Food Spotlight: Broccoli


Broccoli has made every top ten list of healthiest foods  that I’ve ever read. It’s fair to say that it is widely known that broccoli is good for you, but why? I’ll tell you! In doing a little research so I could write this post, I learned something cool about broccoli that I didn’t know before. I’m excited to share it with you!

Why It’s Good For You:

Broccoli has been labeled a nutritional powerhouse, and it’s no wonder why. It’s loaded with antioxidants, potassium, calcium, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin A, zaexanthin and lutein. Talk about a bang for your buck.

Broccoli comes from the same family as cabbage, bok choy, kohlrabi, swiss chard and kale. The entire family, called the brassica family of cruciferous vegetables, is rich in anticancer phytochemicals. That means that they actually help fight cancer by neutralizing carcinogens. They do this  by stimulating the release of carcinogen killers which reduces the poisonous effects of the carcinogens  and speeds up their removal from our bodies. Cool huh? Broccoli in particular has proven quite potent in inhibiting mammary tumors. Estrogen plays a big part in mammary tumors, and since we all have estrogen, in different amounts based on gender, broccoli is good for ALL of us.

Zeaxanthin and lutein (both of which are carotenoids) are both being researched deeper as they have demonstrated an ability to greatly reduce and or prevent macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness in adults. Turns out broccoli is just as good  for your eyes as carrots are!

Incorporating Broccoli into Your Diet:

Most people I know don’t like the thought of squishy, slimy, military green broccoli lying lifeless on their plate. No worries, you don’t have to eat it that way…in fact I’m begging you NOT to! Broccoli grows green for a reason! It’s supposed to stay green, not mutate towards brown. Here’s some ideas for making broccoli a little, or a lot, more appealing!

  • When cooking broccoli, try steaming it rather than drowning it in water and boiling the life (and the nutrients) out of it.
  •  If you are set on boiling it, make sure not to cook it to the point of mutilation. Broccoli should be a vibrant green, even when “cooked”.
  • Try eating it raw. Wash the broccoli and cut it into florets, dip in hummus.
  • Add broccoli to salads.
  • Add last minute to your soups.

Curried Chicken and Broccoli

This is my kids favorite way to eat broccoli. They actually beg me to make this at least twice or more a month. It’s a  healthier spin on  chicken divan that I came up with to make it fit into our healthier lifestyle. When I’m in a hurry, I’ll use frozen broccoli from Sam’s or Costco instead of taking the time to cut up a fresh head of broccoli. Also, keeping pre grilled/baked chicken breasts ready to go in the fridge makes this dish a snap to put together. I hope your family enjoys this dish as much as mine does!

  • 6 chicken breasts, skin and all visible fat removed
  • 3 lbs broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 can of healthy request cream of chicken soup
  • 3/4 cup light sour cream
  • 1/2 carton fat free ricotta
  • curry powder, to taste (I use 1-2 Tbs. but my kids like curry…a lot)

Grill or bake the chicken breasts and steam the broccoli. Meanwhile in a saucepan, mix the remaining ingredients together and warm over low to medium heat. When the chicken breasts are cooked through, slice them into strips or bite size chunks, place one chicken breast on each plate. Divide broccoli evenly among the plates as well. Ladle some sauce over the top and sprinkle with a tiny bit of parmesan cheese for the kids. You can also serve the chicken and broccoli over a little bit of brown rice, but usually we just have the chicken and broccoli. YUMMY!

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