Throughout the year, broccoli is one of the easiest foods to locate, as most supermarkets across the United States offer a hearty supply of the nutrient-rich vegetable.
While broccoli has gotten a bad reputation as being one of the most dreaded vegetables on the dinner plate for a child,
there are actually many different delicious ways to prepare the vegetable with the alluring green stalk and bushy top.
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.
Health Benefits Of Broccoli
Broccoli provides a high amount of vitamin C, which aids iron absorption in the body, prevents the development of cataracts, and also eases the symptoms of the common cold.
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.
The potassium in broccoli aids those battling high blood pressure, while a large amount of calcium helps combat osteoporosis.
The vegetable is also fiber-rich, which enhances the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, as well as aims to reduce blood cholesterol levels.
In recent years, broccoli has made the headlines regarding three components found in the vegetable. For instance, indole-3-carbinol has captured the attention of those looking to prevent hormone-related cancers, such as breast- and prostate cancer.
I3C promotes "good" hormones, while working against destructive ones. The sulforaphane in broccoli also helps to increase the level of enzymes that block cancer, while the beta-carotene in broccoli transforms into vitamin A within the body, providing an effective antioxidant that destroys free radicals (responsible for weakening the defense of cells).
Additionally, the health benefits of broccoli have been linked to 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.
Cooking With Broccoli
While it may take some a bit of time to get used to eating raw broccoli, the use of French onion, ranch, or other dips help bring broccoli to life.
My personal favorite is to shread the broccoli 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, 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.
Broccoli also decorates casseroles, rice dishes, and is an excellent addition to a salad.
This versatile vegetable is also used to make delicious soups, including the Broccoli Cheese and Cream of Broccoli options commonly served at high end restaurants.
When preparing the vegetable, it is important to remember that overcooking broccoli 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 broccoli in a tasty stir-fry.
Also, the next time you're shopping for vegetables, note that some broccoli tops appear purplier than others, meaning they possess a higher level of carotenoids, which is better for your health.
The health benefits of broccoli are so great that it is one of those foods that should be a regular addition to your menu.