading to a sweeter, tastier flavor. Some types of cabbage can even be grown in temperatures as low as 26 degrees F.

Most winter veggies are planted in mid- to late summer so they are strong and ready for when the temperatures drop, and then ripe for harvest in winter or early spring. Timing this depends on how long each plant takes to reach maturity, however, and this is where choosing the proper varieties is key.

While some cabbage plants reach maturity in 90 days, early varieties take just 60 days to reach maturity. Further, you’ll probably want to plant a crop to harvest during the summer months, as well.


As Rodale’s Organic Life noted, “Cabbage thrives in cool weather. In most areas, you can plant an early crop for fresh eating and a late crop — usually the more problem free and tastier of the two — primarily for winter storage. Choose early varieties such as ‘Primax’ for summer harvest; midseason and late-season cultivars for storage.” Additional recommended varieties, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, include the following:

  • “If you are planting for a fall harvest, try red or Chinese cabbage. Good varieties include ‘Ruby Perfection’ and ‘Lei-Choy.’
  • For quick harvest time, try ‘Golden Acre,’ ‘Primo’ or ‘Stonehead.’
  • ‘Early Jersey Wakefield’ resists splitting.
  • Disease-resistant varieties include ‘Blue Vantage’ and ‘Cheers.’”

Other considerations in cabbage variety include size, color and texture. With its variety of cool hues and ruffled and crinkled leaves, many people plant cabbage as much for its ornamental appeal as they do for its culinary uses. Some of the more popular varieties to consider include:

Savoy cabbage, which has dark green, crinkled outer leaves Red cabbage, which contains antioxidant anthocyanins that give it its purple color
Napa cabbage, also called Chinese cabbage, matures quickly and has a mild flavor Green cabbage, which comes in a variety of sizes with differing times to maturity
Pointed cabbage, which forms conical heads, helping to protect it from insects Mini cabbages, such as the “Gonzales” variety, which can be harvested when they’re 6 inches in diameter, making them ideal for small gardens

It’s Easy to Start Cabbage From Seed

While you can purchase cabbage plants at most garden centers, it’s easy to grow them yourself from seed. Start seeds indoors eight to 10 weeks before your last frost of the spring for summer harvests, and 12 to 14 weeks before your first fall frost for late varieties. “Place in a sunny spot or under lights with temperatures between 60 degrees and 70 degrees F, and keep the soil uniformly moist. When daytime temperatures reach 50 degrees F and seedlings have three leaves, plant them outdoors,” Rodale’s Organic Life recommends. In addition, they note:

“Plant seedlings in the garden slightly deeper than they grew in flats. Space 6 to 12 inches apart in rows 1 to 2 feet apart. Wide spacings produce bigger heads, but young, small cabbages are tastier. To get both, plant 6 inches apart and harvest every other one before maturity. Stagger plantings at 2-week intervals for a longer harvest. tart your late crop in midsummer, sowing seeds in flats or directly in the garden. Space these seedlings farther apart than the spring crop.”

As for seeds, look for non-GMO, organic seeds or consider saving seeds from your own crop. The latter may be a challenge, as cabbage produces seed in its second year (it’s a biennial crop). This means only areas with mild winters will allow the seedlings to survive through the winter and produce seeds come summer. An alternative is to transfer cabbage plants in a cool place for the purpose of harvesting seeds the next growing season, according to Mother Earth News:

“In colder climates, growers dig cabbage plants and move them to a cool root cellar for winter, burying the plants’ roots in buckets of moist sawdust. The stored heads are trimmed and replanted in early spring.”

Cabbage Planting Tips

A sunny, well-drained spot works best, and healthy soil will help your cabbage plants to thrive. Adding organic compost to your soil is recommended, as is a layer of mulch or wood chips to help lock in moisture. If your cabbage leaves start to yellow, adding compost tea, which is basically the liquid from compost steeped in water, to the soil as an extra feeding may boost plant growth and encourage faster maturation.

