Broccoli: A Tasty Super Food
A big part of achieving your weight-loss goals involves changing your diet. While you can out exercise a bad diet, the level of work and time that requires isn’t aligned with the realities of most women’s day to day lives. So each week we are going to focus on a new food you can add to your diet that will not only aid in weight loss, but improve overall health a well. This week: Broccoli.
Broccoli is High in Calcium
If drinking milk isn’t your thing, eating broccoli can help you get the calcium needed to keep your bones healthy and strong without adding excess fat or calories to your diet. One cup of cooked broccoli contains 74mg of calcium, 123 mg of vitamin C and just 44 calories.
Vitamin C is important because it helps the body absorb calcium better. Just to put things in perspective, a glass of 2% milk has 300mg of calcium but has no vitamin C and 121 calories of which 42 of those calories comes from fat.
Broccoli Can Help Reduce the Risk of Getting Certain Types of Cancers
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable; simply meaning it’s an edible plant. Studies have shown that eating cruciferous vegetables can help reduce the risk of many cancers such as bladder and ovarian cancers.
One study showed that men who ate a serving of broccoli or cauliflower a week halved their chance of getting advance stage prostate cancer.
Also, broccoli contains phytonutrients sulforaphane and indoles which have been shown to boost the body’s ability to rid itself of cancerous cells and for those tumors that do form, they tend to take longer to develop and are smaller in mass.
One cup of cooked broccoli contains 74mg of calcium, 123 mg of vitamin C and just 44 calories.
Helps in Detoxifying the Body
Many phytonutrients work as antioxidants to dislodge compounds before they can damage the DNA. However, new research has shown that the phytonutrients found in broccoli operate at a much deeper level. They signal your genes to increase production of enzymes that help the body detoxify, preventing harmful compounds from ever attaching.
Can Help Repair Sun-Damaged Skin
A recent Johns Hopkins research study showed that Sulforaphane could help repair sun-damaged skin. Sulforaphane is a compound found in broccoli. When broccoli extract was applied to test animals that had been exposed to UV light equivalent to what a sun bather would be exposed to on a clear summer day, the extract counteracted the animals’ carcinogenic response.
Broccoli is High in Fiber
One serving of broccoli has 9 grams of fiber, that’s about 33% of the recommended amount of fiber needed daily. A diet high in fiber helps prevent constipation, aids in weight loss and helps prevent certain digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and hemorrhoids. Fiber is very filling and low in calorie, so a diet high in fiber can help you shed those unwanted pounds
Try this Broccoli Salad Recipe
- Two heads of broccoli will do for an average sized salad. Chop the stem off and cut the flowerets into bite-sized pieces.
- Next, add some chopped vegetables. The most commonly used are onion, celery, carrots, and cauliflower. Just add as much as you like until it looks like a good mix.
- Some people like to add bacon. Fry up 6-8 strips until crispy, drain grease and set aside. Crumble bacon after it’s cooled and add to salad just before serving.
- Any type of cheese can be used. It can be cubed, crumbled, shredded, or creamed as part of a dressing.
- Fruit is often added to these salads, usually raisins. Also popular are grapes, cranberries, chopped apple, mandarin orange pieces, or any dried fruit.
- Adding sunflower seeds or nuts to the mix gives the salad a little extra crunch. Almonds, walnuts, cashews, and hazelnuts are good examples.
Note: Try not to chop the nuts too small. Keeping the pieces larger helps the flavor of the nut stand out a little. Toasting the nuts with a little seasoning is an option as well.
If you would rather not chop up any fruit or nuts just add some trail mix to the salad instead.
Make Your Dressing
The standard dressing for this salad is a basic mayonnaise/vinegar/sugar mix.
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Mayonnaise can be mixed with yogurt to lighten it up.
- Flavored vinegar can be used or substituted with lemon or lime juice.
- Artificial sweetener can be used instead of sugar.
An oil/vinegar dressing can also be used.
- 1/2 cup salad oil
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar(optional)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Flavored cider or wine vinegar is recommended.
- Spices such as celery seed, onion powder, basil, and oregano can be added.
Your favorite bottled dressing can be used as well.
- Any creamy or Italian style dressing will work fine on a broccoli salad.
- A good one to try is a 3-cheese ranch.
Here are a few extras you can add to your salad to mix it up:
- Any canned vegetable such as peas, corn or beans(black, kidney, garbanzo, waxed, etc.).
- Fresh vegetables such as mushrooms, chives, bean sprouts, green beans, cucumber and bell peppers.
- Seafood can make it interesting: shrimp, scallops, salmon, and calamari are good additions.
- Add broccoli flowerets and any other ingredients you are using to your salad bowl. If you are using crumbled bacon or bacon bits add them just before serving.
- Add your dressing, mix and refrigerate 2-4 hours or overnight.
- Stir salad again before serving.