Food, Health

‘Brassica Power’ : The Health Benefits of Broccoli

Broccoli Power

Nutrition & Health Benefits

Broccoli is an excellent source of: fibre; protein; iron; potassium; calcium; magnesium and vitamins A, C, E, K plus a good spectrum of of B vitamins including folic acid. Eating broccoli regularly may benefit cardiovascular health, bone health, eye health and support cancer prevention.

Consuming steamed broccoli regularly may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by reducing your total amount of cholesterol. For example you can check out this study by Nutrition Research Increasing cruciferous vegetables like broccoli in your daily diet could also reduce the risk of heart disease as outlined in this study.

Broccoli is naturally high in vitamin K. Evidence implies that vitamin K can improve bone health as well as increase bone mineral density and reduce fracture rates in those with osteoporosis. Just 100g of steamed broccoli provides 145 mcg of vitamin K which is well above the recommended daily intake.

This nourishing green vegetable also contains the antioxidant carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin which have been linked to a decreased risk of age-related eye disorders, such as cataracts and macular degeneration. For clinical examples check out these studies from 2006 and 2003.  Broccoli also contains beta-carotene which the body converts to vitamin A (another vitamin beneficial to eye health). About 100g of broccoli can provide 100 mcg of vitamin A, this is approximately 14% of the recommended daily intake for men, and about 17% of the RDI for women.

We cannot claim that foods will prevent cancer. We know that certain risk factors for cancer are unrelated to diet, but there is evidence that eating a healthy diet can reduce the risk of cancer.

Broccoli has high amounts of the phytochemical, sulforaphane. Studies have shown that sulforaphane may play a part in enhancing detoxification of airborne toxins, such as cigarette smoke, and could help reduce the risk of certain cancers. Further research has also suggested that broccoli may have anti-cancer properties.

You can sprout broccoli seeds to obtain an even more concentrated source of these cancer-fighting compounds.

Recipe from the Wise Cicada Chef’s Diary – Serves: 6

Roast Broccoli and Wild Rice Soup

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 red capsicum, chopped
  • 4 Table sp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large head broccoli, chopped
  • 1 cup wild rice, soaked overnight
  • 1 Table sp fresh dill, chopped
  • 6 cups water
  • 6 cups almond milk
  • 1 T thyme, dry
  • 1 tea sp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees C.
  2. Place cashews in a bowl and cover with warm water. Set aside.
  3. Cover wild rice with 4 cups of water in a stock pot and simmer until cooked. The grain will crack open to expose the white centre.
  4. Toss together broccoli, red onion and red capsicum with 2 T olive oil in a mixing bowl until well coated. Bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway, or until veggies are golden.
  5. Heat a soup pot over medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Once hot, add carrots and celery. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add roasted vegetables, thyme wild rice (with cooking liquid and 2 cups of the remaining water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer (covered) for about 20 minutes or until broccoli is tender.
  6. Ladle a couple cups of soup into a high-speed blender. Drain cashews, add and blend until completely smooth. Blend the rest of the soup in batches until smooth and creamy.
  7. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme to taste.
  8. Garnish with dill and serve hot.

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