Is Broccolini Nutritious? Here’s What the Science Says

Is Broccolini Nutritious? Here’s What the Science Says

Broccolini is an important cruciferous vegetable. It is very similar to broccoli. It has a delicate texture – even more tender than broccoli, and many people love it for this. It is easy to prepare and enjoyed even by the pickiest eaters.

But what is broccolini? What makes it more memorable than traditional broccoli?

We’ll explore the nutritional value of this vegetable and highlight its significant health benefits.


What is broccolini?

The botanical name for broccolini is Brassica oleracea var. botrytis. It belongs to the Brassicaceae family. Other family members include cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale.

Broccolini is sometimes called baby broccoli by marketers and some restauranteurs. However, baby broccolini is a wrong description because it differs from conventional broccoli in many ways.

I’d say that broccolini is a new veggie, created as a cross between the Chinese kale and broccoli in the 1990s (1).


What’s the difference between broccolini and broccoli?

Both vegetables are similar. If you like one of these, you’ll be okay with the other. Both vegetables are green and have a long stem. There are bunches of florets at the ends.

Broccoli is firmer and has a thick stalk. It has a densely packed floret as well. On the other hand, broccoli has a thin, more delicate stem with looser florets. The florets of broccolini resemble leaves.

This means that you’ll find it easier to eat broccolini stems than broccoli stems. This is because broccoli stems are more rigid and harder to eat and digest. And you also don’t have to peel the stems of broccolini before preparing them.

The texture of this vegetable is similar to that of asparagus. However, it has a sweeter and milder flavor and cooks faster than broccoli.


Nutritional facts about broccolini

Broccolini has a similar nutritional component to broccoli.

3.5 ounces of raw broccolini (that’s about 100 grams) contain (2):

  • 35 calories
  • 6 grams of carbs
  • 5 grams of protein
  • 0 grams of fat
  • 5 grams of fiber
  • 4% of the daily value (DV) of calcium
  • 7% of the DV of iron
  • 6% of the DV of potassium

So, as seen, this cruciferous vegetable is low in calories but very high in fiber. It provides a decent amount of protein as well.

It contains several micronutrients, including iron and calcium. It also provides several vitamins (2).


Health benefits

Broccolini contains a wide range of micronutrients that may provide many health benefits. The health benefits are attributed to sulforaphane and other sulfur-rich compounds.


1.      Broccolini contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds

Vegetables of the Brassicaceae family are known to be high in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds, such as carotenoids. Carotenoids are plants’ orange, yellow, and red pigments (3, 4).

Antioxidants protect your body from the damages caused by oxidative stress. However, oxidative stress can lead to many diseases, and most stem from chronic inflammation (5).


2.     It has anticancer potential

The vegetables of the Brassica family provide many antioxidants, and these antioxidants may have anticancer properties (4).

For instance, a review of case-controlled studies showed that eating a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables protected against some types of cancers (6).

Daily consumption of cruciferous vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of death (7).

What’s more, the sulforaphane in this vegetable has antioxidant-like properties that inhibit cancer cells’ growth (8, 9, 10).


3.     Broccolini may boost heart health

A study found that eating cruciferous vegetables protected the arteries against blockage by plaques. Arterial blockage by plaques can prevent the smooth flow of blood to and from your heart. Plaque blockages are a common cause of strokes and heart attacks. This condition is known as atherosclerosis (11).

Research involving 1,226 Australian women found that a higher intake of cruciferous vegetables was associated with a low risk of death from blocked arteries (12).

Animal and test-tube studies have shown that sulforaphane help prevents the narrowing of arteries and reduces inflammation (13, 14).


4.    Blood sugar regulation

Broccolini and other fiber-rich foods may aid the regulation of blood sugar.

The body digests fiber more slowly, keeping you full for longer. This prevents the sugar spikes associated with refined carbs, candy, sugar-sweetened beverages, and other quickly digested foods (15).

Results from animal studies have found that sulforaphane has a beneficial effect on blood sugar (16, 17).


The best way to cook broccolini

Broccolini has a soft texture. It tastes best when cooked. It may taste somewhat wilted when eaten raw. You can prepare broccolini the same way you’d prepare broccoli.

It is suitable for stir-fries when sauteed on the stove, grilled, or roasted. You can also steam or boil it. Broccolini takes at most 10 minutes to cook.

You can cut it into thin, long strips and then blanch it by dipping it in boiling water for three minutes, after which you transfer it into a bowl of ice water. Then you can freeze it.

You may bump the flavor of your broccolini by seasoning it or serving it with a dip.

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