The amazing Vegetable Broccoli
Now here is a confession: I love this amazing vegetable and it would be my favourite veggie. I eat it on a daily basis in many variations from steamed to baked, as broccoli rice, in stir-fries and bakes, in patties or even as cookies.
And I have been called anything from: Broccoli King, Broccoli Man, The Master of Broccoli, broccoli must be coming out of your ears, to he turned into a veggie, actually broccoli, and many more.
Broccoli Fun Facts
George H W Bush banned broccoli from Air Force One.
He said: ‘I do not like broccoli and since a was a kid, my mother made me eat it. And now I am the President of the United States, no one can tell me that I need to eat it.” A lot of PR stunts went down like him receiving a donation of 10tons of broccoli that showed up at the White House which he donated instantly to local food banks to a recipe contest titled “How to get President Bush to Eat Broccoli”.
But interesting enough, Bush’s anti-broccoli rant did not stop the rest of the country from doubling their broccoli consumption 1980 and 1988.
So, what are the benefits of this amazing vegetable:
If we could call anything a ‘Superfood’, definitely a cruciferous vegetable like broccoli would be the number one Superhero, followed by kale, silver beet, asian greens like bok choy, brussel sprouts, mustard greens, radish, and rocket (arugula). They contain a unique form of phytonutrients that researchers claim have the potential to prevent DNA damage, the spreading of metastatic cancer, lymphoma, activating the body’s defence system against pathogens and pollutants, boosting liver enzymes, targeting breast cancer stem cells and reducing the risk of prostate cancer.
So that would be the reason they are top of the list when it comes to healthy vegetables. Responsible for all these benefits is sulforaphane which is found almost exclusively in cruciferous vegetables, making them at least a serve per day essential when it comes to yummy and healthy vegetables to include in your daily meals. It’s one of those changes where, if you were only going to add one different food to your diet, consider cruciferous vegetables.
Besides all the anticancer benefits, it may also help with brain function and rebuilding, blood sugar balancing, type 2 diabetes, weight loss support, cholesterol lowering effect, supporting eyesight/eye health and bone health as well as reducing allergic nasal inflammation, being linked to the prevention of heart disease, and most recently linked to supporting the treatment of autism in a study by Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University.
What’s in Broccoli:
Broccoli is filled with lots of healthy nutrients like – high protein and low fat, low calories, vitamin A, C, K, B1, B2, B3 folic acid and magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorous and essential trace minerals such as iron, selenium, copper, manganese, and zinc.
Broccoli is also a great source of water and soluble and insoluble fibre as well as containing the phytochemical glucosinolate as well as other phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are known as the exclusive bioactive chemicals found in plants which impact on flavour, colour and smell of the plant.
History of Broccoli:
Between the 8th and the 3rd century broccoli was domesticated from wild cabbage by the Etruscans, an advanced civilization in the area today known as central Italy. This influenced others to later cultivate various members of the brassica family including kale, kohlrabi, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage. As the Etruscans were also sea-farers, broccoli spread all through the Mediterranean all the way to modern day Lebanon. Introduced in mid 1700s to the UK it was known as Italian asparagus, but it wasn’t until the 1920s that Italian immigrants introduced it to the United States.
Broccoli is really a large edible flower which gets is name from the italian word broccolo – meaning “the flowering crest of a cabbage” as well as the Latin word brachium – meaning branch, shoot or arm.
Types of Broccoli:
The most familiar variety of broccoli is Calabrese with its tightly formed head of florets, and its thick green stalk but there are many other kinds of broccoli, in fact at least 40 varieties. Natural anthocyanins give purple broccoli its colour. It has thin, leafy stalks and small purple heads; white sprouting broccoli has tiny white flowers and slender stalks.
Romanesco broccoli has tightly packed, cone-shaped spirals and a bright yellowish-green colour, Chinese broccoli, also known as Chinese kale, is known for its large leaves and robust stems, while bright green broccoli rabe (rapini) produces just a few buds on its juicy stalks, amid bitter leaves. It’s technically a member of the turnip family and is a very popular ingredient in Italian recipes, using stems, leaves and buds.
How to Prepare Broccoli
Poorly prepared, soggy broccoli is why many people are not crazy about this amazing vegetable There are ways to prepare broccoli that bring out its deliciousness and can convert most haters to eaters (which is only a one-letter difference, after all).
Edible portions of broccoli include the stems as well as the florets. The thick 1–2 inches of the stem at the bottom is generally too thick and woody to eat, so you can cut that part off. But for maximum nutritive benefit, definitely eat the stems of broccoli. If they’re too thick, you can peel off the tough outer skin with a knife or a vegetable peeler.
You can eat small amounts of broccoli raw or cook it by steaming, sautéing, roasting, boiling, blanching, or air frying it. Beware of overcooking, however as it will become dark and soggy, losing many of its water-soluble vitamins and minerals.
Ways to Use Broccoli
Broccoli is incredibly versatile when it comes to methods of preparation. And you can add broccoli to many different types of dishes, including:
Soups: chopped into veggie soup or pureed into creamy broccoli soup
Mixed green salads
Homemade veggie burger patties or veggie nuggets
Pizza (finely chopped on top)
Baked potato/sweet potato (chopped on top)
Served raw or blanched with hummus or another dip
Are there any side-effects when eating Broccoli
Well, I would like to say No but unfortunately that is not the truth.
Due to its high vitamin K content, patients taking blood-thinners need to be aware eating broccoli could interfere with them if eating it in large quantities.
Also, in rare cases there have been reports of broccoli allergy. Broccoli contains proteins similar to pollen of the mugwort flower from the daisy family. If your lips or tongue tingle after eating broccoli or if you experience more severe symptoms, you may be suffering from broccoli-induced pollen-food allergy.
For more information on all aspects of healthy eating and adding more vegetables to your diet please consider purchasing our Introduction of Plant-Based Nutrition webinar: