You should know that if it’s leafy and green, there’s a great chance that you should be adding it to your diet. One of these greens that you might not have known about, but still contains a lot of benefits, is rapini. Here in the United States, rapini is typically referred to as broccoli raab (or rabe). As you can probably guess, rapini falls into the same family as broccoli, but has a different look and taste.
One thing that broccoli and rapini share, however, is a massive array of health benefits and nutrition. Rapini is more common in European dishes, but is becoming more popular around the world thanks to these benefits. So if you like broccoli as part of your diet, you’re pretty much guaranteed to love rapini. To show you what you’re getting, here is the nutritional value and some of the great health benefits you get from adding rapini to your diet.
Nutrition of Rapini
Rapini is one of those seemingly rare foods where you can eat a lot of it, getting very few calories, but still a lot of nutritional value. In each one cup serving of chopped rapini, there are fewer than 10 calories, but more than a gram of fiber and protein, each. Out of the vitamins, the most notable one in the group is vitamin K, with a healthy 112 percent of your daily recommended value. Vitamin A is no slouch either with more than 20 percent, while vitamin C comes in at higher than 10 percent.
Other vitamins that are a big lower, but still significant, include vitamin E, thiamin, folate and vitamin B6. In the mineral department, many fall in the five to 10 percent category, including iron, manganese, phosphorus and calcium. There’s just over one gram of carbohydrates in each serving of rapini, and you won’t be getting much sugar or fat at all with 0.2 grams of each. As an added bonus, there’s no cholesterol and more than 45mg of omega-3 fatty acids.
The first thing we mentioned in the nutritional value for rapini was the fact that it only contains eight calories for an entire one cup serving. Eating more food that are that low in calories is certainly going to kickstart any weight loss plan, especially if you’re swapping out rapini for candy bars, chips or any other junk foods. Some might even consider rapini to be a “negative calorie” food that takes more calories to digest than you’re actually getting.
While negative calorie foods aren’t quite proven, just know you’re not adding much in terms of calories with rapini. There’s a little bit of fiber in there to help you feel more full, as well, though the best weight loss plan meets the daily recommendation for fiber. Your diet shouldn’t consist of just meal upon meal that’s solely rapini, making it a part of a well-balanced dish or something to snack on is ideal for weight loss.
With each serving of rapini containing an incredible 112 percent of your daily recommendation for vitamin K, it becomes one of the best sources for the oft neglected vitamin. Leafy green vegetables are always the greatest sources of vitamin K, which some people might be avoiding with the hectic lifestyle that incorporates a lot of processed food. Vitamin K has many benefits, but the most noticeable comes in the skeletal system.
When you’re getting enough vitamin K in your diet, your body is able to better absorb calcium to use in the bones. This creates a stronger foundation, and increases your ability to avoid bone loss in the future and escape osteoporosis and fractures. Studies have shown that elderly people who get enough vitamin K drastically reduce their chances of fractures, and overall had better bone density.
Looking (And Seeing) Well
Many of us take care of our skin on a daily basis, but you might not be doing enough to make your skin fully healthy. Getting the proper nutrition is the best thing that you can do for your skin, and eating rapini is a good way of doing so. The two most important vitamins that you can get for skin health are vitamin A and vitamin C. These vitamins not only help you produce collagen (and in turn, elasticity), but also fight off free radicals that can cause signs of aging.
Vitamin A also plays an important role in another factor, and that’s your vision. One of the most obvious signs of aging is impairment to your vision over time, which many think is unavoidable. Getting more vitamin A protects your eyes, as it works as an antioxidant against those free radicals. As a result, you’ll be less prone to macular degeneration, cataracts and other age-related problems.
We’re not done with the free radicals just yet. The same ones that can make you look older with wrinkles and bags around your eyes can also cause chronic illnesses. The antioxidants within rapini (that contain vitamin C) are incredibly effective at keeping free radicals at bay. Cancer is caused when these free radicals attack the DNA of your body’s cells, so it’s important to attack them early and often.
One of the antioxidants that’s found in rapini is I3C, which isn’t found in many foods. This will also help you in your day-to-day life as you try to fight off foreign invaders like viruses or bacteria. We tend not to actively avoid the common cold until people around us start getting sick, and you won’t have to worry as much with a stronger immune system.
There are many different aspects of rapini that make it an ideal food to promote heart health. Nutrients such as vitamin K and folate are essential for your heart, as they help to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and stabilize blood pressure. Others that include manganese will also sooth your blood vessels, reducing your chance of heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Speaking of stroke, rapini is also good for your brain’s health overall, and can help you prevent age-related issues such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Summing it Up
Rapini has all of these tremendous health benefits in each serving, but does this plant (and ones in the same family such as broccoli) have any drawbacks? For the average person, there really isn’t anything that you have to watch out for. If you’re on certain types of medications or have had a history with kidney stones, however, you might want to monitor your intake of foods like rapini.
Rapini can slightly increase your chances of getting kidney stones, especially if you’ve had them in the past, while it could interfere with blood thinning medications. That could lead to some serious complications that you don’t want to be part of. If you don’t fall into either of those categories, it’s highly suggested that you add rapini into your diet as much as you can and as soon as possible. After all, it tastes just as good as broccoli and can be used in many different ways.