Broccoli: the super food

Broccoli: the super food

Mom told you to eat your broccoli, but maybe she didn't tell you why. Here are five great reasons to include this cruciferous vegetable in your diet more than once a week:

1. It's rich in Vitamins A & C, both antioxidents that protect our cells from damage; it's also a good source of potassium and folate, and contains plant compounds that may offer protection from some cancers, heart disease and diabetes.

2. It's a good source of fiber, too. Just a mere half-cup (come on, you can eat that!) contains about three grams of fiber.

3. It's naturally low in saturated fat, sodium, cholesterol and calories: A half-cup serving of cooked broccoli is about 25 calories and a half-cup of raw broccoli is 10 calories.

4. Hope for diabetics: British researchers have found eating broccoli could reverse the damage caused by diabetes to heart blood vessels.

5. This veggie is so versatile you can eat it raw with dips, use it in salads or cook it in all kinds of ways. Try throwing it into an omelette or fritatta with cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and cheese, lightly stir-frying it with cherry tomatoes, onions, peppers and summer squash, or quick steaming it (just until it's tender-crisp) and topping it with a splash of lemon juice or a bit of olive oil and seasonings.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mayo Clinic, University of Warwick, American Cancer Society.