Health Benefits of Broccoli and 3 Great Ways to Eat It

Perhaps the bane of most children’s mealtime, broccoli is by far one of the most highly nutritious foods you can find. And while the term “superfood” seems to be thrown around a lot these days, broccoli is indeed one of the original veggies to warrant such a title.

As early as 1982, the National Research Council on Diet, Nutrition and Cancer found enough evidence to suggest that the consumption of broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables reduced cancer risk.

Over the past three decades, numerous studies have been performed to add greater credence to this original statement. In fact, broccoli’s nutritional punch is so strong that as little as 10 grams a day can offer protection against several types of cancer.

Broccoli’s role as a true superfood can be attributed to sulforaphane that rids the body of carcinogens and kills abnormal cells, and indoles that help battle breast cancer through their effect on estrogen. These sulfur compounds are responsible for broccoli’s and other cruciferous vegetables’ strong odor and often pungent taste, yet are true powerhouses when it comes to cancer fighting.

As if broccoli’s role in cancer prevention weren’t enough, it also comes with a whole slew of other benefits. Thanks to its high folate content, it reduces the risk of birth defects tremendously, and because of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, broccoli consumption aids tremendously in eye health. In fact, consuming broccoli twice weekly is associated with a 23 percent decreased risk of developing cataracts.

High in fiber, broccoli also adds bulk to the stool and helps keep digestion flowing smoothly, which is key in the prevention of colon cancer and other conditions of the digestive tract. Diets high in fiber slow digestion allowing for better absorption of vitamins and minerals. Slower digestion will also help keep you fuller longer, which can aid in weight loss.

Not everyone is a fan of broccoli though. If you find you just can’t handle broccoli raw, there are plenty of ways to incorporate this superfood into your diet. Here are just three great ways to get your boccoli fix.

Broccoli Slaw

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads organic broccoli
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons organic currants
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped organic red onion
  • 3/4 cup organic slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup organic mayonnaise or vegetarian alternative
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons organic sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Shred the broccoli in a food processor. In a large bowl, combine the shredded broccoli, currants, red onion, and almonds.
  2. Whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, salt, and a few grinds of fresh pepper.
  3. Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture and stir to combine. Allow to sit for 30 minutes and serve.

Roasted Broccoli

Ingredients:

  • One head organic broccoli
  • Organic olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic
  • Red pepper flakes

Directions:

  1. Cut off the florets and peel the stems. Slice the stems on the bias into bite-sized pieces. Wash and pat the broccoli dry.
  2. Toss it in plenty of olive oil, salt, black pepper, garlic and red pepper flakes.
  3. Spread the broccoli out on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast in a preheated 400 °F oven for about 15 minutes until crisp-tender and beginning to brown. Flip the broccoli with a spatula halfway through to even out the cooking.
  4. Serve with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Broccoli Broccoli Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon organic olive oil
  • 1 large organic onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves organic garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2 (10 ounce) packages organic chopped frozen broccoli, thawed
  • 1 organic potato, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups organic chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan, and saute onion and garlic until tender. Mix in broccoli, potato, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
  2. With a hand mixer or in a blender, puree the mixture until smooth. Return to the saucepan and reheat. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

-The Alternative Daily

 

 

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