Broccoli is a green vegetable that belongs to the plant species know as Brassica Oleracea. It looks like a miniature tree.
It forms part of the family of cruciferous vegetables, which includes cauliflower, red cabbage, purple cabbage, green cabbage, white cabbage, romanesco, kale and brussels sprouts.
There are three main varieties of broccoli which are purple cauliflower, sprouting broccoli and calabrese broccoli. Broccoli is full of vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants.
The stalk, leaves and florets of the broccoli are all edible. These can be eaten raw or slightly cooked, either lightly steamed or stir fried. The stalk contains the most fibre and the leaves contain the highest cell-protecting antioxidants, Vitamins E and K and calcium. Be careful not to overcook it, otherwise you will lose the vital minerals and vitamins. You must not boil or microwave it or bake or roast it in the oven on high heat. When the broccoli loses its crunchiness, it’s colour and becomes soggy like a mash, it means most of the nutrients have been destroyed.
If you choose to steam broccoli or any other vegetables, this is our recommendation:
Bring the water to boil in your steamer and wash and prepare your vegetables in the meantime. Only when the water is boiling, add the washed and cut vegetables into the steamer, cover the lid and steam for maximum 5 minutes. If you are not serving the steamed vegetables immediately or removing the lid of the steamer, only steam for 2 to 3 minutes as the steam in the closed steamer will continue cooking the vegetables even after the heat has been turned off. If you steam for five minutes, then ensure you remove the lid immediately to stop the vegetables from continuing to cook even after the heat has been turned off.
The water in the steamer may turn slightly green even using the above method. Do not waste or throw away this water as this will contain some vitamins and minerals. Use this water to make a tasty and nutritious vegetable soup by adding other vegetables such as carrots, organic celery, leeks, shallots, garlic and tomatoes.
Broccoli may be served with other vegetables such as cauliflower, parsnips and carrots. You may also garnish the dish with fresh coriander, chives and parsley.
You may have tried cauliflower as a rice substitute. As broccoli is very similar to cauliflower, you may also try broccoli as a rice substitute. Serve the broccoli with chilli if you like your dish spicy. You may also add a teaspoon of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar, a sprinkling of Sel De Guerande Sea Salt for taste and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
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Broccoli contains measurable amount of antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which may prevent oxidative stress and cellular damage in your eyes. These antioxidants can protect eyes against macular degeneration and cataracts.
It is also beneficial for reducing blood sugar, cholesterol levels, oxidative stress, inflammation and chronic disease development. Eating broccoli regularly may also protect against certain types of cancer such as breast, prostate, stomach, kidney and bladder cancers.
Broccoli is rich in fibre and helps support healthy bowel movement and digestive health. It is also a good source of Vitamin C, Calcium and Vitamin K, which are vital nutrients for maintaining strong healthy teeth and bones.
Vitamin C and minerals such as copper and zinc found in broccoli helps in maintaining healthy glowing skin. It also protects the skin from getting infections. These vitamins and minerals also aid healthy hair growth.
It is also a good source of folate or Vitamin B9. Folate is an essential nutrient for the development of the fetal brain and spinal cord. It can therefore ensure healthy pregnancy outcomes.
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