What is broccoli?
Broccoli is a branched, green vegetable with either purple or more commonly green flower buds. It belongs to the brassica family, along with cauliflower, cabbage and kale, and can be eaten raw or cooked.
Discover our full range of health benefit guides and find out more about the health credentials of other green vegetables. Or, check out some of our best broccoli recipes, from mains like quinoa, squash and broccoli salad, to new twists on a side such as broccoli with garlic and lemon.
Nutritional benefits of broccoli
An 80g portion broccoli (boiled) provides:
- 22 kcals/96KJ
- 2.6g protein
- 0.4g fat
- 2.2g carbohydrates
- 2.2g fibre
- 478mcg carotene
- 35mg vitamin C
An 80g portion (about two spears) count as one of your five-a-day. Take a look at our printable infographic to discover what counts as five-a-day.
Top 5 health benefits of broccoli
1. Good for heart health
2. Contains cancer protective compounds
3. May be good for eye health
4. May support hormonal balance
5. May support the immune system
Is broccoli safe for everyone?
For most of us, broccoli is a healthy option. However, if you have a thyroid issue you may be advised to minimise the amount of brassica vegetables you eat. This is because these vegetables may interfere with the absorption of iodine which is needed for the production of thyroid hormones. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that you would need to eat a reasonable amount and on a consistent basis for this to be an issue.
Broccoli is a high-fibre food, which for most of us is highly beneficial – it supports the digestive process and provides a fuel source for the healthy bacteria which reside in our gut. However, for some people, high-fibre foods may cause bloating and gas, this is especially relevant for those with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
If you are on blood thinning medication such as warfarin, your GP or dietitian may suggest you monitor the vitamin K foods, like broccoli, in your diet to ensure you eat similar amounts consistently. If in doubt, consult your GP before making any significant changes to what and how much you eat.
Healthy broccoli recipes
Steak & broccoli protein pots
Sesame salmon, purple sprouting broccoli & sweet potato mash
Poached eggs with broccoli, tomatoes & wholemeal flatbread
Wholewheat pasta with broccoli & almonds
Stir-fried chicken with broccoli & brown rice
Enjoyed this? Now try…
This article was reviewed on 13 September by Kerry Torrens.
Nicola Shubrook is a nutritional therapist and works with both private clients and the corporate sector. She is an accredited member of the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) and the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). Find out more at urbanwellness.co.uk.
Kerry Torrens is a qualified Nutritionist (MBANT) with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.
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