Learn to Love Broccoli
Most of us recall turning our noses up at boiled broccoli served at the dinner table in our youth. Mushy and soggy, it required mountains of salt and butter to be palatable. However, this superfood has gotten a bad rap in many Western nations. It’s actually incredibly nutritious and when not boiled to death, it can also be amazingly tasty. In this article, you’ll learn how to love broccoli.
What Is Broccoli?
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, and when prepared, it looks like “little trees”. It’s in the same family as other superfoods, like kale, as well as lesser-known and less appreciated foods like cabbage and collard greens. This entire family of foods is worth exploring for the incredible tastes they can bring to dishes, as well as the tremendous amount of nutrition they pack in. Of course, in addition to great taste when prepared correctly, it can also offer a very wide range of health benefits, some of which are only now being discovered.
The Health Benefits of Broccoli
To be clear, eating a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables will bring significant health benefits on its own. It can reduce heart disease, stop diabetes and result in significant weight loss. With that being said, broccoli brings a lot to the table on its own.
One of the most exciting possibilities with this little, green powerhouse is the possibility that it can help fight cancer. This is particularly true with colon and lung cancers. Broccoli (and other cruciferous veggies) contains a high amount of sulforaphane, which is what gives these vegetables their “bite”, as well as their reputation for smelling funny when cooked. Sulforaphane has been shown to inhibit the histone deacetylase enzyme, which is part of what fuels the growth of cancer cells. Researchers are turning to this compound to treat not only colon and lung cancer, but also to determine how effective it is at fighting other forms of cancer.
Broccoli is also high in folate, which has been shown to help reduce the chance of breast cancer in women, as well as in preventing other forms of cancer, such as stomach and pancreatic cancer. Note that folate in supplement form has not shown the same properties – only diet-derived folate offers these benefits.
Another significant benefit of this food, is the vegetable’s concentration of vitamin K, which has been shown to help improve bone health and speed the healing of broken bones. Vitamin K works by increasing your body’s ability to absorb and use calcium, which is also contained inside.
Broccoli also contains high amounts of vitamin C, which in addition to helping boost the immune system, is a powerful antioxidant. This can help repair the damage done to skin and keep it looking healthy and younger.
The Nutrition of Broccoli
Broccoli is incredibly nutritious, and you’ll find that just a single cup contains:
- 100% of the RDA of vitamin C
- High concentrations of vitamin A
- 100% of the RDA of vitamin K
- High concentrations of folate
- High concentrations of potassium
If that’s not enough to convince you that this is one of the most important veggies to eat. Consider the fact that a cup of broccoli contains NO fat, and only 6 grams of carbs. It includes 3 grams of protein, and just 31 calories.
Getting Broccoli On Your Plate
Yes, knowing that broccoli is good for you and actually eating it are two different things. That’s largely due to the fact that we just cook broccoli wrong. Rather than boiling it, try steaming it so that it is tender-crisp instead of soggy. Rather than drowning it under cheese, consider serving it with a spritz of lemon juice or ginger. Serve it raw as part of a salad, or chop it and add it to a wrap