Broccoli has a bad reputation among children but they are packed with nutrients that can do a lot for one’s well-being. But even though everyone can profit from an increased intake of this veggie, men don’t seem to collect as many benefits as women. Find out below why women should eat more broccoli and why these benefits only apply to them.
4 reasons why women should eat more broccoli
There are several benefits to eating more broccoli. Its content in sulforaphane has anti-inflammatory properties that prevent diabetes; it is also a great veggie to help you fart more and eliminate bloating, and it’s generally nutritious and provides good support for your body.
Nevertheless, women should eat more broccoli because they are the ones that can benefit the most from their intake.
The importance of folate
Folate is a type of vitamin B that cannot be stored in the body and needs to be ingested every day. This vitamin plays an important role in the production of red blood cells and an insufficient intake can result in anemia.
Pregnant women are particularly in need of increasing their intake of folate as its deficiency could result in birth defects. The recommended daily intake if of 400 mcg for adults older than 19 years old, 600 mcg for pregnant women and 500 mcg for breastfeeding women.
Half a cup of broccoli, approximately 125ml, represent 89 mcg. Women should eat more broccoli to help reach their ideal level of daily intake.
It may reduce the risk of breast cancer
An early study regarding the increased prospect of breast cancer in menopause reported that a frequent consumption of cruciferous, such as broccoli and cauliflower, as well as yellow/orange veggies could potentially reduce this risk. This is one of the main reasons why women should eat more broccoli and are advised to do so.
A different research has expanded this effect to all kinds of breast cancer and not only the ones originating in menopause. According to this study, broccoli contains sulforaphane that works to prevent and thus reduce the risk of developing breast tumors. For the analysis, the researchers used the equivalent of one bowl of broccoli sprouts.
It may help with atherosclerosis in older women
Australian researchers analyzed the effects of an increase in vegetable intake in women over 70 years old with atherosclerosis. These vegetables included cruciferous, allium, yellow/orange/red, leafy greens and legumes.
At the end of the research, the carotid artery walls were thinner for the subjects that made this increment. Moreover, an additional increase of 10g serving of cruciferous vegetables was linked to a 0.005mm reduction in carotid artery wall thickness.
Nevertheless, this study should be taken with a pinch of salt as it doesn’t discriminate the exact effect that each vegetable had. Although broccoli was one of the cruciferous used, there is no indication that it alone had any direct effect over the arteries.
It could help with depression
There are several pieces of research already linking folate with depression symptoms. This connection seems particularly noteworthy for women, who experience an improvement in their symptoms with much lower doses than those required for men.
However, researchers admit that more thorough studies are still needed, especially to assess if this improvement only happens when there is a folate deficiency or if healthy subjects could also benefit from it.
How to eat broccoli: raw or cooked?
Raw broccoli might not be for everyone, but if you want to enjoy this veggie’s nutrients fully, that’s the way to go.
According to a research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, when comparing raw and cooked broccoli, the first presented a much faster absorption rate (1.6 hours vs 6 hours), higher bioavailability (37% vs 3.4%), and a high peak plasma amounts of sulforaphane, the component that can help prevent breast cancer.
5 different ways to eat broccoli
There are several ways to eat broccoli, increase its intake and enjoy its nutrients and benefits. Some ways of cooking it are more nutritious than others, it is true. But the most important thing is that you eat more of it. Besides, variety will allow you to prepare different recipes and avoid getting tired of broccoli.
Sauce it up
Boil and blend the broccoli with a bit of parmesan to create a healthy and delicious sauce to add to your pasta. Besides being much lower in calories than other sauces, it is an original way to include this veggie in a pasta dish instead of using only the florets.
Check out this recipe of spaghetti with broccoli sauce from Weight Watchers to try it out.
Roasted side dish
Ditch the old and bland boiled broccoli and surprise everyone with a crunchy side-dish. You can roast it with lemon or garlic for extra flavor and sprinkle it up with a bit of parmesan, because broccoli goes great with cheese.
Try out this recipe of roasted broccoli with lemon and parmesan to discover this way of preparing this veggie.
Add it to quiches
Quiches are great for many reasons. First, it’s hard to ever go wrong by just throwing the ingredients in there. Even the most unusual combinations seem to shine in it.
And second, they are great to prepare in advance to take to work with you or to simply get your dinner ready ahead of time so you can enjoy sitting a bit longer in the sofa after a stressful day.
Take advantage of all these features from a quiche and add your daily intake of broccoli to it! It will be delicious anyway, and your body will thank you for it. Try it out by preparing this recipe of spinach and broccoli quiche.
Raw broccoli salad
Since raw broccoli is the most nutritious way to eat it, you must take advantage of that. But there is no need to go around munching on the bitter florets. You can make delicious salads with it and use a nice dressing to improve its flavor and increase your appetite too.
If you don’t know where to begin, check out this, rightly named, “Brilliant broccoli salad“.
Give it an Asian touch
If you really want to try out new flavors and new ways of eating your broccoli, you can explore other cuisines in search of new tastes. Since women should eat more broccoli and they are usually the primary cooks at home, this could mean a new nutritious adventure for all the family.
You can try and prepare curry with broccoli, for instance, or give it a go at this very easy and yet delicious recipe of Chinese beef and broccoli: