What comes to mind when you think of the perfect food? Milk? The “incredible, edible egg”? What comes to mind when you think of the perfect diet food? Lettuce? Beef? (I hear you, low-carb-ers!) Fish? How about broccoli?
Although broccoli might not be your first choice for either flavor or nutrients, come take closer look at it before you reject this powerhouse weight-reducing food. Sometimes the whole is more than the sum of the parts.
Fact: Broccoli is fairly high in fiber.
According to Feinberg School of Medicine’s Nutrition Fact Sheet on Dietary Fiber, at Northwestern University, a single 1/2 cup of raw Broccoli has 1.3g of a total fiber.
This fiber makes your stomach feel full as well as giving you a feeling of ‘mouth satisfaction’ by giving you something to chew on. A good indicator of the ability of a food to satisfy hunger, by the way, is how long it takes to chew it. (Think steak!) Now, granted there are vegetables with more fiber: a cup of avocado has 16 grams of fiber. (But don’t ask about avocado’s 315 calories versus a measly 30 from the same amount of broccoli!)
Fact: Broccoli is rich in phytochemicals.
One of the newest groups of micronutrients is phytochemicals. These are biologically active, semi-essential micronutrients that are found in fruits and vegetables. Their claim to fame is their potent disease-prevention and immunity-boosting qualities. One particular class of phytochemicals are the glucosinolates whose anti-cancer properties are found especially in – you guessed it!-broccoli, as well as the other vegetables in the crucifer family: brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale and watercress. Even The American Cancer Society recognizes the benefit of eating broccoli and cauliflower to help protect cells and prevents their genes from turning into cancer.
Fact: Broccoli is low in calories and has a low glycemic index.
According to The Diabetes Network , the glycemic index of any particular food is a measurement of how fast a food is likely to raise your blood sugar. You have probably experienced the ‘crash’ after consuming high carbohydrate, easily digested foods or beverages. This up-and-then-way-down cycle tends to make you eat or drink more to get past that crash. But not with broccoli!
There are so few digestible carbs in Broccoli that they have no noticeable effect on blood sugar levels, even if you eat it with a low calorie, low carb dressing for dipping.
So are you convinced yet? Maybe we like the idea of something exotic like Acai berry juice or even the sweet familiarity of the anti-oxidant properties of blackberries. But standing by here for you, strong and tall is your real hero, the perfect diet food-Broccoli!