Let’s Talk About Broccoli, Baby

Bro

Let’s talk about you and broccoli, let’s talk about all the good things and the EVEN BETTER things that may be!

 

While I was conjuring up a subject for this month’s blog, I thought about what’s in season. Broccoli. Then I thought, let’s talk about broccoli. Then I thought about that song by Salt-N-Pepa. You know the one (wink). Then I though about how oddly appropriate that whole train of thought ended up being… broccoli, salt and pepper. Mhmm. And here we are.

Keeping in line with our metaphor, let’s talk about all the good things and the even better things that this perfectly in-season vegetable can do for you!

First of all, I would like to point out that broccoli is green. Oh, you already knew that? Fantastic. Then you’ll also know that green foods are where we get chlorophyll from. “Chlorophyll? More like bore-aphyll,” right? WRONG! Chlorophyll is one of he coolest things I have EVER learned about. Definitely. Porphyrin rings found in chlorophyll molecules, are essential to the production of energy in the mitochondria (also known as the power-house of the cell), giving our bodies the energy to complete tasks from digestion to jumping jacks. The structure of a chlorophyll molecule happens to be extremely similar to that of a heme (oxygen carrying portion of red blood cell) molecule. The main difference is that chlorophyll’s center contains magnesium, while heme’s contains iron. Guess what that means. Chlorophyll-rich foods, like broccoli, are perfect for building healthy, oxygen-rich blood. Yup.

Broccoli is also an amazing source of vitamin C. One of the best vegetable sources, in fact. I know. Every post talks about vitamin C, but that’s because it is integral to pretty much all of the functions of the body. Most importantly, though, it acts as an antioxidant, protecting our cells from free radicals (electrons that are freed from their bonds through oxygen reaction, then bounce around inside our bodies like pinballs, damaging cells willy nilly). An increased amount of free radical damage is thought to be a likely cause of cancer. Therefore, vitamin-C-rich foods, like broccoli may help to fight cancer. ALSO- vitamin C is water soluble, which means we pee it out… so we need to replenish it every day! AND you can really never have enough, so mow down.

Another point for team broccoli is a compound called sulforaphane. It has been shown as a worthy adversary for cancer stem cells, which are thought to initiate and maintain the cancer growth. It also helps to rid the body of carcinogens that could potentially raise the cancer threat.

Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for; the recipe. And yes, it does involve salt and pepper.

 

Cold Sesame Noodles with Broccoli

serves 3-4 humans

1 package soba noodles

1 broccoli crown, cut into bite-size florets

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1 inch ginger, grated

2 tsp. lemon juice

1/3 c. olive oil

2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil

1 tbsp. honey or maple syrup

3 tbsp. tamari

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

sea salt to taste

toasted sesame seeds

sesame oil

 

Cook noodles, drain, and toss with sesame oil. Blanch broccoli and add to noodles. Refrigerate. Place all other ingredients but sesame seeds in blender. Blend on high until emulsified. Toss noodles with dressing before serving. Garnish with sesame seeds.

 

Happy spring, readers! I hope that this season is as vibrant and joyful where ever you are as it is here!

 

References:

Mateljan, George. The World’s Healthiest Foods. Seattle, Washington: George Mateljan Foundation. 2007. Print.

Turcotte, Michele. “Foods That Are High in Sulforaphane”. LIVESTRONG.com. February 7, 2004. Web. March 27, 2015.

<http://www.livestrong.com/article/307835-foods-that-are-high-in-sulforaphane/>

Li Y, Zhang T. “Targeting cancer stem cells with sulforaphane, a dietary component from broccoli and broccoli sprouts”. PubMed.gov. August 9, 2013. Web. March 27, 2015.

<http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23902242>