Our vegetable of the week is Broccoli.
It’s time to learn about the health benefits of broccoli!
It’s a nutrient dense powerhouse and called a “superfood” for good reason!
According to a poll done in 2019 by Green Giant, broccoli was voted the favorite vegetable among Americans. Broccoli is definitely one of my favorite veggies! Whether you enjoy it raw, added to salads, oven roasted, steamed, covered in cheese, or added to your soups, there’s loads of vitamins and nutrients in broccoli.
With just 30 calories per cup, broccoli is one of the absolute best weight loss friendly foods. And these are 30 nutrient dense calories! If you are trying to lose weight and are reducing calories, you want to consume nutrient dense foods to provide your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to keep you healthy and full of energy.
Think of it like this… 30 calories of chocolate (what, is that like 1 bite of chocolate? And who even eats just 1 bite of chocolate? Not me!) Anyways, 30 calories of chocolate are not the same as 30 calories of broccoli. While foods like chocolate are super yummy, they do not provide many, if any nutrients to fuel our bodies and protect it from diseases. I promise you, you would NOT feel satisfied with just 30 calories of chocolate either!
Broccoli can help you fill your plate and still lose weight!
But…. You would feel more satisfied and way FULLER after eating a cup of broccoli.
Not sure what to do with it and want to know the health benefits of broccoli? Keep reading…..
So, let’s jump into the health benefits of broccoli and the magic that fills them!
1 cup of broccoli supplies 135% of the recommended daily intake for vitamin C! Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and boosts our immune system. Studies are showing promise that it may even help fight skin cancer. Vitamin C may help reduce the severity and length of the common cold. You can read more on the benefits of vitamin C here.
Broccoli is excellent for weight loss because it is low in calories and high fiber! Fiber helps us feel fuller longer and is great for digestion and gut health. Women should eat 25 grams per day and men should eat 38 grams per day or more. However, most Americans only consume about 15 grams of fiber per day. Eating a diet high in fiber has been shown to reduce our cholesterol and reduce our chances of developing type 2 diabetes. You can read more details on the importance of fiber here.
Broccoli is unique in that it contains several of the nutrients needed for strong bones and teeth. There is 116% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin K in 1 cup of broccoli and it also has 47 grams of calcium. Those 2 key nutrients combined with the potassium, phosphorus and magnesium, copper, zinc, iron and vitamins B, C and A found in broccoli all work together to improve our bone density and help slow down the loss of bone mass. This is especially needed for women as we age. We naturally lose bone density and bone mass. Ladies, please eat more broccoli! Want to learn about the amazing benefits of vitamin K?
This superfood has multiple and very potent antioxidants. Antioxidants slow or even prevent damage from being done to our healthy cells and this reduces our risks of heart disease and cancer. Antioxidants are primarily found in fruits and vegetables and studies are showing that they are key to preventing and fighting cancer. We all need to be eating more fruits and vegetables and consume more antioxidants. I explain more about the amazing benefits of antioxidants here.
Broccoli is rich in 2 special antioxidants called zeaxanthin and lutein. These 2 antioxidants help improve our vision and slow down ocular cell damage caused from aging.
This powerhouse vegetable also has plant-based omega 3 fatty acids and these fatty acids help reduce inflammation in our body.
As you can see, there are many, MANY health benefits of broccoli. It’s a SUPERFOOD for good reason. Lots of healthy benefits for only 30 calories! Did I mention it’s lower in carbs as well? Only 3g net carbs per cup.
How to choose the perfect broccoli to maximize the health benefits.
Broccoli is readily available all year round, but broccoli is in peak season from October-April in North America.
When choosing your broccoli, look for one that has green florets, not yellow or white in color. The florets should also be compact and tight and not opening. The stems or stalk should be firm.
How to store, cook and prepare broccoli:
Storing your broccoli
Broccoli will keep fresh up to 7 days when stored in a crisper drawer in the fridge. Try to avoid storing or wrapping it in plastic as broccoli likes to breathe. It’s best stored uncut and wrapped in paper towels.
Ways to cook and prepare broccoli: I love to oven roast broccoli. Simply chop into pieces and drizzle with olive oil. You can sprinkle it with your favorite seasoning for added flavor. Oven roast at 350* for 20-30 minutes. Bake longer if your pieces are bigger. You can also sprinkle with some parmesan cheese ½ way through baking. DELISH!
I recently bought a refillable olive oil sprayer. I now just lightly spray my veggies on the baking sheet. Cuts down on the oil and calories!
Broccoli is a welcome addition to almost any salad. Whether it’s a leafy green salad or even a pasta salad, broccoli adds great flavor and nutrients. You can top off a salad with raw or cooked broccoli.
Broccoli salad with mayo, bacon and cheese is a wonderful low carb side dish. You can even add in raisins, craisins or apples for a touch of sweetness. This does add in more carbs but healthy ones.
Broccoli and cheese is a marriage made in heaven! Think of adding broccoli to your next macaroni and cheese or serving it on the side. Make an omelet with added broccoli and cheese. Broccoli and cheese quiche is amazing! Broccoli and cheese soup-YUM! Top a baked potato with broccoli and cheese. Making alfredo? Be sure to add broccoli or serve it on the side.
Stir fry on the menu? Broccoli is the first ingredient I add! Pairs nicely with all kinds of Asian sauces.
Keep things simple by just adding broccoli to a variety of other vegetables and oven roast the medley together. Delicious and nutritious!
What is your favorite way to eat broccoli?
Be sure to share your recipes let us know in the Veggie Obsessed Facebook group!
How to grow Broccoli
Now that you know the Health Benefits of Broccoli, it’s time to dig into how to grow it!
Even if you don’t have a green thumb and have ZERO intention of growing your own broccoli, I think it’s important that we know how our food grows and what it looks like as it grows.
Here is what broccoli sprouts looks like:
Broccoli Seedlings ready for the garden.
The seeds germinate and grow rather slowly. It takes about 6-10 weeks to have decent sized seedlings that are ready to be planted in the garden.
Broccoli takes about 100-150 days from seed to harvest. The plants get rather large. Once the main head of broccoli is cut, there will be little side shoots of broccoli that grow. They won’t be nearly as large as the main head but you can usually pick enough for another meal of broccoli.
Now you know the Health Benefits of Broccoli, will you be adding them to your meal plan?
Have additional ways to cook and prepare broccoli? I’d love to hear all about them! Be sure to comment below or share them in our Veggie Obsessed Facebook Group!
Hey there my friend! My name is Jodie Crandall and I’m a veggie loving certified health and nutrition coach on a journey to spread the word about how amazing veggies are for our health! I am a self-proclaimed “plant-based meat eater” who has recently lost almost 50 pounds by eating more veggies!