Can you eat raw broccoli
In this blog, I will answer the question: “can you eat raw broccoli” and I will list the benefits of this vegetable and how to eat it as part of a healthy diet.
Can you eat raw broccoli?
Broccoli can be eaten raw or cooked, and both are healthy options with different nutrient profiles.
The nutrient loss depends on the heat treatment. The glucosinolates identified in broccoli significantly lower by 55% in stir-fried cooking, 54% when boiled in water followed by frying, 60% cooked in microwave, and 41% boiled in water. However, the total aliphatic glucosinolates concentration remains almost the same in steamed broccoli. The greatest vitamin C loss in broccoli takes place after boiling in water and then being fried (38%), and after boiling in water (33%). Fried and microwaved broccoli have losses of 24 and 16%, respectively. When broccoli is steamed, no significant differences are found compared with the raw sample (2).
Storage can also influence vitamin C concentrations, as well as drying and freezing. Broccoli florets stored in open ambient conditions (15 °C) undergo greater vitamin C losses, while after 57 days freezing storage resulted in 51% of loss in the vitamin C content (2).
The nutritional retention of raw broccoli versus cooked broccoli differs:
- Raw broccoli contains 37% more accessible sulforaphane than cooked broccoli (3,4 %). Sulforaphane is an antioxidant and anti-aging phytochemical.
- Cooking broccoli increases its antioxidant activity, but it also reduces the concentration of heat-sensitive components like vitamin C and sulforaphane.
Depending on the heating method, broccoli loses about 27% chlorophyll, 30% vitamin C, and 55% glucosinolates. Steaming, unlike boiling and stir-frying, does not drastically lower the number of nutrients.
So when it comes to preparing broccoli, steaming appears to offer the best nutritional profile when compared to other cooking techniques.
Why is broccoli considered as a superfood?
Broccoli belongs to the cruciferous family, which has been attributed to cancer prevention, because they contain glucosinolates, the metabolic breakdown products of which are potent modulators of xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes that protect DNA from damage. All characterized glycosides share a similar basic structure consisting of a B-d-thioglucose group, a sulphonated oxime group and a side chain derived from methionine, phenylalanine, tryptophan or branched-chain amino acids. Their metabolite breakdown products function as antioxidants in cell modulations (1). Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, etc.) should be consumed on a daily basis . Broccoli also has plenty of vitamins and minerals.
Here are some of the benefits of broccoli:
- It prevents cancer: broccoli has been shown to help prevent cancers such as prostate, bladder, colon, breast, and ovarian cancers. According to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, broccoli is the greatest food for avoiding colon cancer.
This anti-cancer effect, according to the American Cancer Society, may be due to the phytochemicals in broccoli that boost detoxifying enzymes. The metabolites derived from glycosides, such as sulforaphanes and isothiocyanates may be responsible for selective induction of apoptosis in cancer cells (1).
- It promotes clear vision: Lutein and zeaxanthin, two compounds related to vitamin A found in the dark green pigments of broccoli, are also found in eyes. People who ate diets high in lutein and zeaxanthin were less likely to develop macular degeneration, according to previous research.
- It maintains cardiovascular health: Broccoli is good for your heart because it includes fiber, fatty acids, and vitamins that help the body regulate blood pressure. This also aids in the reduction of bad cholesterol, resulting in a healthy heart. Broccoli also helps to protect blood vessels from damage. Vitamin C also plays an important role by preventing cardiovascular disease and also for stimulating the immune system (2).
- It is an anti-aging food: Broccoli is high in vitamin C, which has several antioxidant qualities, making it an excellent anti-aging food. This is because antioxidants aid in the fight against aging-causing free radicals. These free radicals frequently cause skin damage. Antioxidants will neutralize the action of these radicals and their mechanism of action, which range from oxygen scavengers to the rapid release of hydrogen to free radicals by interfering with DNA oxidation and other molecules to, thus, avoid oxidative stress (2). Broccoli can help reduce wrinkles, acne, and even pigmentation by eating it on a daily basis.
- It promotes bone health: Both calcium and vitamin K are vital for bone health and osteoporosis prevention, and both are abundant in broccoli. Vitamin K (phylloquinone) is a fat-soluble vitamin that functions as a coenzyme and is involved in blood clotting and bone metabolism, and broccoli contain >100g phylloquinone/100 g vegetable, either raw or cooked (1).
- Other elements found in broccoli include magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus, in addition to calcium. Broccoli is an excellent food for children, the elderly, and nursing moms because of these qualities.
How to eat broccoli?
Broccoli is a healthful and tasty vegetable that may be prepared in a variety of ways:
- Raw Broccoli: To get the most nutrition from it, eat it raw, with a dip, or in a salad. It can be much more delightful with the addition of homemade sauces, olive oil, dressings, or creams.
- Steamed Broccoli: Because it’s a quick method and minerals and vitamins aren’t lost in the cooking water, steaming may be one of the healthiest ways to prepare broccoli. Steamed broccoli is bright, crisp, and tender, and can be eaten as a side dish or used in pasta and salads. Just make sure you don’t overcook it.
Here are the steps to prepare steamed broccoli:
- Wash it, dry it and trim it
- Fill a pot halfway with water and place a steamer basket inside
- Over medium-high heat, bring the water to a simmer
- Cover and steam until the broccoli is soft, about 4-5 minutes
- Stir-Fry or Sauté Broccoli: Broccoli responds nicely to fast-cooking methods such as sautéing or stir-frying.
In a frying pan or wok, heat a little oil over high heat, then add cut broccoli florets and peeled, sliced rings of broccoli stems, toss the slice and cook for 4 to 5 minutes.
- Roasted broccoli: it is full of flavor. It’s also delicious as a side dish or in salads.
This is how to bake broccoli:
- Cut the broccoli and toss it with olive oil and a touch of salt
- Put it in a single layer on a baking tray that has been preheated to 400. Broccoli should be soft and a touch browned around the edges after roasting.
Other FAQs about Broccoli that you may be interested in.
In this paper, I answered the question: “Can you eat raw broccoli?”, and I listed the numerous health benefits of this vegetable and how to eat it as part of a balanced-diet.
- Moreno, Diego A., et al. Chemical and biological characterisation of nutraceutical compounds of broccoli. J pharmaceu biom anal, 2996, 41, 1508-1522.
- Soares, A., Carrascosa, C. & Raposo, A. Influence of Different Cooking Methods on the Concentration of Glucosinolates and Vitamin C in Broccoli. Food Bioprocess Technol 10, 1387–1411 (2017).