Cabbage plants are heavy feeders, meaning they deplete the soil of nutrients relatively quickly. Because of this, it’s best to plant them apart from other heavy feeders like broccoli and cauliflower. In addition, rotate crops each year to discourage diseases. Excess water (including heavy rain) can cause cabbages to split. If you notice a split starting, or expect a heavy rain to hit, use a spade to sever the plant’s roots in one or two spots, or twist the plant, pulling up slightly, to dislodge the roots.

Both methods will slow the plant’s growth, preventing splitting and bolting. If the cabbage does split, don’t worry — it can still be used to make sauerkraut. As for pests, many, including harlequin bugs, slugs, snails and cabbage worms can be removed by hand (be sure to check the undersides of leaves). Damage from cutworms can be prevented by placing a “collar” made from a plastic cup around young seedlings (push it down about 1 inch into the soil). Common diseases to watch out for include the following:

“Black leg, a fungal disease, forms dark spots on leaves and stems. Black rot symptoms include black and foul-smelling veins. Club root prevents water and nutrient absorption. Fusarium wilt, also known as yellows, produces yellow leaves and stunted heads. Remove and destroy plants affected by these diseases. If club root has been a problem in your garden, test soil pH before planting and add ground limestone if needed to raise the pH to at least 6.8.”

Simple Harvest Tips

When the cabbage head is firm to the touch, use a sharp knife to cut it from the stalk. Heads that don’t feel firm are not yet ready for harvest. Smaller cabbage heads will often grow from the stem, provided you leave the outer leaves and roots, so don’t pull it out of the ground yet. If you’re not interested in encouraging a second crop to grow, the loose outer leaves can be tossed into your compost pile or eaten — it’s up to you.

Once the harvest is complete, pull the stem and root from the ground and compost the remainders (as long as the plant is healthy; avoid throwing diseases plants into your compost bin). Store cabbage in your refrigerator for two weeks or in cold storage (32 degrees to 40 degrees F) for five or six months (the latter being perfect for your winter harvest).

If you’re wondering how much cabbage to grow, Mother Earth News recommends about three cabbage plants per person for enjoying fresh and four plants per person (in addition) for storing cabbage to make sauerkraut. Cabbage is best prepared as close to raw as possible, sometimes called tender-crisp, to preserve its many nutrients.

Cabbage can also be juiced and fermented, which will provide your body with healthy amounts of beneficial bacteria and, if certain starter cultures are used, vitamin K2.

Ready to Enjoy? Healthy Cabbage Crunch Salad

There are many reasons to give cabbage a regular appearance at your mealtimes. It contains powerful antioxidants like vitamins A and C and phytonutrients such as thiocyanates, lutein, zeaxanthin, isothiocyanates and sulforaphane, which stimulate detoxifying enzymes and may protect against breast, colon and prostate cancers. Cabbage also contains a wealth of anti-inflammatory nutrients to help keep inflammation in check.

Among them are anthocyanins, a type of polyphenol that, as mentioned, is particularly plentiful in red cabbage, although all types of cabbage contain anti-inflammatory polyphenols. Cabbage also contains healthy amounts of B vitamins, including folate (which is better than the synthetic form known as folic acid found in many supplements), vitamin B6, vitamin B1 and vitamin B5.

B vitamins are not only important for energy, they may also slow brain shrinkage by as much as seven-fold in brain regions specifically known to be most impacted by Alzheimer’s disease.


If you’re looking for a recipe to enjoy your cabbage raw that’s a bit different than typical cole slaw recipes, try this healthy Cabbage Crunch Recipe. With fresh ginger, miso paste and ground sesame, along with both red and green cabbage, it’s packed with both intense flavor and valuable nutrition.

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 1/2 head red cabbage, chopped finely
  • 1/2 head white cabbage, chopped finely
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced (optional)

For the Dressing:

  • 1 teaspoon gomasio (ground sesame with salt)
  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, chopped (optional)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white miso paste* (optional)


  1. Mix the cabbage with the chopped onions. Add cilantro and jalapeno.
  2. Place all the dressing ingredients into a food processor and blend briefly. Mix into salad mix and serve.

