Hate it or love it the fact is you can’t deny the bounty of benefits that this green vegetable carries with it. It rightfully holds an eminent position among the world’s healthiest foods. Think of any new diet on hand and you will find broccoli a part of it somehow. A diversified vegetable that can be a part of a number of food options from soups to meals to drinks is something you must definitely give a chance to. Let’s see why the world is going gaga over it.
Where Did It Come From And What Are Its Prominent Features?
You may call it a sister or cousin to cauliflower, kale and cabbage as it is also a member of the famous cruciferous family and the plant species is known as Brassica oleracea.
Resembling a miniature tree in shape, it comes in green colour mostly and also in a beautiful purple colour sometimes. Here are the three varieties of broccoli:
- Sprouting Broccoli
- Calabrese Broccoli
- Purple Broccoli
Mostly eaten raw, you will see broccoli as part of some dish in every part of the world for sure. Often disliked by some people it is in fact a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals.
An Amazing Nutrition Profile:
You will fall in love with broccoli all over again when you look at the amazing nutrition profile. A single serving of broccoli is one cup but it packs way more nutrients for a cup of it. Here, have a look:
- Total Calories: 30 kcals
- Protein: 2.5g
- Carbohydrates: 6g
- Fibre: 2.5g
- Fat: 0.3g
- Vitamin K: 116% of RDI
- Vitamin A: 11% of RDI
- Vitamin C: 135% of RDI
- Vitamin B9: 14% of RDI
- Phosphorous: 6% of RDI
- Potassium: 8% of RDI
- Selenium: 3% of RDI
What are the Benefits of Broccoli?
You must have read the debate on whether it is a superfood or not, but we are not doing any of that as there is something more important to focus here and that is the plethora of benefits it carries. We are going to give you a detailed information of all the benefits on this space today. So, hold on tight:
- Packed with Antioxidants: One can never get enough of antioxidants. Is there anything like too much antioxidants? We don’t think so. The antioxidants in broccoli play a great role in its popularity. One of the top compounds that this contains is glucoraphanin which gets converted to sulforaphane that is a top antioxidant aiding in digestion. Moreover, sulforaphane also aids in reducing cholesterol levels, blood sugar level, oxidative stress which in return saves from diseases. Lutein and zeaxanthin which improve eye health to a great deal are also a potent part of it.
- Prevention of Cancer: Just like its other family members, broccoli is equipped with cancer prevention power. Researches have proved that broccoli is highly helpful in preventing breast cancer as well as uterus cancer as it depletes estrogen in the body which is often the cancer-causing agent. As per a recent study, it was proved that broccoli and dark leafy vegetables hen consumed release secondary plant products that have anti-cancer role. How this happens? Broccoli contains certain compounds that have the power to neutralize carcinogens as well as to stop the growth and spread of preventing cancer. So far, it has shown promising results in protecting against certain types of cancer like prostate, gastric, renal, and colorectal and bladder cancer. But there is more research required in the area.
- Reduction of Inflammation: As it is established that broccoli contains antioxidants and it is a no brainer that antioxidants prevent cell damage in addition to oxidative damage which are both responsible for causing inflammation. A study from Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says that women who tend to eat more cruciferous vegetables including broccoli have lower levels of inflammation in the blood. A study was carried out where smokers consumed broccoli for few days and there was seen a clear drop in the inflammation in their blood caused by smoking.
- Reduction of Blood Sugar: Broccoli has shown a supportive role in controlling blood sugar in people with diabetes. A study was carried out in which all the participants had type 2 diabetes consumed broccoli sprouts for one month. The results showed decrease insulin sensitivity. The exact mechanism is unknown but researchers believe it could be high antioxidant content or the higher amount of fibre in broccoli.
- Anti-Ageing: This may grab your attention more than the rest. As broccoli comes naturally packed with Vitamin C and antioxidants, it is a great anti-ageing food as it gives you a healthy skin by reducing wrinkles, fine lines, pigmentation and even acne. Before you rush to supermarket to grab your broccoli, there is more to it. Read up!
- Healthy Eyes: When was the last time you ate something that is for your eyes only? Well, now you know one thing. Beta-carotene, phosphorous, vitamin A, vitamin C, Vitamin E and Vitamin B complex present in broccoli and all of them play a role in protecting eyes against cataract, muscle degeneration and repairs damage by constant exposure to screens.
- Heart Healthy: Being rich in fibre, this cruciferous vegetable is quite heart friendly and has also shown to reverse the inflammation in the blood vessels. Moreover, regular consumption of it reduces cholesterol in the blood as well. Broccoli also contains vitamins, fatty acids as well as vitamins that help keep the blood pressure in control.
