by Philemon kwizera, RN

Broccoli is one of the world’s most important vegetables. In Africa it is particularly popular especially in urban areas, Broccoli is a branched, green vegetable with either purple or more commonly green flower buds. It belongs to the cruciferous family, along with cauliflower, cabbage and kale and it can be eaten raw or cooked, with just 80 g  counting as one of your five-a-day

One cup of raw broccoli contains:
• 25 calories, 5 grams of carbohydrate, no fat, and a few grams of plant protein.
• One cup cooked provides nearly 250% of the daily target for vitamin K,
• It also provides 135% of the daily goal for immune- and collagen-supporting vitamin C,
• Over 50% of the daily target for chromium,
• Over 40% for folate, a vitamin linked to memory and mood.
• A cup of cooked broccoli also supplies over 10% of the daily need for vitamins A, B6, B2, and E, as well as phosphorus, choline, manganese, copper, and potassium, and at least 5% for magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium, and selenium.
• Broccoli also contains plant-based omega-3 fatty acids called alpha-linolenic acid, or ALAs, which are linked to anti-inflammation and improved circulation.
Broccoli is high in fiber 
The 2-3 grams of fiber per cup of raw broccoli maintains bowel regularity, lowers cholesterol level, and feeds beneficial bacteria in the gut tied to anti-inflammation, immunity, and mood
Broccoli is good for heart health
Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in both men and women in the Africa. Broccoli, protect the heart by reducing the damage to arteries that leads to hardening by reducing the total amount of cholesterol in the body, which is often a precursor to a heart attack or stroke.
Nutrient Content May Support a Healthy Pregnancy
Your body requires a multitude of vitamins, minerals and protein during pregnancy to support both baby and mother. Broccoli is a good source of B vitamins especially Folate is an essential nutrient for the development of the fetal brain and spinal cord.
Broccoli can help prevent cancer
Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous veggie family, The isothicyanate in broccoli is a potentially anticarcinogenic phytochemical believed to reduce cell damage caused by certain chronic diseases, thanks to their ability to neutralize carcinogens and prevent cancer cells from growing and spreading.
May Promote Healthy Bones and Joints
Many of the nutrients found in broccoli include vitamin K, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium, in addition to copper, iron, zinc, vitamins A and C, and B vitamins are known to support healthy bones and may prevent bone-related disorders.
It fights inflammation
The inflammation fighting compounds such as Kaempferol, a flavonoid in broccoli, demonstrates strong anti-inflammatory capacity which protect cells from DNA damage.

Therefore, broccoli is packed with energy-producing carbohydrate, as well as fiber, a carbohydrate with no calories, but lots of health benefits. Broccoli also supplies numerous vitamins and minerals in healthy doses, including calcium, potassium, folate, and carotenoids that foster peak eyesight, ward off cell damage, and serve as the raw material for vitamin A production in the body.

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