As a child, I loved these vibrant green “little trees.” I’d pick them apart, examine the smaller, and – chomp – ! Broccoli became one of my favorite vegetables simply because I thought they looked cool. The concept that these were some form of miniature edible tree, fascinated my childhood self. My true love for broccoli came after I found out how amazing they really are for you.
The textured green bundle has an abundance of healthy rewards. Stemming from the cabbage family, broccoli was originally cultivated in Europe, more specifically Italy. It
was brought to America before the 1800s, and has since been widely grown throughout the country for several decades. California is the country’s biggest harvester, and quickly became the number one recommended diet staple for anyone looking to not just lose weight, but take steps towards a healthy lifestyle.
Broccoli has been known to aid the symptoms of as well as even help prevent chronic illnesses including diabetes, anemia, heart disease, and cancer. All three of these ailments are major issues within Indian Country. Having consistent doses of broccoli in one’s diet can help control diabetes from its amazing nutrient dense fibers and detoxifying the body thanks to antioxidants.
The green low sodium, low-calorie, fat-free, nutrient-rich powerhouse has helped humans stay healthy and with its high fiber table has been a staple in many weight loss nutrition plans. Its high fiber content, broccoli can actually aid in digestion and even constipation. Fiber rich diets are good for weight loss as well as a great way to help lower cholesterol levels. However, broccoli’s fiber properties can also irritate the bowels and is known to cause gas. The good news – gas isn’t a permanent symptom, and it by no means outweighs the benefits of consuming broccoli regularly. In fact, by consuming it more often, you’ll lower your flatulent tendencies!
When battling anemia one can suffer from fatigue, a compromised immune system, making you prone to infections, and an inability to focus. Buying fresh, green and tight bunches of this vegetable can be the first step to getting your daily recommended dose of iron. Eating just one (1) cup of broccoli has 2 mg of iron, out of the recommended 10 mg of an adults’ daily value.
Broccoli has an abundance of vitamins and minerals aside from iron, some of which are vitamin C & E, calcium, beta carotene, amino acids, folate, potassium and tons of phytonutrients that contribute to good health. Broccoli’s beta-carotene can actually help the body’s absorption of iron. When consumed, beta-carotene also gets converted inside the body into Vitamin A. The nutrients in Vitamin A helps physical growth and development, improves skin, and benefits eye health.
The vegetable’s amino acids, phytonutrients and antioxidants encourage the body’s blood health and is a natural detoxifier. Antioxidants aid the liver in its function to cleanse the blood and prevent cancer and cirrhosis due to their effects on free radicals which cause cell damage in the body.
Preserving & Cooking Broccoli:
When shopping, choose a fresh broccoli bundle that has vibrant green florets. Making sure that the florets are tight and firm.
After taking your vita-rich veggie home, make sure to wash it and store it in a cool place, wrapping it in a damp paper towel. This will allow you to keep it for about 3 days before it becomes questionable.
Pro Tip 1: If you are looking to keep some fresh florets longer, try freezing your broccoli or simply by fresh-to-frozen bundles at the store.
You can eat broccoli in MANY ways: steamed, boiled, chopped, raw… You can even add broccoli to smoothies for on-the-go eating!
Add broccoli to soups, salads, omelettes or pasta dishes to give your meals a nutrient boost too!
Pro Tip 2: Eating just 3 servings of broccoli a week can help play a role in fighting and preventing cancer!