With no serious side effect in view, broccoli is a great add-on to your diet and regular consumption of this heathy and nutrient dense vegetable will impart great health benefits on your body. The best part is you can consume it in both raw and cooked form. This is a kind of ingredient you can play around in recipes in a lot of ways. Add it to a soup, bake it, grill it or even add it to your daily green drink and experience the benefits yourself!
Black rice have been researched over by scientists all over thee world owing to their immense benefits. But they are not something new in fact centuries old. If you don’t know about them, now is the perfect time to increase your knowledge. You will be awe struck and would want to get your hands on them ASAP!
Let’s not wait any further and get started with our black rice details.
What are these and Where they came from?
This type of rice belongs to Oryza sativa L. species. They have been a part of Asian cuisine for almost 6000 to 7000 years. Nowadays they are being cultivated in the tropical areas of China, Myanmar, Japan and North East India. There are two varieties that are quite popular:
- Thai Jasmine black rice
- Indonesian black rice
The signature purplish black hue of these aesthetically pleasing black rice is due to the pigment present in them known as “anthocyanin” that has its own importance in the food world- all thanks to its antioxidant properties.
They are called by other names like purple rice or forbidden rice. There is a story why they have been called forbidden since the ancient times and we would love to tell you that. Consuming black rice was a common practice in ancient china owing to the healthy effects they imparted on human body. When members of Chinese royal family got to know of them, they seized every grain in the country and from that time on these magical black rice were only reserved only for the noble and royals in the country. Hence, the term “forbidden rice” was coined as these were reserved only for the elite and were cultivated in a very limited quantity. With the time they made way to other parts of the world too and reached US in 1995. Since then there has been no way back for them.
They have been grabbing quite the limelight until recently owing to their immense benefits and have been considered a safe and healthier alterative to the white rice. Apart from nutrition one of the reasons of their popularity is their rich taste which is mild and nutty and chewy texture; both of which make favourable options to include in recipes.
Nutrition Profile of Black Rice:
A quarter cup of black rice makes one serving. Get ready to be blown away by the nutritional profile. Here it is:
- Calories: 160kcals
- Protein: 5g
- Fibre: 3g
- Fat: 2g
- Potassium: 268 g
- Sodium: 4mg
- Iron: 6% of DV
Moreover, black rice carry with them 18 amino acids along with minerals like copper, zinc, iron and vitamins like carotene. If you are looking for something less caloric but high in protein, what’s better than this macronutrient dense food?
Benefits of Black Rice:
Thankfully we live in a world where there are no restrictions on the food items like these. But the behaviour of ancient Chinese royals left no doubt left in the benefits of these magical rice variety. It is now the need of the hour to bring forward these benefits to the world. Here, have a look:
- Rich in Anthocyanins/Antioxidants: As affirmed by the colour, black rice are rich in anthocyanins and in return antioxidants. In fact, the anthocyanin content of black rice is greater than any other rice variety. The more the anthocyanin, higher is the antioxidant content just like in blueberries, cranberries and raspberries. The antioxidant content is mostly present in the bran hull and it is more than any other food. The antioxidants coming from anthocyanins have immense health benefits like protecting against cardiovascular disease, reduction of inflammation, increasing brain function and protection against cancer.
Antioxidants protect against cell damage done by the oxidative stress that is caused by free radicals in the body. Protection against oxidative stress is crucial for protection against several chronic conditions. Black rice contain as much as 23 antioxidants in total including flavonoids and carotenoids. Is there anything left?
- Boosting Heart Health: The antioxidants present in black rice have been shown to boost heart health. As proved by the study, the flavonoids in black rice are linked with alleviated risk of heart disease as well as decreased mortality rates from the disease. A research also showed that anthocyanins improve the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides levels in humans. As part of study, participants took 80mg anthocyanins capsule a day for three months and results showed an increase in HDL (good fats) and decrease in LDL (bad fats).
- Improved Eye Health: As black rice are a powerhouse of carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin are jewels in the crown of carotenoids. Both of these play the role of antioxidants and protect the eye from damage against free radicals. Moreover, studies have showed that they also protect the retina of the eye as they tend to filter out the highly damaging blue light waves. These antioxidants also protect the eye from age related muscular degeneration that is quite prevalent these days.
- Gluten Free: A type of protein that is present in almost all cereal grains like wheat rye and barley. People who have celiac disease cannot consume these grains or any food that contains even traces of gluten containing cereals. The struggle to get the gluten free foods is real. For people suffering from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, black rice is a gift of nature as it is naturally gluten free.
- Weight Loss: As black rice are rich in fibre and protein, they are a perfect option to include in meals for those who are looking for shedding some weight. Fibre keeps you fuller for longer periods of time thus aiding in weight loss. Moreover, if you are looking to build up muscle mass, you can’t find a better option on block than these magical rice.
Do not wait any further and include these not anymore forbidden rice in to your diet today. They are easy to cook, taste great and are easily available. Get signs from the history as there was a profound reason why black rice were reserved for the elites only!