Friday Food Fact – Broccoli
Ah…the beloved broccoli.
It was once the vegetable that I despised. I would come up with a multitude of ways to hide this green horrid vegetable at dinner time – under my plate, in a napkin or throw it under the table. But today it sits high up on my favourite foods to eat daily.
If the saying ‘You are what you eat” was true, I would surely turn green and go all Broccoli on you.
So why is this vegetable so important?
Find out, in another episode of FRIDAY FOOD FACTS…
MEET Mr. BROCCOLI…
Broccoli falls under the category of a cruciferous vegetable – along with cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, kale and brussels sprouts. Essential cruciferous is a word meaning “cross” for the leaves and flowers that shape this vegetable.
High in Vitamin C, B6, potassium, folate, magnesium and calcium. Just 1 Cup of broccoli gives you your daily vitamin C requirements (about the same as an orange!)
3. Anti This And Anti That…
A flavonal found in broccoli called kaempferol is thought to have antioxidant, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, estrogenic, analgesic and anti-allergic action!
4. Anti-Cancerous / Anti-oxidant
Cruciferous vegetables contain phytochemicals including sulforaphane – a compound that has strong protective affects, stimulating detoxifying enzymes help to neutralize free radicals that cause cell damage that can lead to cancer.
Another phytochemical called Indole 3-carbinol along with sulforaphane helps the liver to detoxify the blood, taking up pollutants and flushing them out into the urine. Ya!
A selenium deficiency is thought to make the body more susceptible to illness due to its role in immune function. Selenium supports the thyroid and is thought to have anti-inflammatory activity in cases of autoimmune disease that are thyroid related. Now our good friend broccoli contains selenium with increased selenium also associated with reduced risk of cancer, especially colon cancer.
New studies show that sulforaphane in broccoli seems to reverse the cellular abnormalities seen in autism – helping to calm and increase social interaction in autistic children
There is a theory that eating too much raw broccoli can block iodine uptake into the thyroid causing hypothroid-like symptoms. But the jury is out on this one. If you think you have thyroid issues, perhaps cook your broccoli if you are concerned but you needn’t limit it.
9. Calcium & PMS
2 cups of cooked broccoli contain about 20% of the daily recommended value of calcium for women. Calcium helps to keep your body in the perfect pH balance, and helps to reduce PMS. Plus the vitamin A helps to regulate fluctuating hormones and fibre helping to regulate estrogen levels as well as your digestion which should all help to alleviate PMS.
10. Breast & Prostate Cancer
Indoles play a role in estrogen metabolism, converting excess estrogen into a safer form which significantly reduces the risk of estrogen-linked cancers, such as breast cancer and prostate cancer.
11. Homocysteine & The Heart
Too much homocysteine (a naturally occurring amino acid) in the blood is a strong predictor of cardiovascular disease including stroke. High levels can result from lack of nutrients and co-factors needed to convert homocysteine to cysteine including B12, B6, poor diet, poor lifestyle, alcohol, smoking but also health conditions such as diabetes and thyroid issues. Broccoli reduces excessive homocysteine levels by supplying much needed B6 and folate.
Many over look the source of fibre from vegetables. Broccoli contains soluble fibre to feed your good bacteria which is vital for maintaining the gut health and a strong healthy gut lining. Soluble fibre also helps to produce short chain fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory effects and increase insulin sensitivity helping us to control blood sugar levels (which is key in weight management.)
I often hear many people tell me they need more fibre and they end up increasing their oats or bread or even worse, they go and buy Metamucil to help steer things through their system. But take note, you needn’t look any further than your good friend broccoli. Eat the stalks, eat the florets and eat a cup a day – it will bulk your stool and help you to drop the kids off at the pool.
Need more help with constipation? go HERE…
13. Healthy Stomach Lining
H. Pylori a bacteria that can cause ulcers by clinging to the wall of your stomach and intestine. Sulforaphane in broccoli inhibits growth of H Pylori and prevents it clinging to the lining.
14. Just add butter…
Many of the vitamins in broccoli are fat-soluble – A, D, K, E, which means they CANNOT be absorbed without the presence of adequate fat. Help your body out and add some grass fed butter!
How do I eat it?
I fry florets on high heat with garlic, grass fed butter and burn it just slightly so that its crunchy. I can’t get enough!
How do you eat your broccoli? Do you like the vegetable enough to eat it daily?