Broccoli

broccoli-florets

If you are lucky enough to have a flourishing vegetable garden, a neighbor with a green thumb, or a local farmer’s market, get a huge bunch of gorgeous green stalks and cook the broccoli when it is fresh. The potency of Vitamin C begins to diminish several days after being harvested.

To get the maximum benefits, you need to cut the stems lengthwise, remove the florets, and let them sit for 5 to 6 minutes before you cook them. This allows the glucosinolates to convert to isothiocyanates which has been showing promising results in cancer preventing research. You can also squeeze some lemon juice onto the broccoli to speed up the process.

Our good friend and neighbor, Tim surprised us the other day with some organic broccoli and lettuce from his garden. We ate all of it within 2 days. It is amazing how much better fresh vegetables taste.

I usually steam the broccoli but this time I sautéed it in garlic, lemon juice and some homemade chicken stock. My husband was doing the warrior dash so I figured he could use some chondroitin and glucosamine in the stock. The kids and their friends devoured it so I will definitely saute it again.

I did cook it a little longer than recommended to make sure it was soft enough for the kids. My kids do not like the crunch as much and I think it is better to cook it a couple minutes longer to ensure they eat an appropriate portion of it. Otherwise, they will miss out on the vitamins in this superfood. Ideally, you want to eat 1/2 a cup a day or 2 cups twice a week.

One thing you may not know is how you prep and cook it may affect how much benefit you will receive from the sprouts. Steaming is the best option so the vitamins do not leach out into the water. When you lightly steam it, the broccoli should have a slight crunch and a vibrant green color. Steaming in the microwave is not recommended since the chemicals in the plastic can be absorbed into the food.

Steam for 5 to 6 minutes. The florets cook faster than the stems so remove them first. If you saute the broccoli, I recommend heating the olive oil and garlic and cook until fragrant. Then, add the chicken stock and broccoli and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Cook to the desired softness. You do not want the broccoli to be mushy so check it after 4 minutes. Sprinkle a pinch of Celtic salt or oregano sage salt. Enjoy!

Why you should eat this!

Broccoli can lower your cholesterol, may greatly reduce your risk of cancer, can remove sun damage, improve your cardiovascular system, improve the metabolism of vitamin D due to the potent vitamin K and A, and reduce inflammation.

Broccoli is packed with vitamins and phytonutrients. This green is an excellent source of Vitamin C, A, K and folate (folic acid) to build your immune system, improve your digestive issues as well as prevent birth defects in your unborn child.

If you have thyroid issues, limit eating broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprouts or discuss with your doctor.

What the vitamins in broccoli do for you:

  • Vitamin C- immune builder
  • Vitamin K- anti-inflammatory
  • Folate-crucial during pregnancy, improves IBS and Crohn’s disease symptoms, prevents anemia since it is essential to produce red blood cells
  • Vitamin A- can prevent skin and other cancers by removing free radicals in your system that can negatively affect your DNA
  • Fiber- improves your digestive system
  • Potassium- an electrolyte that conducts electricity and balances fluid as well as improves tissue and muscle function; can decrease muscle cramps and “charley horses”
  • Tryptophan- skin glowing
  • Manganese- essential for metabolizing glucose and vitamins to construct muscles, bones and tissues as well as helps with weight management and brain function, removes inflammation, helps sprains, low levels can trigger epileptic seizures, can improve sexual libido, and can reduce PMS
  • B vitamins- improves skin and energy levels
  • Magnesium- relieves stress, helps your body digest carbs and fats and convert to energy, can improve bloating and in excess acts as a laxative
  • Calcium- essential for bone health
  • Vitamin E- improves skin, decreases fibroids, can decrease chance of ALS

References:
http://ibdcrohns.about.com/od/dietandnutrition/p/folicacid-ibd.htm
http://naturecure.ygoy.com/2012/01/10/why-manganese-is-so-important/
http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?dbid=9&tname=foodspice
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=george&dbid=64
http://www.livestrong.com/potassium-benefits/

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Recipe by Back To Organic at http://backtoorganic.com/broccoli/