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  • Dr. Lindsey Faucette

Give Your Body A Broccoli Boost

You are capable of amazing things, but your body and your mind needs the right nutritional fuel to perform at its peak. Broccoli may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of superfoods, but it’s the perfect produce for the boost you need.

While kale is the vegetable darling of the moment, broccoli is a contender for the title of all-time nutrient champ. This over-achieving cruciferous veggie is:

· Full of vitamins C, B, E and K and other healthy minerals, and micronutrients that have many cancer-fighting properties. Broccoli has even more vitamin C than an orange does! And as we know, vitamin C is an excellent vitamin for your hair, skin, teeth, fighting infection and maintaining your red blood cells’ health.

· A wonderful source of dietary fiber and protein, containing 2.6 grams of the former and 2.82 grams of the latter in every 3.5-ounce serving.

· A promoter of enzymes that aid in detoxifying the human body. These same enzymes also help to prevent diabetes, certain forms of cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, and high blood pressure.

· A “mother lode” of basic micronutrients that are thought to combat depression, improve bone strength and aid in digestion.

The best tasting broccoli will have firm, tight, dark green florets. The stalks should be slightly lighter in color. Yellowing broccoli is a sign that it is old and will taste strong; a whitish stalk will be tough and woody. If you refrigerate broccoli in a plastic bag, it should keep up to five days.

Broccoli is a variety of cabbage that has been cultivated by human beings for thousands of years, but it is a relative newcomer to America. Native to the Mediterranean, broccoli was first introduced to the United States by Italian immigrants but did not become widely known here until the 1920s. The word broccoli comes from the Italian for "the flowering crest of a cabbage", and is the diminutive form of brocco, which means "small nail" or "sprout."

You can fix broccoli in so many ways that you never need become bored with it; however, the most popular way to eat broccoli is raw by itself or as a crudité, which are assorted raw vegetables served as hors d'oeuvres, typically with sauces into which they may be dipped. Some of the healthier sauces that pair well with broccoli include hummus, salsa, guacamole, and tahini.

Enjoying broccoli raw will provide you with the most nutritional benefits. On the other hand, many people prefer the milder taste and softer bite of steamed broccoli over that of raw. Whatever the cooking method, it’s important not to overcook broccoli. The steaming process may cause some of the vitamins to be lost, but it preserves broccoli’s nutrients, color, and texture better than boiling.

You can mix broccoli with other vegetables, cover it with melted cheese, or toss a finely-diced handful over a baked potato. Chop and stir it into salads and brown rice bowls. On its own, it is a classic side for nearly any type of beef, pork, poultry, or fish dish. Or for something truly unusual, try adding broccoli as a topping for veggie pizza.

Former president George H. W. Bush famously refuses to eat broccoli, but everyone else should put aside their memories of bedraggled green florets on the school lunch tray and begin eating more broccoli. Whether you're focused on feeling better, or you wish to gain muscle and lose body fat, broccoli is the vitamin-filled and protein-rich vegetable that will boost both your mood and your workout.

Share your favorite broccoli tips in the comments below.

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broccoli

http://weightlossninja.org/history-of-broccoli/

http://www.vegetable-gardening-with-lorraine.com/growing-broccoli.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19519500

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20745689_6,00.html

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© 2020 by Lindsey Faucette, DO