James Asks: "Where did broccoli come from?"
Easy... from it's mommy and daddy!
The names comes from the Italian word for cabbage sprout.
It is classified as a cultivar group of the species Brassica oleracea. Broccoli possesses abundant arboreal, flower heads, usually green in color, arranged in a tree-like fashion on branches sprouting from a thick, edible, sturdy, stalk. The mass of flower heads is surrounded by lavish leaves. Broccoli most closely resembles cauliflower, which is a different cultivar group of the same species, but broccoli is green while cauliflower can appear in purple and yellow in addition to the traditional white variety.
In Europe broccoli developed from a wild cabbage plant. Indications show that the vegetable was known in Europe 2,000 years ago. Since the Roman Empire, broccoli has been considered a uniquely valuable food among Italians. Broccoli was first introduced to the United States by these immigrants, but had not become widely known until the 1920s. The first mention of the vegetable in the US was in 1806, when it was given the name green broccoli.
Broccoli is high in vitamins C, K, and A,
as well as dietary fiber; it also contains multiple nutrients with
potent anti-cancer properties, such as diindolylmethane and small
amounts of selenium.
A single serving provides more than 30 mg of Vitamin C and a half-cup provides 52 mg of Vitamin C. The 3,3'-Diindolylmethane found in broccoli is a potent modulator of the innate immune response system with anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer activity. Broccoli also contains the compound glucoraphanin, which can be processed into an anticancer compound sulforaphane, though the benefits of broccoli are greatly reduced if the vegetable is boiled more than ten minutes. A high intake of broccoli has been found to reduce the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Broccoli consumption has also shown that it is beneficial in the prevention of heart disease.
In North America, production is primarily in California. The seasonal average f.o.b. shipping-poit price for cauliflower in 2004 was $33.00 per 100 pounds ($0.73/kg) according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA.
Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family, and is closely related to cauliflower. Its cultivation originated in Italy. Broccolo, its Italian name, means "cabbage sprout." Because of its different components, broccoli provides a range of tastes and textures, from soft and flowery (the floret) to fibrous and crunchy (the stem and stalk). Do not let the smell of the sulfur compounds that are released while cooking keep you away from this highly nutritious vegetable.
Like other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli contains the phytonutrients sulforaphane and the indoles, which have significant anti-cancer effects. Research on indole-3-carbinol shows this compound helps deactivate a potent estrogen metabolite (4-hydroxyestrone) that promotes tumor growth, especially in estrogen-sensitive breast cells, while at the same time increasing the level of 2-hydroxyestrone, a form of estrogen that can be cancer-protective. Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to suppress not only breast tumor cell growth, but also cancer cell metastasis (the movement of cancerous cells to other parts of the body).
Scientists have found that sulforaphane boosts the body's detoxification enzymes, potentially by altering gene expression, thus helping to clear potentially carcinogenic substances more quickly. When researchers at Johns Hopkins studied the effect of sulphoraphane on tumor formation in lab animals, those animals given sulforaphane had fewer tumors, and the tumors they did develop grew more slowly and weighed less, meaning they were smaller.