Broccoli Reverses Diabetes Damage

Eating broccoli could reverse the damage that diabetes inflicts on heart blood vessels. The key is most likely a compound in the vegetable called sulforaphane.

Sulforaphane encourages production of enzymes that protect the blood vessels and reduces the number of molecules that cause cell damage — known as Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) — by up to 73 percent.

People with diabetes are up to five times more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes — both of which are linked to damaged blood vessels.

Keeping your heart healthy is extremely important if you have diabetes. Heart disease is actually the most common side effect of the condition, and 65 percent of people with diabetes die from heart attack or stroke.

If diabetes is not controlled, it can damage blood vessels, including those leading to the brain and heart. This encourages the formation of plaques (also known as atherosclerosis), which can ultimately make it difficult for blood to flow through the vessels and cause your blood pressure to rise.

The Mayo Clinic actually has some revealing statistics on this topic. If you have diabetes you:

• Are two to four times as likely to have a heart attack or stroke (compared to someone without diabetes)

• Are more likely to die from a heart attack

• Have the same risk for sudden death from a heart attack as someone who has already had a heart attack. Tim Russert, the NBC correspondent who recently died without warning of a heart attack, actually had diabetes and coronary artery disease, both of which increased his risk of sudden death.

Yet, it’s estimated that 70 percent of people with diabetes are not aware of these increased risks.

On the flip side, if you’ve had a heart attack, you should be checked for diabetes or pre-diabetes. One study found that over two-thirds of heart attack patients had blood sugar abnormalities in the form of undiagnosed diabetes or pre-diabetes.

How Might Broccoli Help?

One of the broccoli’s most powerful compounds is the phytochemical sulforaphane. This compound has been found to restore your immune system as you age and increase your liver’s ability to detoxify carcinogenic compounds and free radicals. This, in turn, protects against cell mutations, cancer, and other harmful effects.

It turns out sulforaphane also protects your heart, via two routes:

1. It reduces levels of harmful molecules called Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS).
2. It activates a protein called nrf2, which triggers protective antioxidant and detoxifying enzymes that protect your cells and tissues.

Broccoli is not the only vegetable that contains sulforaphane, though. Most of the veggies in the cruciferous family also contain it, and this includes vegetables such as turnips, cabbage, bok choy, rutabaga, mustard greens, cauliflower, radishes, and many others.

To really get the most benefit, it helps to find out your nutritional type, as some people actually do not do well with broccoli.

For instance, one of the most serious mistakes is for a protein nutritional type to consume a lot of dark green vegetables. This tends to over-alkalinize your system and worsens rather than improves your health if you’re a protein type. This is despite the many beneficial phytonutrients that are present. I am very familiar with this mistake as it’s one that I made prior to understanding nutritional typing.

However, other cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, which happens to be beneficial for protein types, can have a similar beneficial effect.

I want you to be aware of just how important it is to understand your body at a deeper level because if you are a protein type and were to eat broccoli, the other effects of broccoli might push your metabolic biochemistry in the wrong direction and thus override its benefits.

What’s the Best Way to Eat Broccoli?

If you want to get even more of broccoli’s benefits, opt for the sprouts. Just 5 grams (0.17 ounces) of broccoli sprouts contain concentrations of the compound glucoraphanin (a precursor to sulforaphane) equal to that found in 150 grams (5.2 ounces) of mature broccoli.

If you opt to eat mature broccoli, keep in mind that the way you cook it can greatly alter its nutrient content. Lightly steaming this vegetable should keep most of its phytonutrients intact, but if you decide to microwave it you could be reducing the beneficial compounds by 74-90 percent.

You can always just eat broccoli raw, of course, and this will ensure that most all of its phytonutrients are intact.

