It may surprise you to hear this, but broccoli is actually a man-made food. It’s a derivative of cabbage, and was selectively bred from the flowering buds of the wild cabbage plants found in the Mediterranean almost 1,000 years ago. Broccoli has been a valuable source of nutrition among many cultures, but it wasn’t introduced to England and America until the 1700s.
Broccoli has anti-inflammatory benefits which can help protect the body from potentially dangerous toxins, and is rich in phytonutrients, with just 100 grams containing two days’ worth of vitamin C. Broccoli is dense in a particular phytonutrient called kaempferol, which has the ability to reduce the impact of allergens and help lower the risk of chronic inflammation.
Broccoli is also full of dietary fiber, which can benefit children’s regularity by supporting the movement of food through the digestive system. Another benefit is the presence of glucosinolates, which is a phytonutrient that is converted by our bodies into isothiocyanates, which help protect the stomach lining by preventing an overgrowth of bacteria. Broccoli also contains two carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin) that are important in supporting eye health.
While broccoli may not be a favorite among some children, there are so many different ways in which you can cook it. However, the best way is to quick steam it for four minutes, as overcooked broccoli loses much of its flavor and nutrients. You can mix it in with spaghetti, or combine it with chicken and baked potatoes, or even in a soup. If your children have a bit of a sweet tooth, you can try your hand at baking savoury muffins with broccoli and cheese, which can be perfect for breakfast or an afternoon snack.