Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous veg family – if I was using fad-speak I’d say the family of super-veggies. Basically – or should I say, brassically – crucifs pack a big hit of collective benefits in a small space and are notable for their anti-inflammatory powers as well as their ability to support the body’s immense detoxification system.
Brocc is rich in something called sulforaphane – if you want to know the deeper ins and outs of that just Google it, you’ll find LOADS of positivity and magic.
In a nutshell, your body goes through three stages when it’s trying to get rid of ‘unwanteds’ and the second stage is when your liver converts the thing into something that’s easier for your body to eject. But to do that your liver needs a hand from sulforaphane and other magical compounds, a lot of which arrive in your body in the food you eat.
Hello broccoli! 🥦
I don’t think there are many people who haven’t heard mention of inflammation and its effect on disease and health. It appears to be a trigger for all sorts of bodily grief. But inflammation is hard to imagine isn’t it? It’s really just where your tissues get angry and fighty, which is alright if they need to ward something off but if they’re like that All The Time it stops your body from working properly.
Anyway, lovely old broccoli has been shown time after time to ward off, or calm down, inflammation. Don’t you just love it?!
There’s more in the broccoli toolbox
A couple of other things in its toolbox are good levels of chromium, which acts like a helper for insulin to open the doors on each one of your cells and let blood sugar in – which gets it out of your blood, which ultimately stops your hands and feet from dropping off. I’m not even joking – it helps ward off type 2 diabetes, you see.
While broccoli is not going to make or keep you slim all by itself, it has been show to alter the balance of certain gut bacteria and to increase one type that seems to play a role in how much energy our cells burn, i.e. makes them burn more!
What’s the best type of broccoli?
Now then, ‘big brocc’ or Tenderstem? Well, we should eat both those types, and all colours, of brocc. The larger-headed broccoli has more of that magic sulforaphane but the more stemmy type, such as purple sprouting, which is in-season as I post this, provides different types of phytonutrients. Varying your broccoli is the way forward, as it is with all food.
How to cook broccoli
Fast and without much water! It needs less than five minutes in a pan with only a little water in it, or steam it quickly if you have a steamer. Boiling it up in a great big pan of water will mean loads of its goodness floats away and you will end up with a plate of flabberdy, pale broccoli as opposed to a plate of vibrant broccoli that retains some beautifiul bite; stir frying it will mean the high heat degrades some of its goodness but is HUGELY preferable to the big ol’ pan method.
And that’s it for broccoli, for now!