A+ for Broccoli
Broccoli is one of the vegetables from the cruciferous family, which includes kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, etc. Though many people may dislike this vegetable it is incredibly nutritious, packed with many health benefits, and very low on calories.
Just how nutritious is broccoli, you ask? Sit tight, this list is long. Broccoli has a high concentration of dietary fiber, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin E, manganese, phosphorus, choline, vitamin B1, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), potassium and copper. Broccoli is also a good source of vitamin B1, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, zinc, calcium, iron, niacin and selenium. In other words, it is a nutritious powerhouse of a vegetable that should be a big part of everyone’s diet.
Studies show that regular consumption of broccoli can decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Consuming a high amount of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli has been associated with a lower risk of lung and colon cancer. Studies have suggested that sulforaphane, the sulfur-containing compound that also gives cruciferous vegetables their bitter bite, is the compound responsible for the cancer-fighting properties of these vegatables. Another important vitamin that broccoli contains, folate, has been shown to decrease the risk of breast cancer in women. Adequate intake of dietary folate (in food) has also shown promise in protecting against colon, stomach, pancreatic and cervical cancers.
Additionally, eating one cup of broccoli provides 92 micrograms of vitamin K. Poor vitamin K intake is linked with a high risk of bone fracture, therefore consuming broccoli, which has a very high level of vitamin K, helps improves bone health by improving calcium absorption and reducing urinary excretion of calcium. Lastly, consuming foods with a natural fiber, such as broccoli can prevent constipation, maintain a healthy digestive tract and lower the risk of colon cancer.
Best Way to Consume Broccoli
What is the best way of consuming broccoli and ensuring that all of the great nutrients in broccoli are consumed? Research suggests that the best and healthiest way of cooking broccoli is steaming it for 5-7 minutes. This method of cooking broccoli, unlike roasting, or boiling it for several minutes, does not strip the vegetable of its nutritious qualities. To add a little more flavour to your steamed broccoli you can sauté it in a pan and add one spoon of olive oil, 2 spoons of lemon juice and one clove of minced garlic. Try consuming it with some steamed carrots to maximize your nutritious intake!