How to Cook Broccoli

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Broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica) is a vegetable
that means “branch” or “arm,” which pertains to its small, tree-like
appearance. It belongs to the cruciferous family of vegetables, which also
includes Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale and cauliflower. It is considered to
be one of the healthiest foods available, and research has shown that the
nutritional value of broccoli is unmatched, as it may help:

Fight
Cancer

 

Broccoli’s ability to fight cancer is arguably its most well-known
benefit thanks to its naturally occurring sulforaphane.

 

Experts believe that this compound works by activating more than 200
different genes that fight cancer, while switching off those that fuel
tumors, as well as detoxifying present carcinogens in your system.

Promote
Digestive Health

 

Broccoli is
rich in dietary fiber, which is an important nutritional component to promote
wellness. Fiber helps nourish gut bacteria, as well as adding bulk to your
stools to help promote regular bowel elimination.

 

Furthermore, it breaks down into short-chain fatty acids that may
help reduce your risk of inflammatory diseases.

Slow
Down Aging

 

Consuming broccoli may help restore your metabolism to more youthful
levels.

 

It allows your body to produce the enzyme nicotinamide mononucleotide
(NMN), which helps increase nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), a
compound involved in mitochondrial health and energy metabolism.

Fight
Free Radicals

 

Phenolic compounds in broccoli have great potential in helping fight
free radicals throughout your body, which is a major source of inflammation.

Maintain
a Healthy Weight

 

Animal studies suggest that the sulforaphane in broccoli may help curb obesity by
speeding up tissue browning. Brown fat is a beneficial type of body fat that
can help you stay slim.

 

Furthermore, the calories in broccoli are very low, making it an
ideal health food that won’t give you excess pounds. A 3.5-ounce serving (100
grams) only contains 28 calories.

 

 

Sulforaphane was also discovered to help decrease certain gut
bacteria known to induce metabolic endotoxemia and obesity.

Manage
Diabetes

 

According to one study, diabetics
who took broccoli sprout extract for 12 weeks were able lower their fasting
blood sugar levels by 10 percent.

 

Even though this may look like a small number, the researchers noted
that this difference is significant enough to reduce your risk of diabetes-related
health complications.

 

However, many people do not enjoy broccoli’s flavor, making
them miss out on its powerful health-promoting properties. This is because it
contains allylisothiocyanate (AITC), a compound that gives the vegetable a
pungent taste.[i]

If you’re looking to add broccoli into your diet but the
flavor isn’t to your liking, there are plenty of ways you can cook broccoli. Discover
how you can make the most out of this vegetable and get enjoyment from it for
years to come.

How to Cut Broccoli Properly to Maximize it’s Nutrition

 

Most broccoli dishes require florets in different sizes.
Knowing how to slice the vegetable properly will allow you to prepare your
dishes accordingly to avoid wasting edible parts. To begin slicing broccoli, follow
this procedure:[ii]

1.      
Cut off and discard the very bottom part of the
stem since it is usually tough.

2.      
Next, trim away small florets to make the stems
easier to peel.

3.      
Using a peeler or a small knife, remove the
outer layer of the stem to expose the tender green flesh underneath.

4.      
Separate the florets and the stem.

5.      
Now, you can slice the vegetable in any way you
want. For small cuts, make slices one-fourth to one-half inch thick. For larger
pieces, cut the stems into 1- to 3-inch sections.

With this process, you will be able to include the stem in
your dishes as this is an edible part of the plant, too. This allows you to
make the most out of the vegetable and getting value for your money.

Different Cooking Processes for Broccoli

 

Eating broccoli raw is one of the simplest ways to get the
vegetable’s nutrients and antioxidants into your system. However, the main
disadvantage to this approach is ingesting oxalic acid, a chemical that can
cause irritation to your mouth and intestinal tract. It also blocks the absorption
of iron and calcium, which are crucial nutrients for a healthy body.[iii],[iv]

However, do not fret because broccoli is a versatile
vegetable – it can be cooked in a various ways to give you different results. So
how long does it take to cook broccoli? The answer depends on the cooking
method you choose. Here are some ways on how to cook fresh broccoli:[v]

·        
Steamed: Steaming
your broccoli may not sound like the most appetizing thing ever, but it’s one
of the healthiest methods to consume brocolli. Lightly steaming your broccoli
for three to four minutes eliminates epithiospecifier, which is a
heat-sensitive, sulfur-grabbing protein that inactivates sulforaphane, a very
crucial nutrient in the vegetable. Don’t go beyond this specified time as the
nutrients will greatly decrease afterward.

 

·        
Sautéed: Sautéing
broccoli gives the vegetable a crispy texture when cooked with a high-quality
cooking fat. You can create a simple sautéed broccoli snack by frying it in coconut
oil
and a pinch of salt over high heat.

