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#For Information only

Broccoli is an edible green plant in the cabbage family whose large flowering head is eaten as a vegetable. The word broccoli comes from the Italian plural of broccolo, which means "the flowering crest of a cabbage", and is the diminutive form of brocco, meaning "small nail" or "sprout".

Broccoli is an ideal plant for raised bed gardens. It thrives in consistently moist, rich soil, doesn't require any special care or attention and is very productive.

Broccoli is a cool weather crop. For best results, the plants should reach maturity either before or after hot weather sets in.
For an early summer crop, get your broccoli off to a fast start by planting seedlings rather than seeds. Start the seeds indoors under lights and put the plants into the garden about four weeks before the last spring frost.

For a fall broccoli crop, young plants should be transplanted into the garden in late summer, six weeks before the first frost.

You'll probably need to start your own fall broccoli plants from seed, because it's unusual to find them for sale at garden centers; you can plant the seeds directly in the ground or in small pots.

Each broccoli plant will produce one large head in the center of the plant, and then produce edible side shoots for months afterwards.

The central head is ready to harvest when it looks fully formed and the buds are still tight and dark green. Flavor and quality is best when the heads are compact.

If you wait too long, the buds will start to open and turn yellow, and the flavor will become bitter.

To harvest the central head, use a sharp knife and cut the stem carefully, preferably at an angle, several inches below the crown.

A week or two later, the plant will begin sending up smaller heads from the sides of the center stem. If you harvest these side shoots when the buds are still tight and green, they will be just as tasty as the first full-size head.

Keep harvesting several times each week and the plant will usually keep producing for several months. At the end of the season when there is little else to harvest from the garden, you can eat some of the young broccoli leaves by steaming them like cabbage or kale.

To protect broccoli seedlings from flea beetles and cabbageworm, cover the plants with row cover (garden fabric) for the first few weeks that they're in the garden.

Extreme cold or heat can cause broccoli to "button" which means the central head doesn't develop properly, and instead forms a small, bitter knob.

If this happens, cut off the deformed central head and in most cases the plant will still produce a good crop of side shoots.

Plant breeders have developed broccoli varieties that are specifically suited to spring or fall growing conditions. Some varieties are also better at producing side shoots than others.

If you grow your own broccoli from seed, you can seek out these special varieties.

Broccoli Nutrition
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Nutrition Facts. Raw broccoli contains almost 90% water, 7% carbs and 3% protein, and almost no fat.  

Broccoli is very low in calories, providing only 31 calories per cup. The table below contains information on all the main nutrients in broccoli.

Similar to other vegetables, broccoli is high in water and low in calories. So you can eat about as much as you want and keep your calorie count in check. For example, 1 cup of chopped broccoli has about 31 calories, 81 grams (g) of water, and 2.4 g of fiber.

Broccoli is also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. The same 1 cup of chopped broccoli contains about 43 milligrams (mg) of calcium (4.3 percent of the recommended daily value, or DV), 288 mg of potassium (6.1 percent DV), 81 mg of vitamin C (90 percent DV for men and more than 100 percent DV for women), 92 micrograms of vitamin K (115 percent DV), and 567 international units of vitamin A (about 11 percent DV

The vegetable also contains a small amount of other vitamins, including thiamine, riboflavin, folate, vitamin E, and vitamin B6.

Get the Benefits of This Anti-Inflammatory Superfood

Get a boost of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant sulforaphane from BROC SPROUT 2, a natural supplement made with young broccoli sprouts.

Everyday Health may earn a portion of revenue from purchasing this product. Now that you know the nutritional rewards of broccoli, let’s see how these nutrients, vitamins, and minerals can help benefit your body.

1. Helps Fight Cancer
Cancer occurs when malignant cells develop and spread throughout the body. While modern medicine helps kill cancerous cells, don’t underestimate the cancer-fighting potential of broccoli.

This vegetable may help reduce your risk of certain cancers, like lung cancer, stomach cancer, and colon cancer. This is due to a compound in broccoli called isothiocyanates, which helps decrease inflammation. Chronic inflammation can cause changes to your DNA and increase the risk for cancer.

2. Strengthens Your Bones
Vitamin K helps your body absorb calcium, and a deficiency increases the risk of bone fractures. Due to the high amount of vitamin K in broccoli, eating more of this vegetable can strengthen your bones. Broccoli also contains calcium, which is another essential nutrient for strong bones and teeth.

3. Reduces Cholesterol
Your doctor may recommend medication if you’ve been struggling to lower your blood cholesterol. But given the number of possible drug side effects, you might look for natural ways to remedy this problem.

Broccoli is especially rich in soluble fiber, the type of fiber that research suggests is most effective for reducing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
Since a healthy cholesterol level reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure, broccoli can also contribute to heart health.

4. Improves Immunity
Ever wonder how some people can go through cold and flu season without a sneeze? The secret might be a stronger immune system and their ability to fight off illnesses.

If you’re looking to strengthen your immune system, broccoli is the vegetable for the job. The vitamin C in this flowering plant may give your body the boost it needs to fight off infections. As a bonus, vitamin C helps detoxify the body and removes free radicals that can lead to arthritis, wrinkles, and age-related macular degeneration. (13,14,15)

5. Helps With Weight Loss
Broccoli is also an excellent food for weight loss. Along with being low in calories, this fiber-rich food can help you stay full longer and may curb overeating. It can also improve digestion and help relieve constipation.

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