Superfoods part 6
Today’s post: Friday, 4-21-2006 Superfoods & Honor Roll Foods, part 6
Broccoli. It’s on almost all of the superfood lists ever made. We list why that’s so second, because -- not everyone likes it.
And, not only that, some people are genetically wired to taste broccoli as really harsh & astringent – much more so than the rest of the populations does.
So, if that’s you, there is good news. (For those who are already OK eating broccoli, you can skip to why it’s a superfood or read these tips for use as occasional dishes for variety or for or when you are cooking a dish with broccoli in it for company.)
It’s actually possible to stand to eat broccoli or even enjoy eating it with these techniques.:
1. If you cook it by steaming it or boiling it briefly in water, broccoli tastes less harsh. And, if you cook it that way, you get over 80 percent of all of its superfood benefits.
(Boiling broccoli or microwaving it -- removes most of many of the nutrients in it – leaving only 11 percent according to one study I saw.)
2. Many people like even harsher flavors than broccoli in spices used as accents to foods they like as a contrasting element.
Diced, lightly-cooked broccoli florets can be a nice accent in a salad that might otherwise be a bit too bland, for example.
And, since fats & oils minimize the flavor of broccoli somewhat, using ingredients in a salad like extra virgin olive oil, feta cheese chunks, olives filled with feta cheese on sundried tomatoes, walnuts, or avocado slices – can work quite well.
3. And, you can also bury the flavor of it with fatty or oily foods you like.
The Chinese stir-fry broccoli & garlic & oil together-- which works if you love garlic.
If you really like onions, you can sautee some onion slices & shrimp & precooked broccoli florets.
And, if you love cheese, as an occasional treat you can drown some precooked broccoli florets with melted cheddar cheese.
Here’s why broccoli is one of the top superfoods.:
It’s a green vegetable. (See the previous posts for why they are health enhancing.)
It’s high to very high in mixed carotenoids, folic acid, & several other antioxidants.
And, as a cruciferous vegetable, broccoli has several kinds of micronutrients each of which tends to prevent cancer.
Almonds. (Unfortunately, some people are allergic to tree nuts. If you are, they aren’t an OK food for you, let alone a superfood.)
For those who can eat them, nuts in general are superfoods. They are high in magnesium which is vital for your health & which many people get too little of in their food.
They are high in other vitamins & minerals including the several kinds of natural vitamin E.
And, most nuts, particularly almonds, are high in the amino acid Arginine, which protects your heart, helps keep your arteries flexible & responsive & your blood pressure in the desirable range. Arginine also helps keep blood flow to you sexual areas normal & robust as well. (It’s actually done some good for men with mild ED for example.)
In addition, nuts are filling because they are high in protein and fiber and fat – so much so that despite their fat content, one study found that people who added 500 calories a day of nuts to their diet, did NOT gain any weight. Apparently they were enough less hungry they ate that many calories elsewhere in their diet. As you might imagine, this can be a huge help if you are trying to lose weight & keep it off or you need to cut out eating fatty treats or fatty meats to protect your heart.
In fact, nuts are high in sterols which lower LDL cholesterol !!
And, the oils in nuts are mostly heart safe monosaturated oils.
Plus almonds are lowest in saturated fat of all the popularly eaten nuts at about 6 percent. (This is less than olive has !!)
In addition, Almonds are easily available most places & many people find they taste good.
One study even found that people who eat nuts regularly, lived several years longer than people who don’t. This was about seven years as I recall. You can certainly see why with all their health benefits. And, I suspect these people were in better health also.
If you like them, eating almonds is a great way to enjoy eating nuts & getting their health benefits.
(Here’s one caution about Almonds.: You get the most health benefits & in the safest way, if you eat them raw, blanched & slivered, or dry roasted.
The ones I saw at the store last that had been fried in oils had been fried in partially hydrogenated soybean oil, transfats, & then had WAY too much salt put on them.
Transfats help directly create heart disease & apparently may help produce type II diabetes. And, eating super salty foods more than very occasionally tends to produce or worsen high blood pressure.)