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Superfood: Broccoli


By Stefanie Cassetto

Broccoli

Your mom always told you to eat your veggies and this week's superfood is proving her right. As we shift our focus to women's health we want to shine the spotlight on the benefits of adding more broccoli to your diet.

Love/Hate Relationship

Yes. Broccoli. It gets a bad rap. It's not a fan favorite. It even got the thumbs down from President Bush when he declared he would no longer eat it. But this humble vegetable that has been the source of turned up noses around many dinner tables, packs a cancer-fighting punch that should be taken seriously. Holding strong at the top of superfood lists, it has properties that researchers say can stop breast cancer in its tracks. Since breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death among women of all races, knowing about the foods that help prevent cancer from developing is a good tool to have in the back pocket.

Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, and its cousins cauliflower and brussels sprouts contain a chemical called sulforaphane. It is this chemical that has been found to target cells that make tumors grow and has the power to stop them in their tracks.

Another healthy option would be adding broccoli sprouts to your diet. These are simply broccoli plants that haven't matured yet. They can easily be added to a meal by sprinkling them on a salad or adding them to your favorite wrap. Research at Johns Hopkins Medical Center have shown that three-day-old broccoli sprouts contain 20 to 50 times the amount of cancer-preventing chemo-protective compounds found in mature broccoli heads.

More Good Reasons to Love Broccoli

As though being a cancer fighting food wasn't enough … this healthy vegetable is also loaded with fiber, vitamin C, and calcium. It can enhance detoxification, has cholesterol-lowering benefits, aids in anti-inflammation, and is loaded with anti-oxidants. Broccoli also shows evidence in its favor for decreasing the risk of prostate cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, and bladder cancer.

There are many ways to enjoy this veggie. Steamed broccoli is the healthiest way to eat it cooked. Make sure you don't steam it too long to ensure all of the nutritional benefits. It should not be too soft or mushy. Broccoli can easily be added to pasta, or stir-fry dishes. It can be eaten raw and sprinkled on salads.

So, if you are one of the many on this planet who doesn't like broccoli, maybe it's time to give it another try. The health benefits are far too great to ban it from your menu forever. And, for all those broccoli fans out there … keep putting it in the grocery cart and on your table.

Try this gluten-free, broccoli-inspirted recipe.



Broccoli Winter Slaw

The Slaw
Ingredients:

  • 1 head broccoli
  • 10 brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 head Napa cabbage
  • 2 stalks celery

The Dressing
Ingredients:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise, fresh-made if possible
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • kosher salt and cracked pepper to taste

Preparation:

Prepping the vegetables. Take off all the little florets of the broccoli head. Peel the outer layer of the broccoli stalks and slice them in half lengthwise, then dice them (about 1/2-inch cubes). Remove the outer layer of the brussels sprouts. Cut each Brussels sprout in half. Slice the halves as thin as you can. (You could use a mandoline here, but you don't have to do so.) Cut the Napa cabbage in half. Remove the core and slice as fine as you can. Slice the celery down the middle, lengthwise, then dice the celery stalks the same size as the broccoli stalks. Combine all the vegetables in a large bowl.

Making the dressing. Mix the mayonnaise, mustard, and rice wine vinegar. Season it with salt and pepper to taste. If you want the dressing a touch thinner, add a bit more vinegar or a smidge of water.

Finishing the salad. Coat the vegetables with the dressing. Season the salad to your taste. Feeds 4.

Link to recipe: http://glutenfreegirl.com/broccoli-winter-slaw/


http://www.lifescript.com/Body/Food/Good-foods/10_Superfoods_Women_Must_Eat.aspx

http://www.nhs.uk/news/2010/05May/Pages/broccoli-and-breast-cancer.aspx

http://www.livestrong.com/article/368213-broccoli-sprouts-breast-cancer/

http://nutrition.about.com/od/fruitsandvegetables/a/broccolisprouts.htm

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=9