Broccoli belongs to the cruciferous family of vegetables which include cauliflower, kale, cabbage and brussels sprouts. It is a green vegetable resembling a cauliflower due to its compact head of florets attached to a stem. It is best when eaten in the raw form as salads. The stems can be eaten like the asparagus and the florets like cauliflower. This vegetable was used from the Roman times and from there it was introduced to the outside world. This article is about health benefits of broccoli.
Studies indicate that eating broccoli helps to protect body cells against damage and the phytonutrients in broccoli help to fight allergy and also cancer. It is said that raw broccoli has three times more photochemical than cooked broccoli. High levels of selenium content in this vegetable give it anti-viral and anti-cancer properties. You should aim to eat one cup of broccoli (150 grams) at least twice a week. For best benefits eat cruciferous family of vegetables 4 to 5 times a week.
Benefits of Eating Broccoli
- It is a good source of Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Chromium, Folate and Dietary Fiber.
- Broccoli is considered as one of the healthiest food. Eating steamed cooked broccoli regularly can lower your cholesterol.
- Broccoli can help in solving Vitamin D deficiency as it has a strong combination of Vitamin D and Vitamin A.
- Broccoli is a rich source of a flavonoid called kaempferol.Consumption of Kaempferol helps you fight allergy related problems.
- Folate in broccoli helps to produce new cells in the body and its high fiber content helps in the digestive process of the body.
- Vitamin K helps in blood clotting and vitamin C helps to build collagen. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps in the treatment of cuts and wounds.
- It also contains potassium that helps in the function of nerves and improves heart health.
- Broccoli has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients that help to detoxify the body as it is an excellent source of a phytonutrient called kaempferol.
- It also has cholesterol lowering ability and therefore good for cardiovascular health.
- One can take steamed broccoli with two servings a week to improve heart health due to its high content of B-complex vitamins.
- The carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin found in broccoli help in the eye health as it helps in the reduction of macular degeneration.
- Sulphur rich broccoli helps to prevent arthritis and osteoporosis due to the compound Sulforaphane. Sulforaphane helps to promote the working of kidney function and lowers blood pressure.
- Broccoli helps to reduce blood sugar levels due to the presence of soluble fiber and chromium.
Tips for Making Broccoli Dishes
Broccoli can be eaten as salad, soup, stir-fried vegetable or as a dip. Following are tips for making few broccoli dishes.
How to Make Broccoli Soup
Take fresh broccoli florets and cook it. Puree the cooked florets with virgin oil, few cut onions, cumin, coriander, fresh ground pepper, crushed garlic, lime juice in a food processor. Transfer it a saucepan and warm the mixture. You can add water if you want your soup to be less thick in consistency. You can add few drops of milk to get an enhanced taste. Butter can be added at the end for an aromatic taste.
How to make Broccoli Salad
Take steamed or raw broccoli florets and add pasta of your choice. Mix pine nuts, oregano or basil, mayonnaise sauce, salt, pepper and lime juice.
How to Make Broccoli and Tofu Salad
Steam florets of broccoli along with thinly sliced long strips of carrot, pieces of cut tofu, garlic, grated ginger, and then add soy sauce, dried chilli flakes and salt to it. Add few drops of lemon juice and virgin olive oil to the dish and you can now have a delicious serving of broccoli and tofu.
How to Make Broccoli Pesto
Making broccoli Pesto is very simple and it provides a very good green food alternative. Stirred through pasta, it can be a very nutritious lunch.
Chopped Florets of Broccoli – 2 Cups
Salt – 2 Teaspoon
Lemon Juice – 1 Teaspoon
Olive Oil – 3 Tablespoon
Garlic – 1 Clove
Lightly Roasted Nut – Half a Cup
Finely Grated Cheese – Half a Cup
How to Make
Blanch the broccoli in boiling water for about one minute till it is vibrant green and strain. Place the garlic, salt, lemon juice and oil in a food processor and grind till a fine and uniform paste is made. Now put the blanched broccoli in the food processor and run the processor till the broccoli is ground in fine pieces, like bread crumbs. Empty this mixture into a bowl. This is broccoli pesto. You can mix it to your pasta to make a delicious and nutritious meal.