by Beth Licopoli
Oh, How I love broccoli!!!
I know many people do not, I have even heard some say it taste like sandpaper??!!!!
Although this article may not convince the “sandpaper crowd” to try it, I am still going to list all the great things broccoli can do to keep you healthy and fit. Maybe those on the fence may try it and those who like it already may love it even more.
First, a little broccoli history. Broccoli is native to the Mediterranean and was engineered from cabbage family by the Etruscans an Italian civilization who were considered horticultural geniuses (1). Its name broccoli comes from an Italian word broccoli which means ‘flowering crest of cabbage”. (2) It is thought to have come to America by Thomas Jefferson who was also a gardener. with records of him experimenting with seeds in the late 1700s. However, it did not become popular until the early 1920s when Southern Italian immigrants brought it over.
Broccoli is part of the cruciferous vegetable family which also includes kale, cauliflower, cabbage and brussel sprouts. These are all at “top-tier” veggies as far as nutrition. Broccoli is low in calories, with high levels of fiber and rich in vitamin C. It has 81 mg in a 1 cup serving vs 51 mg in an orange. If you want to stop a cold forget oranges, eat broccoli. Vitamin C also can help fight skin damage and improve overall skin texture. The high levels of fiber help maintain a healthy digestive tract. The increased fiber can also help lower blood pressure and improve insulin sensitivity to help with weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight.
Broccoli also contains the chemical compound sulforaphane. Sulforapohane has been linked to cancer prevention in studies in the lab, animals and humans. Sulforaphane inhibits enzymes that are known for involvement in development of cancer cells. (3) Broccoli also contains carotenoids to keep eyes healthy and vitamin K for bone health.
So how do you incorporate more broccoli in your everyday eating?? One way is just to go raw,(my favorite way) just alone, add it to a salad or even a smoothie. When broccoli is eaten raw and chopped or chewed it releases myrosinase a plant enzyme necessary for formation of sulforophane. The myrosinase can now come in contact with the glucosinates (a natural compound found in broccoli) to form sulforaphane. Cooking can reduce the amount of sulforaphane, so number one way to get full benefits would be raw. But if you don’t like that idea you can cook it and it incorporate into eggs dishes, mix with rice, make a soup, roast or sauté with chicken or beef.
Broccoli and Tomato Salad
1 head of broccoli chopped
15-20 cherry tomatoes, halved
Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
1TBl olive oil
1TBL of balsamic vinegar
For above salad (minus vinegar and use 3-4 TBL of olive oil) you can also put in a glass baking dish and roast in oven for 25 minutes.