Tegan Philp, nutritional therapist for CNM’s Natural Chef Kitchen, shines the light on broccoli
Each month, the College of Naturopathic Medicine lifts the lid on a favourite health food and January sees broccoli take centre stage. Nutritional therapist Tegan Phelps explains why we should enjoy mini trees with our meals and shares possibly the easiest salad recipe we’ve ever tried.
Broccoli is a very good source of dietary fibre which helps support your digestive system. Soluble fibre from vegetables binds to toxins residing in your gut, helping to flush them out when you have a bowel movement. In just one cup of broccoli there is a helpful 5.1 grams of dietary fibre.
The liver is our primary organ of detoxification, helping to clear toxins from the body. In conjunction with being high in fibre, broccoli also contains plant-based protective compounds called Isothiocyanates which help our liver to filter and detoxify our blood. If possible, always buy organic as pesticides sprayed on non-organically farmed foods are an added toxin, forcing the liver to work harder in the detoxification process.
Broccoli is great for our blood and circulatory system. The phytonutrients (plant nutrient compounds) in the vegetable protect us from the risk of having a heart attack or stroke by helping to deliver fresh blood to our arteries, keeping them ‘unclogged’.
Broccoli has an impressive profile of vitamins, including being a very good source of vitamins C, E and K. These are high in antioxidants which can ward off the signs of ageing. By adding an extra serving of broccoli to your diet, you can boost your antioxidant status which will help to stave off wrinkles, keeping your complexion bright and youthful.
Broccoli contains a wonderful antioxidant-protecting compound called sulforaphane. Studies show that this naturally occurring compound may prevent various diseases, including cancer. The sulforaphane contained in broccoli helps to fight disease by protecting our cells from mutating and becoming abnormal in the first place.
Add it to stir-frys, salads, quiches or soups.
Eat it as a side dish or blend it into dips.
Eat it raw – it’s delicious with hummus or a fresh beetroot dip.
Make broccoli frittatas for breakfast on the run, or as a healthy lunch-box snack.
Tegan says: “Steamed broccoli is very gentle on our digestive system. When eaten raw, broccoli delivers maximum nutrients, as the enzyme content does not diminish through the cooking process. Enzymes are chemical catalysts that help us to break down food in the digestive process.”
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