Superfood is a total buzz word, matcha powder, medicinal mushrooms, acai berries and chia seeds are all that, but let’s not forget the nutritional prowess and vibrant hues of things like broccoli, tomatoes and pumpkin! Good health really can be as simple as it is to get caught up in the clever marketing of new health foods.
Who would have thought that the humble broccoli, known for its presence on the plate as the token green veg, and often served with potatoes, could be traced back 8000 years! Native to Europe, its Latin-derived name means ‘bucktooth’ and colloquially explains the way broccoli shoots up from its stem to form the tree-like florets we all know and love.
Fun Ways to Enjoy
Forget steaming or broccoli soup, it’s the twenty-first century and the time for vegetable creativity is now! Although simple (recall that simple is good!), you must try roasted broccoli florets with ground cumin, chill flakes and sea salt– a squeeze of lemon after roasting is delicious also. The large surface area of the broccoli head make it the perfect sponge for any spices or seasonings you please.
Trick kids and picky-eaters alike into broccoli-centric dishes by blitzing the florets up in a food processor or blender. Enjoy your blitzed broccoli as ‘rice’ or fold into baking breads, muffins and frittatas, or use to thicken sauces like bolognese and pesto.
If steaming is your thing, try steaming and then freezing broccoli for use in smoothies! This may sound crazy, but it adds a lovely thick and creamy texture and is a great way to reduce the amount of frozen fruit used, all while reaping the benefits of broccoli as an addition!
Nutritionally speaking, broccoli is an incredible source of vitamins A, C and K . These vitamins are fat-soluble, meaning fat is required in order to fully access and digest the vitamins broccoli possesses. Looking for an excuse to eat more avocado, olive or coconut oil? Fat soluble vitamins are your ticket to healthy fat heaven.
“Forget steaming or broccoli soup, it’s the twenty-first century and the time for vegetable creativity is now!”
Broccoli is also rich in folate, which is essential B-vitamin required by all living cells and is fundamental for DNA synthesis . For this reason, folate is especially important in pregnancy, as cells are rapidly growing, dividing and replicating in order to create new DNA for a new person!
Broccoli boasts a high manganese content too. Its role in the body is as a constituent and activator of many enzymes that help to boost antioxidant potential, support the growth of bones and facilitate the break down of amino acids.
Broccoli is a low-calorie, low-fat and low-carbohydrate vegetable; its nutrient make-up far outshines its effect on physique, making it a fantastic vegetable choice for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or all three!
If broccoli had a last name, it would be cruciferous. This name describes the family of vegetables to which broccoli belongs. While some families are known for talents in singing or cooking, the cruciferous family of vegetables are memorable for their ability to produce glucosinolates; the sulfur-containing compound that lends broccoli its unique pungent smell.
Glucosinolates are particularly noteworthy for the role they play in disease prevention and fighting conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease and inflammation. This is largely due to their high antioxidant content and ability to scavenge free radicals.