As the local growing season continues to move along here in Vancouver, I am receiving more and more amazing organic vegetables. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been excited because broccoli has been included in my grocery box. Most of us know that broccoli is good for us. But did you know that it’s a superfood?!
I can remember not really enjoying broccoli as a child. But as I grew, I found ways to make the taste more appealing to me. I would use butter, cheese and other toppings to help make it more palatable. However, it wasn’t until recent years that I discovered the best way to make the most flavourful broccoli. The secret is so simple. Buy local, organic broccoli. That’s it! I promise, once you taste organic broccoli that is grown locally, you’ll be overwhelmed with the intensely yummy flavours.
So what makes broccoli a superfood?
Broccoli is astonishingly high in vitamin C, vitamin K and vitamin A. It’s a fantastic source of folate, fiber, manganese and potassium. It’s a pretty good source of some B, magnesium and even omega-3.
Cancer Protection Properties – Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli contain the phytonutrients sulforaphane and the indoles, which have be shown to provide protection against many types of cancer, including lung, breast, colon, ovarian and bladder.
Support Stomach Health – Recent studies are indicating that broccoli works to eliminate Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori – a primary cause of ulcers) from the stomach.
Promote Liver & Skin Detoxification – Sulforaphane not only has anti-cancer effects, but it has also been shown to enhance liver and skin cells’ detoxifying abilities.
Help Repair Sun-Damaged Skin – As well as enhancing skin detoxification, sulforaphane is now being linked to the repair of sun-damaged skin.
Lower Risk of Heart Disease – Although a diet high in clean fruit and vegetables can be beneficial to heart health, broccoli has been specifically recognized as one of the few that contributed directly to a significant drop in the risk of heart disease.
Help Prevent Cataract – Broccoli contains the beneficial phytonutrient antioxidants called lutein and zeaxanthin. These are heavily concentrated in the lens of our eyes and work to protect against free radical damage which can lead to cataracts.
Stronger Bones with Broccoli – One cup of cooked broccoli contains 74 mg of calcium and 123 mg of vitamin C. We all know the importance of calcium for bone health. However, many people are unaware that vitamin C significantly improves calcium’s absorption and assimilation into our body.
Boost Immune System – A single cup of broccoli can provide our Recommended Dietary Allowance of vitamin C which is known to help immunity. That same cup of broccoli also has over 1300 mcg of beta-carotene, as well as useful amounts of zinc and selenium. These traceare cofactors in various immune defensive actions throughout our body.
Prenatal Health – For women planning to conceive, and women in their first trimester of pregnancy, a single cup of broccoli gives 94 mcg of folic acid (folate), which is needed for proper cellular division and DNA synthesis.
You don’t have to look far for many important superfoods like broccoli. We tend to spend a lot of time trying to find the perfect superfood to boost our health. But If we were to focus on the most nutrient-dense superfoods which are grown locally rather than foods that have to be shipped from the other side of the planet and likely lower in nutritional value, perhaps we would see a more substantial increase in our health and wellness.