 

·        
Roasted
or baked:
Roasting is another way of cooking broccoli aside from the usual
steaming and sautéing. Simply mix the vegetable with a few teaspoons of coconut
oil and a pinch of salt, then place it in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes at 425
degrees Fahrenheit.

 

·        
Blanched:
Blanching is a process that involves boiling the broccoli (or any
vegetable) in a large pot of water with a teaspoon of salt. Wait for one and a
half minutes, remove the broccoli from the pot, then plunge it into ice-cold
water to stop the cooking process. This helps the broccoli maintain its green
color, and removes any bitterness in the flavor.[vi]

But what if you don’t have fresh broccoli on hand and you only
have the frozen variety? If you you don’t know how to cook frozen broccoli, there’s
no reason to worry because the process is practically the same as the ones
mentioned above – you just have to thaw it beforehand.[vii]

To thaw frozen broccoli, simply place it in a bowl of warm
water for a few minutes, then drain off the water. To speed up the process,
keep changing the water once it gets cold until you get the desired firmness.
From there, you can proceed to cooking your broccoli normally.[viii]

Two Amazing Broccoli Recipes You Have to Try

 

Like many people, you may have not enjoyed the taste of
broccoli because you didn’t like the way it’s cooked. But used correctly (and
in an enticing way), it can quickly become your favorite vegetable for the years
to come. I highly encourage you to check out the two recipes listed below that
use broccoli as the main ingredient. Not only are they delicious, but
nutritionally fulfilling as well.

 

Creamy
Ketogenic Broccoli Soup With Wild Trout and Rosemary

 

Ingredients:

 

·        
2 tablespoons of coconut oil

·        
2 cloves of garlic, minced

·        
2 heads of broccoli, broken into florets
and stalks chopped

·        
1 onion, chopped

·        
3 cups of organic
chicken broth

·        
1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh rosemary

·        
1 tablespoon of dill (leaves only), finely
chopped, plus extra for garnish

·        
Zest of 1 lemon  

·        
1 wild-caught rainbow trout, skin and bones
removed, flesh smoked and flaked

·        
2 tablespoons of sunflower and pumpkin seeds,
toasted (optional)

 

Procedure:

 

1.       Heat
a saucepan over medium-high heat with the coconut oil. Add the onions and
cook for five minutes until translucent.

2.       Add
the broccoli stalk and garlic and cook for another five minutes until
everything starts to brown, stirring occasionally. 

3.       Add
the broccoli florets, rosemary
and dill, then pour in the broth and bring to a boil. 

4.       Reduce
the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 20 minutes or until the broccoli
is tender. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.

5.       Using
a handheld/stick blender, blend the soup until it has a thick a chunky
texture.

6.       Ladle
the soup into serving bowls, then top with the smoked rainbow trout flakes, a
sprinkle of toasted seeds and a sprinkling of lemon zest. Serve hot.

 

 

Another recipe you can try is the Beef Broccoli Stir-Fry.
Compared to the soup, the stir-fry recipe works better as the main course
because it contains a mixture of meat and vegetables.

Beef
Broccoli Stir-Fry

Ingredients:

·        
1 pound organic grass fed ribeye boneless
steak, sliced into thin strips

·        
1 cup organic broccoli florets

·        
1 cup lima bean pods

·        
1 small organic red bell pepper

·        
3 cloves garlic, crushed

·        
1/2 cup water or beef broth

·        
2 tablespoons Dr. Mercola coconut oil for
stir-frying

 

For Marinade:

·        
5 tablespoons organic Kikkoman soy sauce

·        
1 tablespoon Dr. Mercola raw honey

 

 

Procedure:

 

1.       Combine
marinade and stir.

2.       Pour
marinade over sliced beef. Cover, place in the refrigerator and let set for
30 minutes or up to one hour.

3.       Heat
coconut oil in a pan. Place marinated beef in the pan and cook until it
becomes tender. Set aside.

4.       In
another pan, sauté garlic and then add broccoli, lima bean pods and
red bell pepper. Cover and let simmer for one minute.

5.       Add
water or beef broth. Cover and bring it to a simmer for one minute.

6.       Add
the beef to the vegetable mixture, and all juices accumulated. Cook for three
minutes longer, stirring frequently.

7.       Remove
from heat and serve.

 

 

Broccoli Should Be a Regular Fixture in Your Diet

 

If you’ve avoided broccoli before because you don’t like the
taste, I urge you to have a second look. It’s one of the healthiest foods you
can eat that can help boost your overall well-being. That being said, make sure
that you purchase organic broccoli to help maximize the nutrients you’re
getting. The possibilities with this vegetable are endless, so get cooking
right now!

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