For many years, parents have been exhorting their children to eat broccoli, though not many of them take their parents’ words seriously. Now, the parents have been proved right! Broccoli is one of those wonder vegetables that one cannot have too much of. It is tasty, yes, and it is packed with nutrients and chemicals that fight some diseases and prevent others from attacking us. Broccoli is cheap and easily available. So what is it that makes broccoli so special? For a start, it contains vitamin C that helps in healing wounds and in building resistance to colds. Couple of servings of broccoli will provide us with our daily requirement of vitamin C. Coupled with citrus fruits like oranges, consumption of broccoli will mean that we do not need to have vitamin C supplements as our daily requirement is met naturally.
Calcium And Anti-oxidants
Eat broccoli for the calcium it provides us. Though one serving of broccoli will not provide the calcium one glass of milk gives, broccoli is an important source of the mineral for those who don’t consume dairy products. Calcium is needed to maintain the integrity of bones. Current research has it that calcium plays an important part in preventing colon cancer too. It is also said to help in regulating blood pressure. Beta-carotene (which is a form of vitamin A) and vitamin C are antioxidants that fight free radicals that lead to cancer. Adequate consumption of antioxidants can help in preventing a slew of conditions like cataracts, heart disease and symptoms of early aging. Broccoli is great for those who wish to detox their system as the phytonutrients found in abundance in this vegetable can help the body flush out toxins.
Broccoli’s Role In Supplying Vitamin D
Lack of vitamin D has assumed epidemic proportions in populations right across the globe. Broccoli may come to our help there too. The large reserves of vitamin K and A present in broccoli will help keep vitamin D in balance. Broccoli has an anti-inflammatory action too. This keeps allergies in check. A flavonoid call kaempferol is responsible for this allergy reducing action of broccoli. Broccoli is also an excellent source of fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Humans need both varieties of fiber for their system to work. Broccoli belongs to the cruciferous family of vegetables like cauliflower and cabbage. Nutritionists have been singing paeans to their goodness.
How Much Is Enough?
That brings us to the question of how much broccoli a person needs to consume to get maximum benefit. While measurable benefits accrue from eating ½ a cup of broccoli every day, it is unlikely that anyone would eat broccoli every single day of their lives. It is therefore better to have three cups of broccoli at least four times a week. As with all other vegetables, how one cooks this vegetable is an important factor. It is best eaten steamed when the steaming time is not more than 5 minutes. Do not cook immersed in water as much of the nutrients will leach into the cooking water.