Broccoli, meaning “cabbage sprout” in Italian, has been growing wild in the Mediterranean regions for hundreds of years. It was first commercially grown in the United States in the 1920s and has been gaining respect ever since as one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. Do you know why broccoli is so good for you? The answer lies in its vibrant green color.
That color comes from potentially cancer-fighting phytochemicals called glucosinolates, sulphorophane, tannins, terpenes, and folic acid. Although many factors affect the development of cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure, eating a diet low in fat and sodium and rich in fruits and vegetables, including broccoli, may reduce the risk of these diseases. Plus, it tastes good! Fresh, crisp broccoli adds a dash of flavor to many dishes and salads—and is even great eaten on its own as a snack.
Broccoli is low in calories, high in vitamin C, and a good source of both folate and vitamin A. Broccoli also contains phytochemicals that may help protect eyesight and prevent cancer.
- The name broccoli comes from the Latin word brachium, which means branch, or arm.
- Broccoli was first grown in the Italian province of Calabria and was given the name Calabrese.
- Broccoli consumption has increased over 940 percent over the last 25 years!
Good-quality broccoli should have fresh-looking, light-green stalks of consistent thickness. The bud clusters should be compact and dark green, and may have some purple tinge.
Store your broccoli in a plastic bag in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer.