The last time I went to the supermarket I was astonished to find they were out of broccoli. Then my colleague shared that she had to go to three different supermarkets to find kale. It seems that vegetables have become more popular than ever. With the organic industry boom, community supported agriculture on the rise, and locally sourced foods and farmer’s markets popping up left and right, eating healthy couldn’t be more exciting and accessible. As a foodie who believes that all whole foods are super foods, I absolutely love that vegetables are finally enjoying the spotlight.
Variety is the key to a healthy diet, not only because different foods have unique nutritional properties, but also because it is the best way to avoid the health halo in which we risk turning something we love into something we can’t stand. These fashionable and varying veggies make it much easier to say “Don’t forget to eat your veggies, they’re delicious!” without any irony.
Behold Cruciferous Vegetables
Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, arugula, bok choy and cabbage are popular examples of cruciferous vegetables. These veggies are super rich in nutrients including several phytochemicals; vitamins C, E, and K; folate; and minerals. They are naturally low in calories, carbs and are low on the glycemic index. They are also a great source of fiber! Animal studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables have active compounds that are generally believed to inhibit the development of cancer (specifically bladder, breast, colon, liver, lung and stomach). Incorporating at least six cups raw or three cups cooked cruciferous veggies into your daily diet is linked to lowered cancer risk, protects against mental decline, and improved heart, bone and eye health!
With a cred list like that, you can’t go wrong loading up on cruciferous vegetables. But how can you add these delicious foods to your recipe repertoire?
Tip 1: Clean you veggies, especially leafy cruciferous greens like kale. Always practice proper food safety even with vegetables.
Tip 2: Steam, sauté or stir-fry to maintain some of the beneficial nutrients, specifically water-soluble vitamins such as folate (vitamin B).
Tip 3: Use aromatic flavors such as garlic, onion and herbs to create tasty low-calorie side dishes.
Arugula: Use in salads, on pizza, with pasta, in a sandwich or Panini, with eggs and in quiches. Try the arugula pesto from Blog Lovin.
Cauliflower: Add pureed cauliflower to basically anything and add nutritional value without changing the flavor. This is a great trick not only for you but also for kids! Add to mac and cheese, pizza dough, cookie dough, mashed potatoes and bean dip. Join the caulimania and enjoy the roasted buffalo cauliflower bites from Clean and Delicious.
Kale: Use in soups, pesto, salads, smoothies, veggie burgers, wontons, savory pastries, pastas and in burritos. Try this awesome kale and roasted squash quinoa salad from Eating Clean Recipes. Great for every meal!
How are you going to incorporate cruciferous veggies in your diet?
Originally posted on NYHRC Tumblr
Edited by Tamara Cabrero & NYHRC Team
Picture from BlogLovin, Eating Clean Recipes, and 123rf on Flickr.