Does Broccoli Have Protein

From sturdy stalk to bushy, flowery top, broccoli has been called a 'superfood' and rightfully so. Readily available year-round, this cousin of the cauliflower is chock-full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and even protein. Just one cup of the chopped, raw vegetable provides 135 percent of the recommended daily nutritional value for vitamin C.

The ABCs of broccoli's nutritional benefits

Some of the predominant nutrients of broccoli include:

  • Vitamin A-essential for immune function, vision health, reproduction, cell growth and vital to the formation and health of the heart, lungs, kidneys and other organs.
  • B vitamins (Folate and B6)-helps prevent heart disease and some birth defects when taken during pregnancy.
  • Calcium-builds and maintains strong bones; also helps your blood clot and maintain your heart's rhythm.
  • Carbohydrates-necessary for your body to make glucose, the fuel that gives you energy and helps keep body functions going.
  • Vitamin C-protects against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems and eye disease.
  • Fiber-vital for digestive health, acting as a scrub brush for the digestive tract; also helps maintain a healthy weight and lowers your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
  • Vitamin K-vital for blood clotting. A one-cup serving of broccoli delivers 116 percent of the recommended daily nutritional value for this essential vitamin. People who take the anticoagulant drug Coumadin are advised not to eat broccoli.
  • Magnesium-a mineral that keeps blood pressure normal, bones strong and your heart rhythm steady.
  • Manganese-a mineral that helps the processing of cholesterol, carbohydrates and protein.
  • Phosphorus-a mineral that aids in the formation of bones and teeth.
  • Potassium-a vital mineral for building proteins, breaking down and using carbohydrates, and building muscle and which is essential to controlling the electrical activity of your heart.
  • Protein-essential for building muscle, protein is used as the "building blocks" of the body. Although meats, dairy, fish, poultry, eggs, beans and legumes are better sources of protein, a cup of raw, chopped broccoli does contain 3 grams of protein. For vegan or vegetarian diets, combining broccoli with other complementary sources of protein can yield a complete protein profile. Try making a stir-fry meal by sauteing broccoli florets with other favorite vegetables in a little olive or vegetable oil and serve with tofu or beans over brown rice.

Broccoli as aid in disease prevention

Although no one food is a medicine or vaccine against disease, good nutrition definitely plays an important part in maintaining good health, and some foods are better at it than others. When it comes to disease prevention, the nutritional make up of broccoli has been linked to preventing and controlling such conditions as Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, calcium deficiency, stomach, rectum and colon cancer, heart disease, arthritis, some malignant tumors and lung cancer, especially in people younger than age 65 with a history of smoking.

Tasty ways to eat broccoli

You may agree that broccoli should be an important part of a healthy diet-it only has 31 calories per cup-but it may not be not high on your yummy foods list. Try adding some raw broccoli to a salad filled with vegetables that you do like. Likewise, stir-fry with a sweeter vegetable like carrots. Steam and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and eat with noodles or rice. Don't overcook it by boiling or all the nutrients will leach out.

You may be surprised and actually develop a liking for it.

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