Health benefits of broccoli you’ve probably never heard of
Ever have a flashback to when kale wasn’t cool (#tbt)? Well, there’s a new crew of superfoods about to hit your plates and IG feeds. We teamed up with Ocean Spray to clue you in on the trends. Learn about all six craze-worthy foods here, and keep reading to find out why the health benefits of broccoli got it onto the list.
Okay, so cauliflower isn’t going anywhere (see: every person you know Instagramming TJ’s cauliflower gnocchi). But now, it’s time to make more room in your cart for the next cruciferous it-veg: Broccoli.
Yep, the old-school green—best known for being your least favorite childhood vegetable—is making a comeback, in a big way. According to a Green Giant survey, broccoli is the most popular vegetable in America, racking up favorite status in 39 states in 2019. And with the surge in creativity around new ways to eat it, it’s fast becoming a tastebud-pleasing sleeper hit.
All that, and it’s got the nutrition oomph to punch it up to superfood level. Find out why you need its health benefits in your life—plus the trending ways to add it to your plate.
Keep reading to find out the health benefits of broccoli and a full cheat sheet on your new favorite cruciferous vegetable.
Benefits of broccoli
There’s a lot to cover with broccoli’s nutrition content, but first things first: It’s a total vitamin C win.“Broccoli is a great source of vitamin C, which helps to build collagen for healthy bones and joints and protect the body against harmful free radicals,” says Eliza Savage, RD nutritionist at Middleberg Nutrition.
It’s also touted as an inflammation-fighter, which means it racks up good-for-you points all over. “Broccoli contains flavonoids, particularly kaempferol, that help protect the body from inflammation, thereby helping to reduce the incidence of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer,” says Barbara Mendez, nutritionist and pharmacist.
And don’t forget the fiber, which helps you stay full and balance your blood sugar. “Broccoli is high in fiber and a variety of antioxidants, making it beneficial in the prevention of diabetes by slowing insulin response,” Mendez says. “This effect would also make it beneficial for weight management.”
Why it’s trending
You know a veggie is a hot commodity when Trader Joe’s makes a pizza crust out of it. Following the massive hit of the cauliflower crust, TJ’s rolled out a broccoli & kale pizza crust. It’s gluten-free and all you need to do is add your favorite toppings (maybe some chopped broccoli florets for good measure?).
You can find riced broccoli at many grocery stores, which is great for whipping up a quick and healthy meal on lazy days. And Broccolattes—coffee pumped up with broccoli powder—are now a thing in Australia (so it’s only a matter of time before you find this at your local artisanal coffee shop).
How to use it
One of the cool things about broccoli is that it’s pretty versatile in terms of how you can prepare it and mix it into your meals either as the star of the show or a healthy side. For example, pair it with an antioxidant-rich fruit by whipping up this roasted broccoli and cranberry salad from Love&Lemons, and use dried cranberries for ensured deliciousness (and freshness).
Overall, “Steaming broccoli may be the ideal way to prepare the vegetable while preserving the nutrients,” Savage recommends. That said, if steamed broccoli makes you yawn (or worse), you can make it more interesting by grilling it or roasting it in the oven covered with vegan cheese. DIY your own beef and broccoli bowl, or whip up a broccoli caesar salad for a quick lunch. Whatever you do, do yourself a favor and try some broccoli tots and broccomole.
In partnership with Ocean Spray