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SuperFood of the Week- Broccoli

By March 20, 2017Super Foods

Lets talk Broccoli. One of my most favorite vegetables! Who doesn’t love a tiny power packed tree? Well- many don’t love it but I’m going to tell you why you should get to know it better.

Broccoli is an edible green plant in the cabbage family whose large flowering head is eaten as a vegetable.

The word broccoli comes from the Italian plural of broccolo, which means “the flowering crest of a cabbage”, and is the diminutive form of brocco, meaning “small nail” or “sprout”.  Broccoli is often boiled or steamed but may be eaten raw.

Broccoli is classified in the Italica cultivar group of the species Brassica oleracea. Broccoli has large flower heads, usually green in color, arranged in a tree-like structure branching out from a thick, edible stalk. The mass of flower heads is surrounded by leaves. Broccoli resembles cauliflower, which is a different cultivar group of the same species.

Broccoli is a result of careful breeding of cultivated Brassica crops in the northern Mediterranean starting in about the 6th century BC. Since the time of the Roman Empire, broccoli has been considered a uniquely valuable food among Italians.  Broccoli was brought to England from Antwerp in the mid-18th century by Peter Scheemakers. Broccoli was first introduced to the United States by Southern Italian immigrants, but did not become widely popular until the 1920s.

1. Cancer Prevention-Broccoli contains glucoraphanin, which the body processes into the anti-cancer compound sulforaphane. This compound rids the body of H. pylori, a bacterium found to highly increase the risk of gastric cancer. Furthermore, broccoli contains indole-3-carbinol, a powerful antioxidant compound and anti-carcinogen found to not only hinder the growth of breast, cervical and prostate cancer, but also boosts liver function. Broccoli shares these cancer fighting, immune boosting properties with other cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage.

2. Cholesterol Reduction-Like many whole foods, broccoli is packed with soluble fiber that draws cholesterol out of your body.

3. Reducing Allergy Reaction and Inflammation-Broccoli is a particularly rich source of kaempferol and isothiocyanates, both anti-inflammatory phyto nutrients. Research has shown the ability of kaempferol to lessen the impact of allergy-related substances on our body. Broccoli even has significant amounts of omega 3 fatty acids, which are well know as an anti-inflammatory. This veggie is amazing!

4. Powerful Antioxidant-Of all the cruciferous vegetables, broccoli stands out as the most concentrated source of vitamin C, plus the flavonoids necessary for vitamin C to recycle effectively. Also concentrated in broccoli are the carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene, other powerful antioxidants.

5. Bone Health-Broccoli contains high levels of both calcium and vitamin K, both of which are important for bone health and prevention of osteoporosis.

6. Heart Health-The anti-inflammatory properties of sulforaphane, one of the isothiocyanates (ITCs) in broccoli, may be able to prevent (or even reverse) some of the damage to blood vessel linings that can be caused by inflammation due to chronic blood sugar problems. Are you sold yet?

7. Detoxification-Glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiin and glucobrassicin are special phytonutrients that support all steps in the body’s detox process, including activation, neutralization and elimination of unwanted contaminants. These three are in the perfect combination in broccoli.  Broccoli also contains isothiocyanates (which you read about in inflammation) which help control the detox process at a genetic level.

8. Diet Aid-Broccoli is a smart carb and is high in fiber, which aids in digestion, prevents constipation, maintains low blood sugar, and curbs overeating. Furthermore, a cup of broccoli has as much protein as a cup of rice or corn with half the calories. Can you say overachiever?

9. Alkalizes Your Body-Like many vegetables, broccoli helps keep your whole body less acidic, which has a host of health benefits.

If this isn’t enough I have about 10 more pages! I could talk all day about Broccoli’s goodness but I wont. Instead I’ll just let you try some delicious organic broccoli at Cuisine for Healing.

Check out our Shepard’s Pie with Broccoli and Red & Yellow Peppers. It is amazing! It’s so easy- order on line.

Happy Healthy Eating!

Dana

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