While every child learns the nutritious benefits of green, leafy vegetables, they are rarely the most enjoyable item at the dinner table. While other vegetables, such as spinach, are known for their health benefits, broccoli has the advantage in terms of taste and popularity. Fat-free and high in fiber, broccoli boasts a wide array of nutrients. it is high in fiber, very high in vitamin C and has potassium, B6, and vitamin A, as well as a large amount of protein for a vegetable.
These nutrients are all anti-oxidants which remove unstable molecules from the body before they damage cells, and thus combat cancer and clogged arteries. Broccoli also enjoys high levels of phytochemicals which give plants their color, smell, and flavor, but which also benefit the immune system. The fiber can combine with bad cholesterol and remove it from the body, thus reducing harmful cholesterol levels in the blood.
In addition to reducing cholesterol, the sulforaphane in broccoli is an anti-inflammatory which can prevent or reverse damage to blood vessel linings caused by chronic blood sugar problems. And the vegetable’s B-complex vitamins can help regulate or reduce excessive homocysteine, which is associated with heart disease by converting it to a less harmful molecule.
Usually sautéed or steamed, I recommend you try a whole head of broccoli roasted in the oven with olive oil. Boiled, (which often means over-boiled) broccoli is the least healthy way of preparing it because of most of the nutrients leach out into the water. It can be eaten raw, although it is often combined with a crudité dip which undoes all the healthy benefits of the vegetable itself. The young vegetables make an interesting addition to a salad.