I didn’t grow up with broccoli. I don’t know if there wasn’t any fresh broccoli in Israel when I was young, or my mom just wasn’t sure what it was, but even when we moved to the states she never brought broccoli home. The first time I tried broccoli was in college and it was smothered with cheese (is there any other way to love it at first taste). I don’t even think it was a real cheese… more like a cheese sauce. It wasn’t bad AND I felt amazing for adding a new vegetable into my arsonal because I was really trying to be a vegetarian at that time, but I didn’t like too many vegetables :).
Little did I know then, what a powerhouse broccoli is! No more cheese, but steamed, roasted, or lightly stir fried, broccoli is now a staple in my weekly menus and my kids love it too!
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable. That means it comes from a family of vegetables called Brassica, which happen to be POWERHOUSE vegetables full of nutrition (more on that in a minute). The cruciferous vegetables are arguably the best vegetables for you, and therefore you should try to include them in your diet daily. This group includes kale, bok choy, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage, amount others.
So how much of a powerhouse is broccoli? Well, let’s start with protein. Broccoli has more protein than a steak (calorie for calorie). AND your body actually absorbs the protein from broccoli at a higher rate than that of the steak (plus you don’t get the cholesterol, hormones, fat and other random stuff like GMO corn and other guck the cow may have eaten along the way). The protein in broccoli is a great energy source.
What about health benefits? There are too many to go into in detail, so let me list them all, and touch on the ones that raise the most concern.
Cancer-fighting, protects against DNA damage, antiviral, antibacterial and anti inflammatory effects, detoxifies the body, helps skin look young, protects against UV, helps the gut and gut disorders, helps the eyes, prevents high cholesterol and heart disease, improves bone health, regulates blood pressure, and boosts the immune system.
Broccoli’s combination of vitamins and minerals (C, K, B6, A, fiber, folate, potassium, selenium, manganese, phosphorus) and its phytonutrients and antioxidants make it the powerhouse that it is. Eating broccoli is an amazing way to heal so many health problems, with no side effect list written on the label (i.e. unless you’re allergic to broccoli of course). Broccoli has been proven to be an anticancer agent especially with breast and uterine cancers, but also prostate, lungs, colon, liver, kidneys, intestines and other various internal organs. There are numerous studies that show a reduced cancer rate among people who had an intake of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli. You can read more about that here… http://bit.ly/2J30jFp
Broccoli is high in fiber and has significant levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. This helps the body reduce the bad cholesterol and keep the blood pressure regulated and the heart functioning. High fiber makes us feel full, which aides in weight loss. Fiber is the number one source to help constipation which is the root of many (if not most) stomach/gut disorders.
Broccoli is also a good source of calcium. As we all know calcium is very important for bone health, but you may not have known that the body absorbs calcium from broccoli more effectively than from dairy products such as milk (plus you don’t get all the other junk in milk like hormones, pus, infections, and anything else the cow may have picked up along the way). The dairy industry has done a great job at marketing itself as a bone saver, when in fact milk does the bones bad and osteoporosis rates among milk drinkers is higher than non milk drinkers.In fact milk drinkers have a higher rate of bone fractures and disease. A 20 year study found that women and men who drank milk regularly had higher rates of death, heart disease and cancer, plus women had more bone fractures. (http://bit.ly/2HDZGT9 and http://bit.ly/2HGs07k).
And what about our skin? The antioxidant content, as well as vitamins C and E in broccoli all help revive skin tissue and leave you looking healthy and radiant. But it’s the phytonutrients in broccoli that reverse negative effects of sun exposure.
As you can see, it doesn’t get much better than broccoli. Do use it soon after you buy it to get the most nutrients. Broccoli stores for only 2-5 days in the fridge (store it in a bag with a paper towel to collect moisture and wash before use). Also gentle steaming is best (even better than raw – to activate some nutrients). Don’t overcook broccoli so you don’t lose the power punch of nutrients it provides.
Give your kids extra points for trying broccoli. Season it with some salt and pepper, or garlic and paprika. Broil it for a few minutes. Whatever makes it work. Talking about veggies like broccoli as muscle food (or soccer food, or ninja food, or hip hop food) really makes a difference in getting your kids to try new things.