Real Food Profile: Broccoli

by | Oct 16, 2022 | Nutrition, Real Food

Image: Shutterstock

Learn how to prepare broccoli to unlock a wealth of health benefits.

We all know that you should eat your broccoli, but could the way you cook it make it even healthier?

Broccoli, in all its green glory, is truly a nutrient-dense food. It’s packed with vitamins, minerals, and other plant compounds with powerful antioxidant effects, like polyphenols. In fact, this superfood has anti-cancer properties and anti-inflammatory properties and is protective of the liver and heart. Eating broccoli can even help prevent obesity and diabetes.

But, beware! This healthy goodness is especially susceptible to cooking errors. Of course, cooking can impact the taste of broccoli (anyone else been scarred by a mushy brown broccoli experience?), but improper cooking can also impact just how many nutrients end up on your plate and in your bloodstream. So, you’ll want to prepare broccoli properly to reap its rewards while also enjoying its taste (don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you’re expected to chomp on raw broccoli stalks).

Here’s what you should know:

The bad news: Microwaving causes a significant decrease in polyphenols, stir frying causes a decrease in Vitamin C, and boiling causes a decrease and loss of micronutrients and Vitamin C. These methods are obviously out.

The good news: Cutting and chopping broccoli releases an enzyme that elevates anticarcinogenic properties.  And steaming actually enhances antioxidant and anticarcinogenic effects, with little-to-no loss of some vitamins and other beneficial compounds.

So…steaming reigns supreme! Not only does it preserve the nutrients in fresh broccoli, but it also enhances the body’s ability to extract the nutrients more efficiently than when consumed raw (which is why steaming is even better than munching raw broccoli).

Search your local supermarket and farm stands for the healthiest and greenest broccoli you can find. The degree of greenness, due to the chlorophyll content, is one way to determine the quality of green vegetables. Then head home to chop and steam (for just 2-3 minutes) and you’ll be reaping a wealth of benefits.

Here’s one of our favorite chopped and steamed broccoli recipes:

Fundamentals of Health Alliance

Fundamentals of Health Alliance

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The Fundamentals of Health Alliance works to publish useful and reliable information about nutrition and health. Their mission is to empower readers to be informed with honest, non-biased information about food, nutrition and the vital components of health.

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