Broccoli: Is It Healthier Raw or Cooked?

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Broccoli nutrition facts - Raw or cooked?

Broccoli nutrition facts – Raw or cooked?

Broccoli belongs to the cruciferous vegetables and is really a healthy food.

Actually, we eat a lot of it at home because my boys are real broccoli-addicts! When I come back home with fresh broccoli, my 3-year old makes a little dance; he’s super happy!

But is it better cooked or raw? Here are some nutrition facts that will show you that raw food is not always the way to go.

Broccoli has been shown by research to contain a lot of nutrients that have been proven effective to prevent breast, lung, colorectal and prostate cancers, as well as heart disease and other serious conditions.

Broccoli contains very high amounts of vitamin C and vitamin K, as well as B vitamins, vitamin E, beta-carotene, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.

The main anti-carcinogenic nutrients in broccoli are sulforaphane and indo-3-carbinols. These substances are able to detoxify some carcinogenic substances, to stop the growth of cancer cell, and to boost DNA repair in cells, including in prostate cancer, as was shown in studies conducted in 2009.

Here are the nutrient contents of 3 different types of broccoli: raw, fresh and cooked (boiled), and frozen and cooked.

broccoli-nutrition-facts

You can see that the boiled fresh broccoli contains more vitamins and minerals than the other 2. Which means that eating raw broccoli doesn’t make it more nutritious, except for the vitamin C. In fact, this vitamin is very sensitive to heat, and is usually partially destroyed in  cooking. But you can also see that vitamin C is still present in boiled fresh broccoli.

Now, is raw broccoli good for you?

You need to know that broccoli contains some anti-nutrients such as goitrogens, as well as a small amount of oxalic acid, which are neutralized by cooking. Goitrogens are basically having negative effect on the thyroid gland.

So, raw broccoli is not particularly good for you, given that it contains anti-nutrients and that most of its vitamins are actually enhanced by cooking.

Now, we’ve talked about vitamins and minerals, but what about the anti-carcinogenic nutrients in broccoli?

Boiling reduces the levels of anti-cancer substances, with 50% loss after 10 minutes, and about 25% loss after 5 minutes. So, boiling broccoli is not a good idea.

A 2009 study showed that “all cooking treatments, except steaming, caused significant losses of chlorophyll and vitamin C and significant decreases of total soluble proteins and soluble sugars”.

In plain English, this means that the best cooking method for broccoli is steaming.

I recommend steaming broccoli for about 5 minutes, as this will keep it a little crispy, you’ll get a great flavor, and you’ll keep healthy nutrients intact.

And if you want recipe ideas with broccoli, visit my Broccoli Recipes page here.

My Healthy Eating Blueprint members have access to my best and healthiest recipes, as well as a great Cooking Guide. To become a member, make sure you register here.

Sources:
Cooked broccoli nutrition facts – http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2357/2
Raw broccoli nutrition facts – http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2356/2
Effects of different cooking methods on health-promoting compounds of broccoli – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2722699/
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