Other Natural Methods to Prevent Diabetes and Protect Your Heart

Eating broccoli and other veggies is only one small piece of the puzzle when it comes to keeping healthy.

Swapping out your grains and sugar for high-quality sources of protein, healthy fat (which INCLUDES saturated fat) and vegetables according to your nutritional type, all of which is outlined in my book Take Control of Your Health, is also essential, especially for those of you with diabetes.

Next, add in regular exercise. This, combined with diet, will help you to shed excess weight, and a weight loss of 10 pounds can reduce your risk of diabetes by nearly 60 percent.

Diet and exercise are your two keys to preventing both heart disease and diabetes, but the third factor, especially for heart disease, is your emotions. Stress is the most common cause of heart attacks, so make sure you know how to keep your emotions under control using methods like the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), meditation, or even just a long soak in the tub with a really good book.

Dramatically reduce your breast cancer risk by simply eating more cruciferous vegetables

Image: Dramatically reduce your breast cancer risk by simply eating more cruciferous vegetables

The odds of a woman developing breast cancer are downright frightening, with one out of every eight women expected to develop invasive breast cancer at some time in her life. Although there’s no way to guarantee you won’t be one of them, there are quite a few things you can do to stack the odds in your favor.

As the second leading cause of death in the U.S., cancer has been the subject of a lot of research. One thing that scientists have consistently found to reduce a person’s chances of developing breast cancer is consuming cruciferous vegetables. Epidemiological studies have found that women who eat cruciferous vegetables each day can reduce their breast cancer risk by as much as 50 percent.

Experts believe that cruciferous vegetables have this effect because they are high in an organosulfate compound known as sulforaphane. Studies have shown that sulforaphane can not only lower your risk of getting cancer and reduce the inflammation that can trigger the disease, but it also kills cancer cells outright. This overachieving compound can also prevent the DNA changes that lead to cancer and deactivate enzymes that transform pro-carcinogens into active carcinogens.

A 2007 Johns Hopkins University study found that sulforaphane inhibits the growth of four different types of breast cancer cells. It’s not just women who can benefit; it has also been shown in studies to significantly slow the development of prostate cancer in men. For example, one study showed that consuming just 60 milligrams of sulforaphane per day in the form of broccoli sprouts was enough to slow the doubling rate of prostate cancer by 86 percent.

In addition to reducing breast cancer and prostate cancer risk, studies haves demonstrated that sulforaphane supports gut health, helping people to maintain a healthy digestive system. It can also help enhance your body’s natural detox process, and it has even been shown to reduce muscle pain after exercise. Another study found that it helps prevent the type of oxidative damage seen in the body that leads to immune system decline as people age.

The best way to get sulforaphane

If you’d like to get these benefits for yourself, there are lots of cruciferous vegetables to choose from, including broccoli, cabbage, kale, mustard greens, Broccoli sprouts, bok choy, and watercress. It’s easy to incorporate these vegetables into your diet, and there are enough different options that you won’t have to worry about getting tired of eating the same thing all the time.

However, if you want to get the most bang for your buck, experts say you should turn to broccoli sprouts. Just 140 grams of the raw sprouts are enough to give you the amounts of sulforaphane seen in many of these studies. If you can’t find organic broccoli sprouts in your local farmer’s market or grocery store, you can make them yourself easily with broccoli sprouting seeds and a glass jar.

Although it’s better to eat cruciferous vegetables raw if you’re looking for their cancer-fighting benefits, it is okay to cook them as long as you don’t overdo it. Avoid boiling them as this inactivates the enzyme that transforms the glucoraphanin in the vegetables into sulforaphane. Instead, steam them lightly for no longer than four minutes.

As more information comes to light about simple dietary changes that can reduce our risk of disease, one can only hope that breast cancer will be far less common in the future than it is now. Consuming the foods that lower your cancer risk should be part of an overall healthy diet and lifestyle, but it’s safe to say that eating cruciferous vegetables requires such a small effort for such a great potential reward.

