Broccoli was first cultivated by the ancient Etruscans, a people from Asia Minor who traded with the Greeks, Sicilians, Corsicans, Sardinians, and Romans. Among their trading partners, the Romans were by far the most enthusiastic about broccoli. The rest of the world? Not so much.
It may surprise you to know that in the US, broccoli didn’t really catch on until the 1930s, except among Italian immigrants, who had inherited it from their Roman forefathers. That changed when the D’Arrigo brothers ran the nation’s first radio ads for the plant. Soon, the whole country was crazy for this “new” veggie.
Whether you like it stir-fried or steamed, roasted or creamed, broccoli is a welcome addition to all types of recipes. It’s not just tasty though; this cabbage cousin is packed with nutrients.
For one thing, a single stalk of broccoli contains 220% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C. You probably already know that vitamin C is great for your immune system, but you may not have been aware of the fact that vitamin C also protects against cardiovascular diseases, eye problems, wrinkles, and prenatal issues.
For another, broccoli contains a healthy dose of vitamin A in its plant form, beta carotene. Beta carotene helps keep the body’s skin cells and mucous membranes healthy, and therefore resistant to diseases. Diets rich in vitamin A have also been shown to prevent strokes and mitigate the damage they cause.
If you’ve been feeling irritable or confused, you might be in need of vitamin B6. This nutrient helps maintain healthy brain and nerve function, fights diseases, and breaks down proteins. One serving of broccoli contains 15% of your daily dose of B6.
Broccoli also packs a wallop in the mineral department. One serving contains 7% of your daily calcium, 6% of your iron, and 8% of your magnesium needs. These minerals keep your bones healthy, energy levels high, and muscles functioning at peak efficiency.
Some studies have even indicated that kaemferol, a flavanoid that brocolli happens to contain a ton of is useful in combating the symptoms of many types of allergies.
So, your mother and the ancient Romans were right. You really should eat your broccoli. Chances are good that you already know plenty of ways to prepare it, but if you’d like to try Laughing Planet’s take on this cruciferous nutritional powerhouse, stop by one of our locations and order a Thai Bowl, Korean BBQ Bowl, or Soylent Green (don’t worry, it’s not made out of people).
[Photo Credit: slate]