Broccoli can be found in the local stores throughout the year,making it one of the easiest foods to locate, as most supermarkets across the United States offer a healthy supply of this nutrient-rich healing food. Another point to consider for the next time you’re shopping for vegetables, you may note that some broccoli tops appear purpler than others, which translates into them possessing a higher level of carotenoids, which adds to the broccoli health benefits and is even better for you!
This vegetable may have gotten a bad reputation as being one of the most hated vegetables for a child and ex-president George W. Bush, however there are actually many different ways to prepare this odd looking vegetable. In addition to satisfying the daily requirements for fruit and vegetable intake, there are a variety of health benefits attached to the consumption of broccoli.
Broccoli Health Benefits
- Vitamin C: Broccoli contains a high amount of vitamin C, which aids in the absorption of iron in the body, helps to prevent the development of cataracts, and also helps ease the symptoms of the common cold. A single cup of steamed broccoli provides more than 200 percent of the RDA for vitamin C (more than oranges).
- Folic Acid: The folic acid in broccoli helps women sustain normal tissue growth and is often used as a supplement when taking birth control pills and during pregnancies.
- Potassium:The potassium in broccoli aids those battling high blood pressure, while a large amount of calcium helps combat osteoporosis.
- Fiber: Broccoli contains a healthy amount of fiber as well which is very good for the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and also has been know to help reduce blood cholesterol levels.
- Other: Nearly as much vitamin K as vitamin C, half of the daily allowance for vitamin A, plentiful supplies of folate, sulfur, iron, B vitamins, and a whole host of other important nutrients. Pound for pound, this healing food contains nearly twice the amount of protein as a steak in addition to much more protective phytonutrients.
Phytonutrients called indoles found in broccoli help protect against prostate, gastric, skin, breast, and cervical cancers. Some research suggests that indoles also protect the structure of DNA and may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Extensive studies have linked broccoli to a 20 percent reduction in heart disease risk making it an excellent healing food. In Chinese medicine, broccoli is used to treat eye inflammation.
A study done by the University of Illinois Urbana did a study and found some interesting facts about broccoli health benefits as a healing food so we have included a snippet of the abstract of that report:
Abstract: Sulforaphane (SF) is a chemopreventive isothiocyanate (ITC) derived from the myrosinase-catalyzed hydrolysis of glucoraphanin, a thioglucoside present in broccoli. Broccoli supplements often contain glucoraphanin but lack myrosinase, putting in question their ability to provide dietary SF. This study compared the relative absorption of SF from air-dried broccoli sprouts rich in myrosinase and a glucoraphanin-rich broccoli powder lacking myrosinase, individually and in combination. Subjects (n = 4) each consumed 4 meals consisting of dry cereal and yogurt with 2 g sprouts, 2 g powder, both, or neither. Blood and urine were analyzed for SF metabolites. The 24 h urinary SF recovery was 74%, 49%, and 19% of the dose ingested from broccoli sprouts, combination, and broccoli powder meals, respectively. Urinary and plasma ITC appearance was delayed from the broccoli powder compared to the sprouts and combination. A liver function panel indicated no toxicity from any treatment at 24 h. These data indicate a delayed appearance in plasma and urine of SF from the broccoli powder relative to SF from myrosinase-rich sprouts. Combining broccoli sprouts with the broccoli powder enhanced SF absorption from broccoli powder, offering the potential for development of foods that modify the health impact of broccoli products.
We also found a summary of the report here on the newly discovered broccoli health benefits and included an excerpt:
URBANA – A new University of Illinois study provides convincing evidence that the way you prepare and consume your broccoli matters, and also suggests that teaming broccoli with broccoli sprouts may make the vegetable’s anti-cancer effect almost twice as powerful.
Additional broccoli health benefits may include preventing and controlling the following medical concerns: Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, calcium deficiencies, stomach and colon cancer, malignant tumors, lung cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and even the aging process.
How to Cook With BroccoliFor many the taste of raw broccoli takes some time to get used to, but if you use French onion, ranch, or other dips help to bring it to life. I for one prefer lemon juice or ranch dressing, however many of you probably aren’t that fond of lemons either. Another alternative is to shred the stems and make broccoli slaw. Just use your favorite Cole slaw recipe and substitute the broccoli for cabbage. Some people avoid eating the stems of the vegetable due to the rough texture, but peeling away the tough outer skin, slicing them into small pieces, or cooking them whole tastes great with a little teriyaki sauce. Overall, to get the health benefits of broccoli, it can be boiled, steamed, eaten raw, and baked with great-tasting accompaniments, such as a good tasting creamy cheese, however when preparing the vegetable, it is important to remember that overcooking it equals a reduction in vital nutrients (especially when boiling in water). To savor every last drop of vitamins and healthy components, you should try steaming, microwaving, or preparing a broccoli stir-fry. Broccoli can also be used to decorate dishes such as casseroles, rice dishes, and is an excellent addition to a salad.
This awesome superfood can also used to make delicious soups, including the Broccoli Cheese and Cream of Broccoli options commonly served at high end restaurants.
How much: Your goal should be to eat a little broccoli every day, and your body will gratefully thank you for it. If you can’t achieve this goal, not to worry, but try to eat it as regularly as possible. Like most other foods in the vegetable family, broccoli provides fantastic nutrition both in its raw form and when it’s cooked properly. Important Note: Cooking reduces some of broccoli’s anticancer components, but lightly steaming it will preserve most of the nutrients. Broccoli is available fresh year-round in most areas, but if you can’t find it where you live, frozen broccoli is a good substitute.
We enjoy the broccoli health benefits of this healing food as much as possible and eat it daily, we would suggest you do the same. Peace my friends and Bon Appetit!