Broccoli – the miracle worker!
It’s been touted as the world’s healthiest food. Certainly, the benefits of broccoli in your weekly food intake are numerous. But what if I highlighted the benefits specific to menopause…. to menopause symptoms, and to the aging process that speeds up right about now…. as well as to disease prevention (another topic that hots up for discussion as we move into our 50s and beyond). What if including more broccoli in your diet was just about the most sensible thing a women of our age could do (and a man, for that matter).
So what’s so great about the king of the green vegetables…..
Broccoli helps to alkalise the body, meaning making it less acidic. Having an acidic environment going on inside you makes you prone to illness, bacteria and yeast infections. Even a mildly poor pH balance will present as low energy, immune deficiency, weight gain, heart problems, bladder and kidney infections, headaches, joint pain, sleep problems, allergies, acne, and premature aging.
Broccoli assists with the detoxification process, in fact it contains 3 of the most essential nutrients for eliminating contaminants.
It’s a powerful anti-oxidant, and anti-oxidants prevent free radical damage to cells, meaning they reduce the chance of a wide range of illnesses and chronic diseases.
There are compounds found in broccoli that hinder the growth of breast, cervical and prostate cancer. They also boost liver function.
Broccoli has an anti-inflammatory property, with its high levels of 3-fatty acids. I talk a lot about inflammation on this blog and in my e-book, and whether you tend to think that disease cause inflammation or inflammation causes disease, well, who wants to risk it either way? If we can do anything to prevent disease at this stage of our lives, then I’ll take a double portion…. I want to enjoy mid-life and beyond, in fact I want to truly and passionately live, for the first time. Pass the broccoli please 🙂
Here’s some of the facts: (I’ve highlighted the menopause and mid-life miracle workers found in broccoli)
vitamin B6 (eases menopause mood swings), as well as B1 (thiamine, for energy production)
vitamin E (healthy skin, hair and nails)
manganese (healthy bone structure)
phosphorus (tissue and cell repair)
potassium (lowers blood pressure and combats the effects of salt)
cooper (prevents premature aging and aids energy production)
magnesium (healthy heart and immune system, maintains muscle and nerve function, regulates blood sugar)
3-fatty acids (brain health, eye health, heart health… as well as depression and anxiety fighter)
zinc (enhances immune and digestive system, stress reducer and energy metaboliser)
calcium (strong bones, properly functioning muscles and nerves)
iron (healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells, fatigue fighter)
niacin (lowers risk of cardiovascular disease)
selenium (healthy immune system)
vitamin A (healthy eyes, bones and immune system)
protein (builds bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood)
It seems beyond sensible to do what you can to stay cancer free, right. I mean no one knows whether it will impact them or not, it’s a fickle finger of fate. Research has shown that cancer begins at the cellular level but doesn’t present until 10-20 years later. Trying to cure it at the point of presentation when there is so much going on… fears, decisions, timeframes, emotions…. has got to be harder than considering prevention today. Every day.
Our Western diet has shown to be a cause of cellular damage, leading to cancer. 30% of all cancers are thought to have a dietary cause. That’s a 30% chance of getting cancer that YOU can do something about, reducing the odds for yourself.
There is real evidence to suggest that the consumption of cruciferous vegetables is associated with a reduction in cancer, with broccoli, cabbage and Brussel sprouts providing the biggest protection. Two servings a day of cruciferous vegetables can reduce the chances of getting cancer by up to 50%.
I have read stories about people who cured their cancer primarily by eating broccoli soup every day. Again, there is evidence that suggests that this vegetable, and its crucifer sidekicks, can stop the growth of cancer in its tracks.
I also read a book by a man in Australia who had cured himself of cancer twice by growing all his own vegetables (in soil that was packed with nutrients, like it used to be back in the good old days before speed to market – as in supermarket – became the main goal of growing produce).
What I’m saying is, there is a role that you can play in the fickle finger of fate. You can make a difference. Your diet will make a difference. It’s also powerful to know and believe that you can shape your health as you age, you can increase your chances of staying disease free and getting the most out of the rest of your life.
And, if you are not only focused on cancer prevention but want to get the best of the best for aiding all number of mid-life ailments and degenerations, then broccoli is a hands-down winner. Scroll back up to the list of benefits now if you need to 🙂
“Just 1/2 cup of broccoli a day protects from a number of cancers, particularly cancers of the lung, stomach, colon and rectum. No wonder broccoli is number one on the National Cancer Institute’s list of nutrition all-stars.” (from http://www.superfoodsrx.com/healthyliving/does-broccoli-prevent-cancer/)
Here’s some simple ways to get more broccoli on your plate:
Basic Broccoli Soup – no extras, additives or anything ‘bad’…. this could be your go-to broccoli soup that you make every week, even if it only provides you with 2 servings, it is a simple and full proof method of getting a great dose of cancer prevention, while also taking care of your heart, bones, eyes, muscles, immune system, hair, skin, nails, and energy production!
Simply steam 3-4 heads of broccoli in a steamer over a saucepan of boiling water. Don’t let it go mushy, make sure it still has a firmness.
I like to throw in a piece of fresh ginger and fresh turmeric too.
Allow to cool slightly.
Transfer to a nutribullet or food processor and blend (including the ginger and turmeric if you added it to the steamer).
Add filtered water to get soup consistency (or you can add a little coconut milk or coconut cream for taste/texture if you prefer). Blend some more.
Transfer to a saucepan to heat, or store in the refrigerator until ready to heat and serve. In summer, I will often eat it cold or luke warm.
This is the basic version. You can add herbs if desired, or additional vegetables. I sometimes steam bok choy with the broccoli and blend together.
You can feel very good about including this in your diet.
Broccoli Breakfast Scramble – a protein packed breakfast with all the benefits of broccoli…. I love this scramble, it’s robust enough to not need toast or any other carb, yet so tasty and versatile.
Roast 2 heads of broccoli in the oven, with a drizzle of olive oil. Include another green vegetable of your choice; asparagus is great, as is sliced zucchini.
Once the vegetables have turned a bit golden, but still firm, remove from the oven.
Make a portion of scrambled eggs.
Combine the eggs and vegetables on a plate. Sprinkle over herbs, or pumpkin seeds, or spicy dukka.
What an awesome start to the day!
Raw Vegetables with Hummus – a tasty and quick to make snack…. I like to have this in front of a movie on a Friday night.
Spread hummus in the middle of a large serving dish. Sprinkle some spicy dukka over the hummus, and a drizzle of olive oil.
Cut up raw vegetables and place around the hummus – broccoli florets, red pepper, cucumber and carrot are fabulous. Add a handful of rice chips (from the health section of the supermarket).
Enjoy your vegetables and chips dipped in the hummus…. a wellbeing, satisfying snack with zero guilt!
Roasted Broccoli and Brussel Sprouts – it does not get any simpler…. and the flavours are enhanced, and quite different to when boiled or steamed, so if you’re thinking that you don’t like this health-promoting duo then I urge you to try roasting them.
Simply put medium sized broccoli heads on a baking tray. Add Brussel sprouts cut in half lengthwise. Cover both in olive oil, salt and pepper.
Adding a bulb of garlic cut in half through the middle is great too. You can scoop out the delicious soft cloves of garlic to serve with the vegetables. Note that the garlic won’t take as long to cook as the broccoli and sprouts.
Roast until golden (even a tad blackened).
Serve with chopped anchovies, sliced black olives, garlic…. and more black pepper and olive oil as desired.
For recipes that are a little more sophisticated – but broccoli based none-the-less – check out these wonderful ideas at Delicious: I fully recommend the silverbeet, broccolini and mozzarella pizza!
Also take a look at Taste for more broccoli favourites: