Broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse — delivering a lot of “bang” for your nutritional buck.
Broccoli Nutrition – The Basics
Broccoli is in the cruciferous vegetable family, which includes cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussel sprouts, kale, turnips, collards, bok choy, mustard greens, and Swiss Chard. Cruciferous vegetables are loaded with nutrients and considered power foods for fighting chronic disease and cancer.
Broccoli contains many different phytochemicals including sulphoraphane, indoles, beta-carotene, lutein, and quercetins. These phytochemicals may help slow the aging process and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. They have been shown to improve lung function, protect against macular degeneration and cataracts, reduce inflammation on associated with allergies, and even reduce the complications associated with diabetes.
Broccoli in Your Diet
It doesn’t take much to make a significant boost in your family’s nutrition. Just one spear of broccoli counts as a serving towards your “5-9 A Day” and one cup of cooked broccoli contains more than 100 percent of the adult male/female RDA for vitamin C. As little as 1/8 cup of chopped raw broccoli a day can have a significant effect on your risk for developing cancer. The National Cancer Institute ranks broccoli at the top of their list as an all-around anti-aging and anticancer food.
Here are a few suggestions to get even the most stubborn eaters to try this nutritional behemoth.
- Broccoli is delicious raw and makes a super snack.
- Break apart the florets and serve them alone or with a low-fat dip like hummus.
Put a few florets into a Ziploc and send them for lunch.
- Add broccoli to foods like macaroni and cheese, casseroles, pasta sauce (white or red), and breakfast omelets.
- Toss broccoli into your favorite salad.
- Don’t forget the stems! Broccoli stems can be shredded and added to many foods including tacos, wraps, salads, and laws.
- Frozen broccoli can be a great time saver. Just open the bag and steam, sauté, stir fry, or bake.