Sources for this article include:



Why Broccoli Sprouts Are More Powerful Anti-Cancer Foods Than A Full-Grown Broccoli

There is no doubt that broccoli is one of the most nutritious vegetables. But, did you know that you can find a food that has a similar taste with broccoli, but it is cheaper and healthier than broccoli itself and you can even grow at your own home?

Well, we are talking about broccoli sprouts. Sprouts are known for being extremely healthy due to their high content of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and enzymes. What is more, you only need some seeds which are easy to grow at home.

 So, keep reading to find out more how the broccoli sprouts can fight cancer, prevent the development of ulcers and improve your overall health.

Sprouts can be grown from different foods, and every type of sprout has a unique nutritional value. The best thing about sprouts is that they get healthier after you pick them off the plant.

 Health Benefits of Broccoli Sprouts

Anti-cancer properties: Many studies proved that broccoli sprouts are abundant with compounds and nutrients that have the ability to fight cancer. Sulforaphane is the main compound in broccoli sprouts. Even though this same chemical is found in broccoli, the broccoli sprouts have 100 times higher content of Sulforaphane compared to broccoli itself.

Fight ulcers:  We all know that ulcers can be very painful, and can damage your digestive system. Broccoli sprouts are a great source of glucoraphanin which can act as an antibiotic in the digestive tract, thus preventing H. Pylori, an infection that can cause ulcers.

 Juicing: You can also use broccoli sprouts for juicing. By juicing them, you can get even more of their health benefits. This juice has a high content of antioxidants and will remove the toxins from your body

How to grow broccoli sprouts at home

Growing broccoli sprouts isn’t a complicated process. You only need seeds for the first growing cycle then it is easy to grow your sprouts from a current batch.

You should add 3 tablespoons of broccoli sprout seeds in a bowl. Add cool water at a ratio of 1 tablespoon broccoli seeds to 3 tablespoons water. Soak the seeds and leave them to stand for 12 hours. Drain off the water and place the seeds and a small amount of water in a suitable drainage.

Make sure to place the container in a cool place. You should rinse and drain every 12 hours for 4days. The sprouts should have opened after the fifth day. Remove seed hulls and transfer the sprouts to a bowl. Make sure to cover with water. After 8-12 hours, your sprouts will be ready. Keep them in a sealed container in your refrigerator.

Why Broccoli is Considered a Real SuperFood? 16 Healthy Broccoli truths you didn’t know..

Origins of Broccoli:

Broccoli, botanically-known as Brassica oleracea italica, is native to the Mediterranean. It is an edible green plant in the cabbage family, whose large flowering head is used as a vegetable. The word broccoli, from the Italian plural of broccolo, refers to “the flowering top of a cabbage” and is derived from the Latin word brachium, which means branch or arm, a reflection of its tree-like shape that features a compact head of florets attached by small stems to a larger stalk.


When first introduced in England, broccoli was referred to as “Italian asparagus. Broccoli was introduced to the United States in colonial times, popularized by Italian immigrants but did not become a popular foodstuff in the United States until the early 1920s.

The Varieties of Broccoli:

Its color can range from deep sage to dark green to purplish-green, depending upon the variety. One of the most popular types of broccoli sold in North America is known as Italian green, or Calabrese, named after the Italian province of Calabria where it first grew. Other vegetables related to broccoli are broccolini, a mix between broccoli and gai-lin (Chinese broccoli), and broccoflower, a cross between broccoli and cauliflower. Broccoli sprouts have also recently become popular as a result of research uncovering their high concentration of the anti-cancer phytonutrient, sulforaphane.

Why Broccoli is Considered a Real SuperFood?

Extensive research on broccoli, over the past few decades have converged in one critical area of medical science interest- cancer and its relationship with three main metabolic processes in the body, namely chronic inflammation, oxidative stress, and inadequate detoxification. Scientists believe that foods that can help us prevent “overactive” inflammation, eliminate oxidative stress and assist the detox processes will be the answer to preventing and curing the deadly disease. Broccoli’s potent nutrient fusion provides these in addition to a host of other benefits, marking it in the elite list of superfoods.


