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The Healthiest Way to Eat Broccoli

A study shows how to get maximum nutritional benefit from this highly beneficial vegetable and, don't worry, you don't have to eat it raw. But that's definitely the best way to consume it if you can stomach it.

Two broccoli florets on a chopping board.

Broccoli is packed with nutrients and antioxidants, but it also includes an incredible compound called sulforaphane, which is now regarded as a super nutrient. Studies even show it is involved in blood sugar control and carries potential anti-cancer properties.

Broccoli contains a large amount of this chemical, but if you cook broccoli by boiling or microwaving it, the amount of sulforaphane we can absorb is greatly reduced. This is due to the super heat-sensitive nature of the compound and the enzymes that control it.

So, what's the best cooking method? Answer: stir fry. According to the study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Researchers cut the broccoli into two millimeter pieces to release as much chemical activity as possible before being stir fried. As the team suspected, this method of cooking was able to keep a much larger amount of sulforaphane intact compared to other cooking techniques.

Scientists also found that due to the stability of the sulforaphane, leaving the florets to sit after cutting them allowed for the highest amount of the compound to be absorbed. “Our results suggest that after cutting broccoli florets into small pieces, they should be left for about 90 minutes before cooking,” the team concluded, adding that they didn’t test it but thought “30 minutes would also be helpful.”

So there you go, with patience and a wok you have all you need to get the most out of your broccoli. And for an extra dollop of goodness, be sure to use olive oil.


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