Purple sprouting broccoli health benefits will not only put the spring back in your step but it will taste great at the same time. What’s more, it’s super easy to prepare!
Fresh from the fields, vibrant florets of purple sprouting broccoli are ripe for the picking this season and a reminder that spring has officially sprung! The pinnacle of taste and gains for both body and brain, they make the perfect accompaniment to many meals, or even as a snack on their own. This month, nutritionist Alison Cullen, shares some of the benefits of this purple powerhouse and offers some broccoli-based culinary inspiration in the kitchen… don’t worry, no chef-ing skills required!
Eat up stay sharp
‘It might seem surprising, but purple sprouting broccoli is actually packed with carotenoids, which are usually only associated with red, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables,’ says Cullen. ‘Carotenoids have an anti-inflammatory effect on our bodies, helping to support our immune system and protect us from disease and illness. What’s more, they also have neuroprotective properties, which, put simply, means they protect and support brain function. Studies of carotenoids have found they may help reduce oxidative stress, keeping your brain sharper for longer.’
Revived and recharged
‘As well as keeping our brains sharp as we age, broccoli is also famed for reviving our energy levels, leaving us feeling more competent and full of life,’ adds Cullen. ‘This is all thanks to its bountiful levels of folate, iron, and vitamin C, which help to keep our brains and bodies fully charged for longer.’
Does cooking broccoli destroy its health benefits?
You might have been told that cooking your veggies destroys all their natural vitamins and minerals; thankfully, this is not so with broccoli! Cooking up a storm with your purple stems actually makes the carotenoids more bioavailable (meaning the nutrients are more able to be absorbed), so fire up that stove!
Culinary creations with purple sprouting broccoli
‘The great thing about purple sprouting broccoli is that you don’t need to be Nigella to cook something quite special – it’s a maximum taste with minimum effort kind of veggie,’ says Cullen. ‘The florets contain the highest concentration of nutrients and phytochemicals, but the stems and leaves are also nutritious, so don’t leave them out when cooking. For a simple, tasty dish…
Slice off the end of the stalk, then give the broccoli a quick stir-fry or a short blast in a steamer
Add a drizzle of olive oil for improved carotenoid absorption, a little black pepper for added brain health and a squeeze of lemon or lime for a burst of vitamin C and flavonoids et voilà – fast, simple, nutritious bliss.’
Top tip: Stir-frying or grilling – as opposed to steaming or boiling – will retain the beautiful purple colour intact for an attractive plate. Beauty, in this case, is more than skin deep!