  1. Controls Blood Pressure: Broccoli contains Potassium, a vital nutrient for stabilization of blood pressure, maintaining a healthy nervous system and neutralizing the harmful effects of sodium on blood pressure.
  2. Improves Digestive System: Broccoli contains both soluble and insoluble fibers, that cleanse the colon and digestive tract, expel toxins and cholesterol and keeps healthy blood sugar levels.
  3. Fights Depression. Broccoli replenishes your folic acid levels, deficiency of which can lead to depression, fatigue, poor memory, and mental problems like schizophrenia. Increasing blood circulation especially to the brain clears the melancholy and recharges you.
  4. For Healthy Bones: Broccoli contains calcium and vitamin K, both of which are essential for bone health and to prevent osteoporosis. Vitamin K is essential for the proper formation and full activation of the Gla proteins osteocalcin, which when fully carboxylated by vitamin K, allows for the binding of calcium to the bone matrix.
  5. Prevents Cancer: Broccoli has anti carcinogenic properties from phytochemicals, indoles and isothiocyanates that can remove estrogens and fight against breast, bladder, colon, and ovarian cancer.
  6. Fights Heart Disease: Vitamin B6 and folate contained in broccoli offer protection against heart disease and stroke. In addition the abundance of fibers, fatty acids and vitamins help regulate blood pressure and reduces bad LDL cholesterol. Vitamin K also reduces the risk of arterial calcification.
  7. Improves Immunity: Broccoli contains high levels of potent antioxidant vitamin C in addition to phytonutrients and phytochemicals, including sulforaphane, which helps boost the immune system, eradicates toxins and shields against various infections and viral attacks.
  8. For Healthy Vision: Broccoli contains vitamin A, zeaxanthin, and lutein, which prevent age-related degeneration macular degeneration, cataracts and boost retinal health.
  9. Prevents Skin Damage: Broccoli is rich in beta carotene, folates, vitamins B, C and E, which stimulates skin immunity and collagen production. A vital substance in Broccoli, Glucoraphanin, gets converted into sulforaphane that repairs skin damage, reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation and inflammation caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation.
  10. Helps Weight Loss: Presence of soluble and non soluble fibers helps lower cholesterol levels, while increasing satiety and bulking up stools for easy expulsion.
  11. For Hair Growth: Vitamins A, B6 and C stimulate the production of sebum, an oil based secretion that acts as a natural moisturizer and conditioner for scalp and hair whereas calcium strengthens the hair follicles. Nutrients in Broccoli can inhibit dihydrotesterone or DHT which is closely related to hair loss and thinning. Also contains Erucic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid for lustrous shine and hair volume.
  12. Nutrient Powerhouse: Broccoli is a good source of nutrients like soluble/insoluble fiber, vitamin A, B-complex, C, E, beta carotene, folate, omega 3 and 9 fatty acids, and minerals like potassium, magnesium, iron, manganese which are necessary for a healthy body.
  13. Supports Healthy Nervous System: Potassium strengthens your nervous system and assists in smooth functioning of the brain. Broccoli also increases blood circulation in the brain cells.
  14. Detoxifier: Broccoli contains glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiin and glucobrassicin which are special nutrients that help to detoxify the waste components from the body. Insoluble fiber makes its way through the digestive system relatively intact, acting as a sort of sweeping compound and making the stool softer and bulkier.
  15. Prevents Anaemia: Broccoli contains loads of iron and folic acid that help in preventing anaemia.
  16. Anti-Inflammatory: Broccoli is a particularly rich source in a flavonoid called kaempferol, which helps to battle allergies and inflammation.

