Broccoli, a member of the brassica family of veggies has enjoyed its fair share of fame in the anti-cancer spotlight. Like all members of the brassica family of veggies, broccoli is rich in anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, notably, isothiocyanates, which include sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol.
Broccoli is high in folate, vitamins C and K. It’s also a good source of calcium, iron, and magnesium, while offering smaller amounts of vitamin B6, beta-carotene, potassium, and manganese, dietary fiber and some protein. Though the florets contain the most nutrition, the stalk has plenty of fiber and folate, so don’t throw them out!
It is recommended to fill half your plate with fruit and vegetables. Be sure to include broccoli and other’s in the brassica family on a daily basis to ensure you are consuming these phytonutrients.
When shopping for broccoli, it should feel heavy for its size and have tight, green florets and green leaves. If the stalk is still attached, the stalk should be firm and fresh. Avoid buying broccoli with any brown or yellow spots. Broccoli can be kept in the fridge in an airtight bag for up to a week, and as long as it is stored whole it will preserve its nutrients. If blanched for a couple of minutes and frozen, it can store up to a year.
Broccoli lends itself well to roasting, stir-frying, and steaming. The stems can be cooked using similar methods, but the stem will need to be peeled to remove its woody, fibrous outer layer. Overcooking broccoli not only makes it bitter, but it can also lessen some of the veggie’s beneficial vitamins and compounds.