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The nutritional value and chemical properties of broccoli

Updated on March 30, 2017

Broccoli is a plant of the Kale family Brassicaceae, it is usually boiled or steamed, but may be eaten raw and has become popular as a raw vegetable in hor d’œuvre trays. Boiling reduces the levels of suspected anti-cancer compounds with loses of 20-30% after five minutes, 40-50% after ten minutes, 77% after thirty minutes. However, other preparation methods such as steaming, microwaving, and stir frying had no significant effect on the compounds. Steaming broccoli for 3-4 minutes is recommended to maximize potential anti-cancer compounds.

Broccoli is high in Vitamin C, as well as dietary fibre; it also contains nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties, such as 3, 3’-Diindolylmethane which is a potent modulator of the innate immune response system with anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer activity, and small amounts of selenium.

A single serving provides more than 30mg of vitamin C. A high intake of broccoli has been found to reduce the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Broccoli sprouts extracts inhibit cancer cells in human colon, and can induce apoptosisell cycle arrest in human bladder cancer cells.

Broccoli also contains an anti-cancer, photochemical called glucoraphanin, which is the glucosinolate precursor of sulforaphane. When chewed, broccoli releases glucoraphanin and myrosinase, an enzyme, which work together to produce sulforaphane, which in turn stimulates the body’s immune system to deactivate free radicals. It is also an excellent source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.

These detoxification enzymes trigger ongoing antioxidant action for at least 72 hours. As a result, the indirect antioxidant activity of sulforaphane lasts significantly longer than that of direct antioxidants such as vitamin C, E and beta carotene. The highest concentration of sulforaphane is found in the seed. And it works as a potent catalyst to boost phase 2 enzymes in the body which improves cardiovascular health by decreasing inflammation, heart, artery and kidney function and may help reverse the damaging effects of diabetes-linked vascular diseases. It also reduces H.pyroli infection which causes stomach ulcers and boost chemoprevention against gastric cancer.

The chemoprotective agents that enhance detoxification (neutralization) of carcinogens from the human body leading to a reduction in cancer risk, might be useful among people exposed to tobacco carcinogens, including current smokers,ex-smokers or those exposed to second – hand smoke.

Nutritional value per 100g (3.5 oz)


141kj (34kcal)

Vitamin A equivalent

31µg (3%)




361 µg (3%)



-lutein and zeaxanthin

1121 µg

Dietary fibre



0.071 mg (5%)



Riboflavin (Vit.B2)

0.117 mg (8%)



Niacin (Vit.B3)

0.639 mg (4%)



Pantothenic acid (B5)

0.573mg (11%)

Vitamin C

89.2mg (149%)

Vitamin B6

0.175mg (13%)

Vitamin E

0.78mg (5%)

Folate (Vit.B9)

63 µg (16%)


47mg (5%)


21mg (6%)


0.73mg (6%)


66mg (9%)


0.41mg (4%)


316mg (7%)


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