What Makes Broccoli and Kale Superfoods?

February 10, 2021

Broccoli and kale are often touted to be “superfoods.” And, yes, they really are amazingly healthy for you.

 

If you’re wondering what exactly is in these green powerhouses that makes them so “super,” I’ve dived into the research to give you some nerdy reasons to make these a staple in your diet.

 

To start, they’re both considered cruciferous vegetables related to each other in the Brassica family. This family of super plants also includes cauliflower, cabbage  and Brussels sprouts.

 

These superfoods are filled with nutrients, and other health-promoting compounds, they’re relatively inexpensive and easy to cook too!

 

Super nutrition

 

Broccoli and kale are full of nutrients: vitamins, minerals, fibre, etc. They’re both considered to be nutrient dense which is a measure of nutrients per calorie – and these both have a lot!

 

100 grams of broccoli contains:

 

100 grams of kale contains:

 

As you can see, these two foods contain a lot of nutrients.

 

NOTE: Too much vitamin K may interact with certain blood-thinning medications. If you’re taking one of these medications, talk to your doctor or pharmacist before incorporating too much of these superfoods into your diet.

 

Broccoli and kale also contain other health-promoting compounds.

 

Super health-promoting compounds

 

Broccoli and kale tend to taste a bit bitter – but that bitterness equals healthfulness!

 

This bitter flavour is from some of the health-promoting compounds in these super plant foods. Things like glucosinolates (e.g., sulforaphane and isothiocyanates) and polyphenol flavonols.

 

There are a few different types of kale – from curly kale, to dinosaur kale, to red/purple kale. The different colours result from slight differences in the amounts of the compounds these plants contain.

 

One of the main active ingredients in cruciferous vegetables are glucosinolates. These antioxidant compounds are very useful to help detoxify and protect against cancer.

 

FUN FACT: It’s the precursors to glucosinolates that are in cruciferous vegetables, not the compounds themselves. When fresh broccoli and kale are eaten (or even chopped/blended) raw the active compounds are produced. *This fact is incorporated into a trick I use in this week’s recipe*

 

NOTE: Glucosinolates may affect iodine absorption and thyroid health, particularly in people prone to thyroid disease. In this case, you may not have to ditch these superfoods altogether – just cook them first.

 

These superfoods also contain flavonols like kaempferol and quercetin. Flavonols have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and they decrease your risk of cancer.

 

Kale also contains carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin. Carotenoids are known for promoting eye health and are protective against many cancers.

 

When cooked, kale contains another anti-cancer compound called indole.

 

Conclusion

 

Broccoli and kale are cruciferous superfoods. They are packed with nutrition and have a whole array of health-promoting compounds.

 

Almost everyone should be eating these regularly. Just be cautious if you’re taking blood-thinning medications; and, if you have thyroid issues, cook them first.

 

Do you, or anyone you know, absolutely love (or hate) these superfoods? Do you have a favourite recipe to share? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Recipe (Broccoli & Kale): Superfood Soup

 

Serves 4

 

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp garlic, chopped

2 large handfuls kale

4 stalks celery, chopped

4 stalks broccoli chopped
1.8 Litres broth
75g of tahini
2 tsp sea salt

Instructions

 

Sautee garlic in olive oil in a large soup pot. At the same time do steps #2 and #3.

Add half of the raw kale, celery, and broccoli to your high-speed blender (in that order). Cover with up to 1 Litre of broth and blend.

Pour soup into the pot with the sauteed garlic. Do the same for the other half of the veggies and broth.

Heat soup and simmer for up to 5 minutes.

Remove from heat. Add tahini and sea salt. Stir well.

 

Serve & enjoy!

 

Tip: If you want the soup to be extra creamy, you can re-blend after it’s heated.



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