What’s growing in your garden? Focus on Purple Sprouting Broccoli
Here in the UK, purple sprouting broccoli is coming into season. It’s one of my favourite vegetables. Here’s the health benefits.
Vitamin K – essential for blood clotting and bone health.
Vitamin C – an antioxidant essential for immune function, skin, blood vessels, bones and organs. It also helps with the absorption of iron.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) – for breaking down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Maintains the body’s energy supply. Works with B1 (Thiamin) and B9 ( Folate) as protectors of DNA.
Vitamin B9 (Folate) - for mental, cardiovascular and immune system health, cell division, DNA creation and the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.
Calcium - essential for bones, teeth, cell division and specialisation. Contributes to energy creation, muscle function and digestion.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) – for energy creation, mental performance and reducing tiredness and fatigue.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) – for immune, mental, blood and hair health and reduces tiredness and fatigue.
Quercetin – reduces allergies such as hay fever, protects liver and kidneys, improves mental health and may reduce asthma and cardiocvascular disease.
Sulforaphane - antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties, Beneficial for heart health.
Omega 3 ad 6 – provides a good ratio between these essential fatty acids for heart and brain health.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid – believed to help cells regain the functions they naturally had in youth. Isothiocyanates – a phytochemical released when broccoli is chewed. It has anti tumor activity and helps control inflammation.
Conditions that benefit from more broccoli in the diet
Arthritis – due to the sulforaphane it slows the deterioration of cartilage in the joints.
Diabetes - when eaten with a starch, it reduces how quickly the sugar from the starch goes into the blood.
Fibromyalgia - taking it in powder form with the active chemical ascorbigen it may reduce pain and other symptoms.
Bacterial infections – the steam has antibacterial constituents to help treat internal infections.
Enhanced immunity - the mix of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants help protect the body, prevent diseases, and support good health.
Cancers - there is evidence supporting the benefits of broccoli for certain types of cancers such as breast, stomach, prostate.
Broccoli is safe when consumed in dietary amounts.
Some people and those with IBS may find that excessive consumption can lead to wind, bloating and nausea.
Those with sensitive skin may experience irritation when handling fresh or dried broccoli or using it for topical treatments.
Those with thyroid conditions should consume it in moderation as It contains small amounts of natural thyroid stimulating compounds which in large quantities may cause goiter disease.
How to consume broccoli
Raw – in a salad or for dipping.
Steamed – 4 – 5 mins
Roasted – 10 mins
Dehydrated florets and stalks are a good snack.
Juice - in smoothies
Powder -add to juices, smoothies, soups and sauces.
Infusion - add honey, maple syrup, or lemon juice.
As herbal and supplement treatment
Broccoli is also available in tincture, capsule and seed oil. Consult a Medical Herbalist to find out if these forms may be suitable for you.
My favourite ways to eat broccoli
2 tablespoons of sesame seed oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 chopped red chilli or teaspoon dried chilli flakes
2 cloves of sliced garlic
1 knob of diced ginger
2 tablespoons of raw cashew nuts
1 teaspoon of sesame and / or nigella seeds
Pre heat oven to 200 degrees celsius.
Blanch broccoli in a bowl of boiled water for a few minutes and drain.
Put in a roasting pan with oils, soy sauce, chilli, garlic, ginger and cashews.
Roast for about 10 mins.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with seeds.
Broccoli lemon pasta
1/4 cup oil of good extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/8 cup sliced kalamata olives
1/8 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/8 toasted pine nuts
1/4 chopped parsley
1/8 cup chopped basil
Zest of 1 lemon
4 cloves of sliced garlic
1 red chilli finely sliced
250g of broccoli - florets and sliced steams
1 cup cherry tomatoes
500g pasta of choice - penne and fusilli work well.
Saute broccoli stalks, garlic and chilli in olive oil.
Add cherry tomatoes and kalamata olives.
Cook pasta in salted water according to packet directions and add broccoli florets to it for last 4 minutes of cooking time. Drain.
Add pasta and florets to sauted veg and mix in lemon juice, lemon zest, parmesan cheese.
Add basil, parsley and pine nuts.
Over to you
How will you eat your broccoli?
Always seek qualified practitioners before taking an herb and always check with your doctor for any interactions with current medication.