Broccoli, part of the Brassica family, is considered a cruciferous vegetable. Along with cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and kale, broccoli is known for its high concentration of sulforaphane, a sulfur-containing compound that prevents free radicals from breaking down the body and which protects against premature- aging and degenerative disease. A nutritional powerhouse, broccoli is rich in vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and phytonutrients. Broccoli is most nutritious eaten raw. If you cook it, the cooking method will determine how much of the broccoli's nutrient content is maintained.
Why Steaming is Best
Increasing the amount of vegetables you consume each day is important; however, it is also a good idea to maximize the nutritional value of those vegetables. The application of excessive water and too much heat can actually cause vegetables, such as broccoli, to lose their vitamin, mineral and phytonutrient content, says registered dietician Karen Collins. The remedy is to cook vegetables quickly in a small amount of water. Therefore, one of the best methods to cook vegetables like broccoli is to steam them.