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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Broccoli, Why It's a Smart Food Choice For YOU

Broccoli, Why It's a Smart Food Choice For YOU

Stir Fry Ginger Broccoli, Carrots, Red Pepper, on Brown Basmati Rice

Broccoli is a key weapon in the dietary arsenal against serious health issues. This flowery green vegetable boosts the immune system, lowers the incidence of cataracts, supports cardiovascular health, helps with Vitamin D absorption, and contributes to bone health. Case Adams, PhD in Natural Health Sciences explains, “Researchers from Italy have recently determined that broccoli will cut inflammation within hours. And eating broccoli for just ten days will cut the body’s inflammation by more than half.”

Following are shopping tips, preparation ideas, and serving suggestions that make eating broccoli simple, delicious, economical, and nutritionally savvy.

Note: Use organic vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds whenever possible, because organic produce tastes better, is healthier for you, and doesn't pollute the planet.

Shop for broccoli at a farmers' market, health food store, or pick it fresh from your home garden. In fact, learn why growing your own broccoli sprouts (indoors year round)  is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve one’s diet. Biggest-Nutrition-Bang-for-Your-Buck/

On your food shopping run, select fresh broccoli that has dark green, tight, dense florets, or flowers. Leaves and stalk should be firm and fresh-looking too. Flash frozen broccoli is a suitable replacement, when the fresh variety looks yellow or is wilted.

Store broccoli in the crisper compartment of your refrigerator for a few days, but don't wash until ready to use. Broccoli is inexpensive and is available throughout the year in most supermarkets.

The easiest way I've found to clean and prep broccoli is to rinse it in cold water. If broccoli seems sandy, soak in cold water and rinse until clean. Use a sharp paring knife and cut across the head, below the florets. Separate each individual flower into a bite-size piece. Don't discard the stalk and leaves; they are edible. The stalk is rich in fiber and the leaves are rich in nutrients. Cut off the tough bottom part of the stalk and the hard outer covering. Chop in small pieces, as the stalk takes longer to cook than the florets.

Broccoli should retain its bright Kelly green color, even after it is cooked. Quick cooking (steaming) is the healthiest method to use, because it retains the most nutrients. Don't steam for more than 5 minutes tops. If you accidentally overcook broccoli, it tastes strong and bitter. One way to remedy this is to sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon of salt or low sodium soy sauce to mask the bitter taste.  

To add a lively dimension to broccoli’s flavor, sprinkle on fresh cut dill, basil, oregano, browned minced garlic, or a seasoning blend that combines a medley of flavors. Add zing to this powerhouse of nutrition, by splashing on a teaspoon of lemon juice or a ½ teaspoon of mild flavored vinegar.

Uncooked broccoli is a crunchy addition to green salads, coleslaw, potato salad, and bean salad. Add raw pieces of broccoli including leaves and stalks to any vegetable salad.

Eat florets, leaves, and stalk of Broccoli

Broccoli is in the same plant family with cauliflower, cabbage, garden cress, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts. This green vegetable is a mighty source of folate, vitamin C, calcium, beta carotene, vitamin K and iron. "As little as 10 grams a day or 1/8 cup of chopped broccoli can have a significant effect on reducing your risk for developing cancer," advises Dr. Steven G. Pratt, author of SuperFoods Rx: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life.

Meatless Monday Salad with Broccoli, Black Beans, Quinoa Tabbouleh, and Pumpkin Seeds

Here’s another simple, delicious recipe you'll love. It comes from Saveur Magazine.  Steamed Broccoli with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Pine Nuts.

Note: if you prefer, you can substitute cashews or walnuts. They are more economical and easier to find.

Serve broccoli often, because it makes a great addition to any meal and can be easily incorporated into a stir fry, pasta dish, soup, casserole, or stew. If it’s handled properly and not overcooked, this plant powerhouse will nourish and energize you and make you and your family sing its praises.

The quote for today follows:

 “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”  ~Hippocrates

Please take a moment to comment below. Do you eat broccoli often and how do you like to serve it? Did you learn anything new about this superfood? I welcome hearing about your tips and vegan recipes that include broccoli. If you like what you see, please spread the word. Sharing is caring.

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Thanks for Visiting

Hope you enjoyed your visit and will return again. Be well. Live well. Lead a colorful life! Warm regards, Nan