We investigated the Super Beets hype. Now it’s time to check out the “life saving” Broccoli pill!
Both loved and despised, broccoli is indeed a super food. It’s one of the cruciferous vegetable group whose members contain nutrients that have been shown to have heart healthy benefits and actually protect and inhibit certain types of cancer.
Surprisingly, 3-5 servings of fresh cruciferous vegetables each week will provide these benefits. And when I say fresh, I mean fresh. Frozen vegetables are often blanched. If the heat is too high, it destroys essential nutrients. Even if using fresh, avoid frying or over-cooking since that leeches out or obliterates the good stuff. Steam, microwave or eat these veggies raw.
But not everyone can tolerate them. A segment of the population has a gene that intensifies a bitter taste found in many of these vegetables. Plus, too much of these at a time can cause stomach distress (okay…gas…).
Sticking to one serving at a time, or finding a few on the list that aren’t so bitter can help you eat more. So can blanching – a quick dip in hot (but not boiling – keep it to 165 degrees) water followed by draining and letting them sit in cold water. But what about a pill or powder form? Could a broccoli pill really work?
First of all, the primary nutrient in cruciferous veggies is glucoraphanin, a glucosinolate that converts to sulforaphane when chewed. The chewing releases an enzyme in the vegetable that does the work. The main ingredient in those “Broccoli pills” is sulforaphane. No chewing necessary!
You can try pure vegetable or sprout powders or capsules to get a dose of sulforaphane, but depending on how they were processed, the essential nutrients for conversion could be lost. A better choice is a sulforaphane supplement.
As little as 7-11 mg and up to 34 – 57 mg of sulforaphane is the suggested daily dose for those weighing 150 – 250 lbs. However, there is no definitive recommended amount. And none of the sulforaphane supplements had these levels in their nutrition list. Most contain .4 to 1 mg of sulforaphane per capsule. That’s a lot of capsules to take! But we found some reasonably price sulforaphane supplements (pictured above and below) at amazon if you want to try them out.
Maybe it’s time to try these vegetables again in ways that make them more palatable. Try roasting (425-degree oven for 20 – 25 minutes) thicker vegetables tossed with olive oil and spices. Riced cauliflower can be used like, well, rice (mashing will “mash” out nutrients – you need to chew these yourself!). And one of my favorites, top cooked broccoli with tomato sauce and cheese.
Plus, check out our list of cruciferous vegetables. You might find you’re already eating – or actually like – some of them. If so, up your intake of those and skip the broccoli!
- Arugula – salad green with a spicy flavor
- Bok choy – staple in Oriental food, has a mild taste
- Broccoli – you either love it or hate it!
- Broccolini (baby broccoli) – hybrid of kale and broccoli, it has a sweeter taste
- Broccoli Sprouts – mild taste, toss on salads
- Broccoli Raab/Rapini – can be bitter, blanching helps
- Brussel sprouts – stronger, cabbage type flavor that many cook with maple syrup to kill the taste
- Cabbage – as coleslaw or shredded in salads
- Cauliflower – roasted, riced or raw, it has a relatively mild taste
- Collard, mustard and other greens – in salads or sauteed, these can have a strong flavor
- Kale – trendy salad green but also good sauteed or steamed
- Radishes (including Wasabi and horseradish) – you can find spicy or mild varieties
- Rutabaga – cross between a turnip and cabbage, these are best cooked
- Turnips – often mashed, they have a slightly sour taste
- Watercress – mild taste but hard to find