Food focus: Broccoli

Food focus: Broccoli

Broccoli is a real nutrition powerhouse. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals, including potassium, folate, calcium and vitamin C (which also acts as a powerful cell-protecting antioxidant). Broccoli also contains plenty of dietary fiber as well as two particularly health-giving phytochemicals — sulforaphane and indol-3-carbinol. Scientific research has found that sulforaphane guards against cancer by stimulating the production of protective enzymes that detoxify carcinogens (cancer causing compounds). Indol-3-carbinol has been found to reduce breast cancer risk by preventing estrogen overproduction. A Harvard study even found that a high intake of broccoli reduced bladder cancer risk in men.

Broccoli is also quite a good source of vegetable protein (a cup of cooked broccoli contains around 5 grams) and it’s low in calories while being nice and filling, so it’s an ideal food to help you stay in shape.

Apart from its health-giving qualities, broccoli is also a fantastic food because it’s so delicious and versatile. Broccoli is used extensively in Asian and Mediterranean cooking.

We love adding broccoli florets to stir-fries and noodle dishes, but broccoli is equally at home in a pasta dish or a curry. Steamed broccoli drizzled with a little olive oil also makes a great accompaniment to grilled fish or chicken. Raw or lightly blanched broccoli can even be added to salads or served as part of a plate of vegetable crudités. Another tasty way to enjoy broccoli is in warming soups. You can also use broccoli in Thai green fish curry instead of green beans; replace the zucchini in Salmon risotto with broccoli; or replace the red pepper with broccoli in Pesto pasta with chicken.

Here are a few of our favorite Mediterranean and Asian recipes that include broccoli:

Pasta with tuna, broccoli, olives, sun-dried tomatoes and basil
Crispy-fried tofu with stir-fried vegetables and soy-sesame sauce
Tofu and cashew chow mein
Basil and almond pesto pasta with broccoli, peas and zucchini
Chicken, broccoli and mushroom stir-fry
Fast-roasted broccoli with toasted almond and basil sauce