Broccoli grows in thick green stalks topped with umbrella-shaped clusters of dark green florets. Look for firm stalks and tightly closed florets. Florets should be blue-green or purplish-green; yellow-green broccoli is older and likely to have a strong flavor and odor. Very wide stems may be too woody to eat.
* Vitamins A, C, K, folate
* cancer-preventing compounds sulforaphane, isothiocyanate and indoles
* Special cholesterol-lowering benefits when cooked by steaming. The fiber-related components in broccoli do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they’ve been steamed. When this binding process takes place, it’s easier for bile acids to be excreted, and the result is a lowering of your cholesterol levels.
* Aids in detoxification. Glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiian, and glucobrassicin are 3 glucosinolate phytonutrients found in a special combination in broccoli and work together to support all steps in body’s detox process, including activation, neutralization, and elimination of unwanted contaminants.
* An unusually strong combination of both vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene) and vitamin K. Ample supplies of vitamin K and vitamin A help keep our vitamin D metabolism in balance.
* A particularly rich source of a flavonoid called kaempferol. Recent research has shown the ability of kaempferol to lessen the impact of allergy-related substances on our body.
* In regard to cancer-prevention: In a way that might be unique among foods, the nutrients found in broccoli are able to change the connection between inflammation, oxidative stress, detox and cancer. In fact, it would be fair to describe broccoli as containing anti-inflammatory nutrients, antioxidant nutrients, detox-support nutrients, and anti-cancer nutrients as well! (To read more in depth on this topic, http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=9)
Tips for Use:
* Refrigerate in a loosely sealed plastic bag for up to 3 days.
* When ready to cook, separate stalks from florets. Trim ends and peel stems with paring knife, and cut into bite-sized pieces.
* Wash thoroughly.
* Overcooked broccoli becomes soft and mushy, an indication that it has lost both nutrients and flavor. Begin by cutting broccoli florets into quarters and let sit for several minutes before cooking to enhance its health-promoting benefits. Steam for 5 minutes.
* At a minimum, include cruciferous vegetables as part of your diet 2-3 times per week, and make the serving size at least 1-1/2 cups. **Even better from a health standpoint, enjoy broccoli and other vegetables from the cruciferous vegetable group 4-5 times per week, and increase your serving size to 2 cups.