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Try More Broccoli

by | Jan 23, 2023 | Lifestyle & Wellness, Wellness

Not sure what greens to stock up for the larder this week?

As the “executive chef” of my home, I often find myself at the vegetable store, wondering what I should be buying to put on the table for the coming week. I want something that is nutritionally robust, versatile, fast to cook and good to eat all at the same time. Does such a wonder green even exist?

Introducing the humble Broccoli; my fail-safe wonder green of choice for both the young and old alike.


Nutritional Value

Broccolis are a nutritional power house containing various vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. Besides various types of vitamin B, zinc, copper, selenium and other anti-oxidants, here’s what you get in a humble cup (76g) of broccoli based on data from the USDA.

  • Energy (calories) 24.3
  • Carbohydrate (g) 4.78 g
  • Fiber (g) 1.82
  • Calcium (milligrams [mg]) 35
  • Phosphorus (mg) 50.9
  • Potassium (mg) 230
  • Vitamin C (mg) 40.5
  • Folate (micrograms [mcg]) 49.4
  • Vitamin A (mcg) 6.08
  • Beta-carotene (mcg) 70.7
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin (mcg) 566 mcg

Feature broccolis regularly on your dining table and you can perhaps cut down some spending on supplementary multi-vitamin pills.


Health Benefits

With all the goodness contained in these little green florets, broccolis are able to provide the following health benefits:

  • Promote healthy bones and joints
  • Support the Immune System
  • Improve Skin Condition
  • Reduce Inflammations
  • Aid Digestion and reduce Constipation
  • Reduce Risk of Cancer
  • Reduce Risk of Diabetes
  • Maintain Health of the Heart
  • Guard against certain types of Cancer
  • Help control Blood Sugar Levels.

Older persons will also be glad to hear that the sulforaphane contained in broccoli can help counter aging effect and reduce wrinkles.


Versatility, Speed & Ease of Cooking

What I particularly love about this green though, is its sheer versatility.

Depending on whether you are cooking for little children, adults or the elderly, you can adjust the texture of this vegetable by using different cooking times and methods.

  • They can be easily made into soups using a hand blender
  • Steamed or boiled till they are soft and tender for those who need or prefer a softer diet
  • Eaten raw, lightly toasted or even air-fried to achieve a crunchy texture
  • Pan fried with other vegetables and proteins to make a one pot wonder
  • Microwaved in five minutes when you are pressed for time

Using these various methods of cooking, a broccoli dish can be easily prepared within 15mins.

Here is a helpful video demonstrating five easy ways to cook broccoli:


Types of Broccoli

There are in fact many types of broccoli to choose from to keep things interesting for the family. The type of broccoli that is most common place is the Calabrese Broccoli. However, the Kai Lan is also a type of broccoli and provides the option for a leafy alternative to the Calabrese.

You may also come across other interesting varieties in the supermarkets such as the:

  • Broccolini
  • Romanesco Broccoli
  • Purple Broccoli

When you see them, why not give them a try and give your family a new experience on their plates.


Choosing and Storing Broccoli

When buying broccoli, the following tips will help ensure you are getting the best and freshest item on the shelves:

  • Check that the broccoli stem is firm and light green, not soft or shriveled, browned or blackened. Some broccoli may start to flower. While broccoli flowers can be eaten, they are probably a sign that the broccoli have been sitting on the shelf for some time or harvested late.
  • The florets should be a nice deep green. If the florets are turning yellowish brown, it’s a sign that the broccoli has been sitting on the shelves for a significant amount of time

In order to keep the broccoli you bought fresh for a longer time, take note of the following:

  • Broccoli needs to be stored cold (i.e. refrigerated) in order to be kept fresh
  • Too much moisture encourages mold growth. Hence do not wash before storing.
  • Allow for ventilation. Do not keep in an air-tight container. If you choose to use a plastic bag, poke some “breathing holes” in it.
  • Fresh Broccoli stored right in the fridge can be kept for up to five days.
  • If you wish to store for longer periods of time, you can blanch the broccoli florets and freeze them after they are dry. Kept in an airtight bag, they will last for up to 12 months in a freezer.


Notes for Elderly Persons

If you are cooking broccoli for elderly persons, do take note of the following:

  • Elderly persons are often on blood thinning medications. As the vitamin K in broccoli help blood to clot, over eating broccoli may have impact on the effects of the medications. Hence keep the broccoli intake to moderate amounts and keep your doctor informed.
  • Broccoli also has high levels of phosphates. Persons with kidney function issues should consult their doctor or dietician on the safe amounts that they can consume.
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