Are You Destroying Broccoli’s Health Benefits?

Are You Destroying Broccoli’s Health Benefits
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Broccoli does not get the love it deserves.

We all know children do not want to eat their broccoli.

If it weren’t for parents forcing them, no broccoli would be eaten by children ever.

But, as adults, our tastes begin to change and this shrubby looking little vegetable starts to become palatable.

Or, for some of us, we recognize its immense health benefits and choose to eat it for our own good.

Count me in category number two, who eventually came around to category number one.

Regardless of our reasons for eating broccoli, we need to ask ourselves if we are getting the most out of it or if we are wasting an opportunity to become healthier.

Fortunately, some research has been done on this matter and was published in the journal Food Science and Technology International in 2012.

Researchers from the University of Santiago in Chile examined different preparation methods of broccoli to determine whether or not they could identify methods that either increased or decreased its potent health effects.

While many preparation methods require further research, there were a couple of methods that stood out.

First of all, if you are looking to get the most health benefits out of your broccoli, stop buying it frozen and stop boiling it.

Both of these methods were found to diminish the concentration of broccoli’s polyphenols (plant compounds that offer health benefits). The researchers surmised this was due to volatility and, in the case of boiling broccoli, to the leaching of polyphenols into the water.

I suppose it wouldn’t be quite so destructive if you also drank the broccoli cooking water, but I see no reason for you to punish yourself.

The best way to prepare broccoli, they found, was to steam and dry it. They found this method to increase the extractability of both antioxidants and sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is a compound found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli that is said to be responsible for many of their health benefits, not the least of which includes possible cancer prevention.

Now, you may not be in the mood to both steam and dry your broccoli, but if you have the time, a dehydrator, the will, and a few of the right seasonings, that sounds more than worth a try.

But for the rest of us, perhaps simple steaming is worth a go.

Steamed broccoli with perhaps a little butter melted over the top with some garlic – I think most of us can go for that.

Maybe even the kids.


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