Use your creative chef skills to cook up quick hearty healthy broccoli dishes. You can toss some steamed broccoli with pasta in olive oil, and add some pine nuts, and spice it up with some salt and pepper. Or Purée cooked broccoli and cauliflower, with some condiments to make a simple, yet delicious, soup. Or add broccoli florets and chopped stalks to omelets. Get cooking or just eat them raw!!!

What Is Broccoli Good For?

Broccoli and Beyond

Botanical name: Brassica

As the leading member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, the word “broccoli” means “branch” or “arm” for the cross-shaped stems, like mini trees bearing the blossoms. Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and kale also are crucifers.

A popular food of the ancient Romans, broccoli once grew wild on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Its use can be traced to 16th century France and England in the 1700s, with commercial growth beginning in the U.S. in the 1920s.

Broccoli has branched out, so to speak, to a number of its closest relatives: Broccoli raab doesn’t have the tree-like “heads” we’re used to, but resembles broccoli florets on long, thin stems. Its cousin, broccoli rapini, has fewer florets and a mustard-like flavor. Broccoflower, a cross between broccoli and cauliflower, is pale green with densely packed heads like cauliflower, but tastes like broccoli. Chinese broccoli has broad, glossy, blue-green leaves with long, crisp, thick stems and a small head. If you run across Broccolini (baby broccoli), it’s a trademarked name for a broccoli and Chinese kale hybrid, with a long, juicy stem topped with tiny florets.

Health Benefits of Broccoli

Eaten raw, broccoli has a number of nutritional elements. It’s important to note that broccoli is best when eaten raw, because cooking and processing destroys some of its antioxidants. It has twice the vitamin C of an orange, almost as much calcium as whole milk (with a better rate of absorption), and contains anti-cancer and anti-viral properties with its selenium content.

Mercola.com offers a number of important articles on the health benefits of broccoli. Here are just a few:


Broccoli Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: One bunch (608 grams) of Broccoli

Amt. Per Serving
Calories 205
Fat 2.2 g
Sodium 201 mg
Carbohydrates 40 g
Dietary Fiber 16 g
Sugar 10 g
Protein 17 g

Studies Done on Broccoli

Eating broccoli and broccoli sprouts may enhance your body’s ability to detoxify after exposure to food- and air-borne carcinogens and oxidants, thanks to the phytochemical sulforaphane, according to a recent study.1

Broccoli is widely studied for its apparent ability to fight and even prevent many different cancers and other ills of the body. However, the bioavailability (ability to be absorbed into the system) of isothiocyanates (a phytochemical, or plant chemicals) from fresh broccoli is approximately three times greater than that of cooked broccoli.2

A study conducted on a group of 10 smokers and 10 nonsmokers ingesting broccoli indicated the importance of consuming cruciferous vegetables to protect cells against DNA damage.3

Broccoli Healthy Recipes: Broccoli Sauce

Broccoli Healthy Recipes

This can be used as a sauce, dressing, or dip.


  • 1 large bunch of fresh broccoli
  • 2 to 4 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. crushed coriander seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • 3 tsp. lemon or lime juice
  • 1 cup water


  1. Place half an inch or less of water into a large saucepan to a boil. Chop the broccoli into large chunks and place into the boiling water, stirring until each chunk is wet, until just tender and still vibrant green.
  2. Transfer broccoli to the bowl of a food processor and add remaining ingredients, processing until pureed.
  3. Return mixture into saucepan and warm over medium heat for about 3 minutes for a thick sauce that can be thinned with water if preferred. Adjust seasonings accordingly. Makes 6 servings.

Broccoli Fun Facts

In “A Treatise on Gardening by a Citizen of Virginia,” penned in 1775, John Randolph described broccoli this way: “The stems will eat like asparagus, and the heads like cauliflower.”


Broccoli doesn’t just taste good. It’s been proven over and over to contain amazing compounds that heal the body and prevent cell damage. While tests indicate that eating it raw is the way to get the most out of it nutritionally, “tender-crisp” cooking to a bright green color still has very good-for-you attributes. This may be why broccoli has been around and all over the world for the last 2,000 years.

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