Food of the Week

Brilliant Broccoli

Why do we love it?

A shining emerald in the hall of vegetable fame....Broccoli is one of those cruciferous super foods that continues to make headlines, and more scientific research verifies its benefits.

How should I prepare it for maximum health benefits?

Many people who say that they don't like Broccoli have only had it as a soggy, dark green tasteless side dish, which has been overcooked to within an inch of its life...

Proper preparation of Broccoli is key to bringing out its flavour and maximising its nutritional benefits.

The healthiest way of preparing it is to cut into individual florets and steam it for 5 minutes and serve it while it is still bright green and somewhat crisp. It goes wonderfully in stir fries (and don't forget to eat the stalk for extra fibre and nutrients). You can also eat it raw in salads.

Dress cooked Broccoli with a little extra virgin olive oil and some lemon juice, with sea salt and ground black pepper to taste. Sprinkle with flaked almonds or sesame seeds for extra flavour. Delicious!!

Why is it good for me?

Loved by your liver!

Scientific studies show that cruciferous vegetables are among the vegetables that contain the highest concentrations of health-promoting sulphur compounds, such as sulforaphane and isothiocyanates which increase the liver's ability to produce enzymes that detoxify potentially toxic substances including carcinogens.

Eye Eye!

Broccoli is also rich in the powerful phytonutrient antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin - carotenoids which are concentrated in the lens of the eye. Recent research has shown that sulforaphane may also be able to protect the eye from free radical stressors.

Hearty!

Along with Vitamins A and C which provide powerful antioxidant protection, Broccoli is also a rich source of folic acid, which is an important heart-healthy nutrient. Researchers have found that people whose diets contain Broccoli, onions and apples - the richest sources of flavanoids such as Quercetin - experienced a 20% reduction in their risk of heart disease.

One For the Ladies

Broccoli contains a substance called indole-3-carbinol (I3C) which can beneficially support the metabolism of oestrogen. Broccoli contains calcium and also Vitamin C which helps with calcium absorption. A great food to include during pregnancy too as it is an excellent source of folic acid.

Did you know?

You can also eat Broccoli sprouts made from Broccoli seeds which pack even more of a phytonutrient punch. They are estimated to contain 10-100 times the power of mature Broccoli to boost enzymes that detoxify potential carcinogens. Look out for sprouting jars and seeds in health food shops and make your own to put in salads or smoothies!

What are my credentials?

vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, folate, manganese, tryptophan, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin B2, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, fibre and protein.

How to select me...

Dark green heads of Broccoli contain more chlorophyll, beta-carotene and vitamin C, while the purple sprouting variety contains more flavanoids. Stalks and stems should be firm, with no wilting leaves. Choose organic varieties wherever possible.

Enjoy!

 

Source: WHF, Mateljan, G.