Ok, so we all know broccoli is good for us and we should just eat it right? Not so fast: did you know the healthiest version of broccoli only takes FOUR minutes to cook? You get the most bang for your broccoli buck by quickly steaming this vegetable for 4 minutes or less. Not only does this lead to a great, bright green color and perfectly firm texture, studies show that this method allows it to retain the MOST nutrients (especially vitamin C and sulforaphane). This, in turn, translates to better health benefits, including both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. The compound sulforaphane in broccoli helps to combat excess inflammation, which can be a contributing factor to some types of cancers and even lead to high blood pressure and heart disease. Additionally, this veggie is packed with vitamins A (carotenoids), C, E, K, and folate (and other B vitamins), as well as key minerals: chromium, manganese, selenium, and zinc, AND many phytonutrients. Together these compounds act as an antioxidant powerhouse to help squash free radicals that can cause damage to our cells and wreak havoc on our health. Broccoli also aids in the natural detoxification process that occurs in our body when exposed to toxins. It supports improved digestion with its high fiber content and prevents bacterial overgrowth in the stomach.
Remember: be careful not to overcook, because this can destroy nutrients and significantly reduce health benefits!
Shopping/Storing tips: Select the broccoli with the deepest color green florets. Studies show this contains the highest level of carotenoids. Store unwashed (water can lead to spoiling), uncut (cutting can lead to nutrient loss) in an airtight plastic bag/container in fridge, and it can keep for up to 10 days. Cooked broccoli can be stored in an airtight container for a few days. Blanched then frozen broccoli is good for up to a year.
Recommended intake: 3.4-1.5 cups cruciferous (included cauliflower too!) vegetables daily
Below is my favorite way to cook broccoli, which keeps its nutrients intact, while delivering amazing flavor.
Four-Minute Garlic Steamed Broccoli
- 2 cups broccoli, chopped into bite size florets
- 5 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Salt to taste
- Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
- Place steamer basket in a medium sized pot and add water, filling just until the water hits the bottom of the basket.
- Bring water to a boil.
- Add broccoli to the pot, and steam covered for four minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil and garlic in a skillet over medium heat, until the garlic becomes fragrant.
- Toss the steamed broccoli in the sautéed garlic and oil in a SEPARATE bowl (NOT on stove, since this will continue to cook the broccoli).
- Sprinkle with salt and red pepper flakes, if using, and serve along with your favorite protein and healthy carb for a simple, balanced meal!