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Keeping Monaco healthy with Susan Tomassini: Broccoli – extraordinary super food!

We all know that eating plenty of fresh vegetables is a fundamental part of a healthy diet. Vegetables are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants not found in other foods – especially processed foods. Many contain specific phytonutrients that quench inflammation and protect the body from carcinogens, helping reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancers.

Whether you’re a fan or not, broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse that deserves a special mention. Widely studied for its anti-aging and regenerative effects, research has revealed a long list of health benefits associated with regular consumption, including a reduced risk for:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer Diabetes
  • Allergies
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Kidney disease

The Brassica Family

Part of the Brassica family, broccoli is considered a cruciferous vegetable. Along with cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and kale, it’s known for its high concentration of sulforaphane, a sulfur-containing compound that prevents free radicals from breaking down the body and which protects against premature- aging and degenerative disease. Sulforaphane also helps repair skin damage, helps raise testosterone levels, inhibits the retention of body fat and helps protect your muscles against exercise-induced damage.


Anti-aging effects

Broccoli is best known for its anti-cancer activity, but it also contains a plant compound researchers believe may slow age-related decline in health by restoring your metabolism to more youthful levels. As we age, our cells’ ability to produce energy declines. With less available energy, cell repair and maintenance declines as well and, with that, degeneration sets in.

Broccoli contains an enzyme called nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), which plays a role in producing nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), a compound involved in mitochondrial health and energy metabolism. With age, your body loses its capacity to create NAD – which contributes to chronic inflammation. Taking NAD as a supplement is ineffective. However, our body can quickly and efficiently convert the NMN in broccoli to NAD so that we can quickly start making energy again.

Besides broccoli, NMN is also found in cucumbers, cabbage, avocado and other green vegetables. Perhaps that why studies show that people with higher vegetable intake have:

  • Lower risk of heart disease
  • Lower risk of cancer
  • Reduced risk of kidney stones
  • Higher scores on cognitive tests
  • Less oxidative stress
  • Lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Fewer digestive problems,
  • Better eye health

Liver Detox


Broccoli also supports healthy liver function, which helps optimize the body natural detoxification systems. Broccoli sprouts, especially, have been shown to help detox environmental pollutants and heavy metals. This is important for everyone these days, but especially women of childbearing age. Research has shown that autistic children have higher levels of environmental toxins in their system, and maternal exposure to toxins plays a significant role. Healthy liver function also helps promote healthy, beautiful skin – another reason that makes broccoli a good anti-aging food.

Digestive Health

Broccoli is also a great source of fiber, which is broken down into short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) by your gut bacteria. SCFAs, in turn, help lessen your risk of inflammatory diseases. Your liver converts SCFAs into ketones that nourish your body and perform important signaling functions. Fiber also promotes health by nourishing beneficial gut bacteria and by activating a gene called T-bet – essential for producing immune cells in the lining of your digestive tract.

These immune cells, called innate lymphoid cells (ILCs), help maintain balance between immunity and inflammation in your body and produce interleukin-22 (IL-22), a hormone that helps protect your body from pathogenic bacteria. ILCs even help resolve cancerous lesions and prevent the development of bowel cancers and other inflammatory diseases.

Best way to eat

Eating more vegetables is important. However, you also need to maximize the nutritional value of those vegetables. Broccoli is most nutritious eaten raw. If you cook it, the cooking method will determine how much of the broccoli’s nutrient content remains intact. Too much water and too much heat can cause water-soluble vegetables such as broccoli to lose their nutrient content. The answer is to cook vegetables quickly in a small amount of water. Therefore, one of the best methods of cook vegetables like broccoli is to steam them. Ideally your broccoli should be organic to avoid pesticides.

For nutritional consultations on a wide range of health issues contact Susan Tomassini, Licensed Nutritionist BSc (Hons) Dip BCNH @ 06 17481114 or visit www.foodwise.life for your personalized nutritional program!

Creamy Broccoli Salad

broccoli summer salad


For the creamy dressing:

2 cups raw cashews
1 cup olive oil
3/4 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons Himalayan salt
3 small garlic cloves
2/3-1 cup water (for thick cheese-like spread use 2/3 cup; for thinner sauce use 1 cup)

For the salad:

4-6 cups broccoli florets (cut into small, bite-size pieces)
1 yellow bell pepper (diced)
1 small jar pitted Taggiasca or Kalamata olives,
1 zucchini (sliced, spiralized or julienned)
Pine nuts and Basil (for garnish)

For creamy dressing: Blend all your ingredients in a high-speed blender. Add water until you reach the consistency you like. Once you store this sauce in the refrigerator, it will thicken. Simply add more water if you need to thin it out for use later.

For the salad: In a large bowl, coat your broccoli florets with the white sauce. Then add diced yellow bell pepper and sliced olives. Place salad on top of a bed of arugula, followed by a layer of julienned zucchini noodles. Drizzle olive oil over top and garnish with pine nuts and a few fresh sprigs of basil.

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