What Makes Broccoli and Kale Superfoods?

Broccoli and kale are often touted to be “superfoods.” And, yes, they really are amazingly healthy for you.

If you’re wondering what exactly is in these green powerhouses that makes them so “super,” I’ve dived into the research to give you some nerdy reasons to make these a staple in your diet.

To start, they’re both considered cruciferous vegetables related to each other in the Brassica family. This family of super plants also includes cauliflower, cabbage, mustard greens, and Brussels sprouts.

These superfoods have a tonne of nutrition, and other health-promoting compounds, they’re relatively inexpensive and easy to cook too!

 

SUPER NUTRITION

 

Broccoli and kale are full of nutrition: vitamins, minerals, fibre, etc. They’re both considered to be nutrient dense which is a measure of nutrients per calorie – and these both have a lot!

100 grams of broccoli (about 1 cup, chopped) contains:

  • 34 calories
  • 8 g protein, 0.4 g fat, 6.6 g carbohydrates, and 2.6 g fibre.
  • Good source of B vitamins (when eaten raw)
  • >100% of your daily vitamin C
  • Almost 100% of your vitamin K
  • Good source of manganese
  • Traces of all the other vitamins and minerals

One cup of loosely packed kale contains:

  • 8 calories
  • 7 g protein, 0.2 g fat (including omega-3), 1.4 g carbohydrates, and 0.6 g fibre.
  • Contains pre-vitamin A (beta-carotene).
  • Several B vitamins, including B1, B3, B5, B6, and folate (B9)
  • Rich in vitamins C and K
  • Lots of minerals including manganese, magnesium, iron, potassium, sulfur, copper, phosphorus, and calcium

As you can see, these two foods contain a lot of nutrients.

NOTE: Too much vitamin K may interact with certain blood-thinning medications. If you’re taking one of these medications, talk to your doctor or pharmacist before incorporating too much of these superfoods into your diet.

Broccoli and kale also contain other health-promoting compounds.

 

SUPER HEALTH-PROMOTING COMPOUNDS

 

Broccoli and kale tend to taste a bit bitter – but that bitterness equals healthfulness!

This bitter flavour is from some of the health-promoting compounds in these super plant foods. Things like glucosinolates (e.g., sulforaphane and isothiocyanates) and polyphenol flavonols.

There are a few different types of kale – from curly kale, to dinosaur kale, to red/purple kale. The different colours result from slight differences in the amounts of the compounds these plants contain.

One of the main active ingredients in cruciferous vegetables are glucosinolates. These antioxidant compounds are very useful to help detoxify and protect against cancer.

FUN FACT: It’s the precursors to glucosinolates that are in cruciferous vegetables, not the compounds themselves. When fresh broccoli and kale are eaten (or even chopped/blended) raw the active compounds are produced. *This fact is incorporated into a trick I use in this week’s recipe*

NOTE: Glucosinolates may affect iodine absorption and thyroid health, particularly in people prone to thyroid disease. In this case, you may not have to ditch these superfoods altogether – just cook them first.

These superfoods also contain flavonols like kaempferol and quercetin. Flavonols have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and they decrease your risk of cancer.

Kale also contains carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin. Carotenoids are known for promoting eye health and are protective against many cancers.

When cooked, kale contains another anti-cancer compound called indole.

 

CONCLUSION

 

Broccoli and kale are cruciferous superfoods. They are packed with nutrition and have a whole array of health-promoting compounds.

Almost everyone should be eating these regularly. Just be cautious if you’re taking blood-thinning medications; and, if you have thyroid issues, cook them first.

Do you, or anyone you know, absolutely love (or hate) these superfoods? Do you have a favourite recipe to share? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Recipe (Broccoli & Kale): Superfood Soup

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp garlic, chopped
2 large handfuls kale
4 stalks celery, chopped
4 stalks broccoli chopped
8 cups broth
½ cup tahini
2 tsp sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Saute garlic in olive oil in a large soup pot. At the same time do steps #2 and #3.
  2. Add half of the raw kale, celery, and broccoli to your high-speed blender (in that order). Cover with up to 4 cups of broth and blend.
  3. Pour soup into the pot with the sautéed garlic. Do the same for the other half of the veggies and broth.
  4. Heat soup and simmer for up to 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat. Add tahini and sea salt. Stir well.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: If you want the soup to be extra creamy, you can re-blend after it’s heated.

References:

https://www.thepaleomom.com/wiki/broccoli/

https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2871?manu=&fgcd=&ds=

https://www.thepaleomom.com/wiki/kale/

https://www.precisionnutrition.com/encyclopedia/food/kale

https://www.thepaleomom.com/kale-superfood-and-delicious-too/

https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-broccoli-receptor-our-first-line-of-defense-2/

https://nutritionfacts.org/video/second-strategy-to-cooking-broccoli/

https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/crucifeous-vegetables#1

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/broccoli#section1

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-proven-benefits-of-kale

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_phytochemicals_in_food#Polyphenols

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carotenoid#Properties

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glucosinolate#Humans_and_other_mammals

About Me

Hi, I’m Tracy! I create food solutions to feed your life goals. I’m a Nutritionist, chocoholic + superhero fan. Mom to three, wife to one, crazy about all four, and food! When you work with me you’ll learn to savour life and nourish all that it has to offer.

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Ready for the truth no one wants you to know?

There actually IS a secret tool to getting healthier.

Here’s another secret:
It DOESN’T involve giving up treats and wine forever.

In fact, the way I’ve been able to keep my family and I healthy for the last decade has been largely thanks to the 80/20 rule.

This week’s blog (link below) is ALL about moderation. The word you hear SO MUCH, but never really know how to practically include in your life.

Also on the blog, 15 DELICIOUS (and I mean actually delicious) vegetable recipes.

No, I’m not going to tell you to make a plain salad with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Let’s talk about VEGGIES that are delicious and taste like our favourite comfort food.

When we start to rekindle our flame with veggies, we remember how good they can taste and how they make us FEEL.

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https://tracyhoule.com/pros-and-cons-of-elimination-diets/

If you have some nagging symptoms, it's possible that they're related to the foods you eat!

And we're not just talking digestive symptoms.

Even things like headaches, joint pain, or eczema can be related to food that you're sensitive to.

How would you find out if there is a food at the root of your issue?

Through an elimination diet!

Elimination diets are just that - eliminating certain foods. Then you reintroduce them back one at a time to see if you are sensitive to those foods.

It’s a strategic process that can be great… but also not so great.

In this weeks blog - link below - I share the pros and cons of elimination diets and my latest recipe - you'll never know that it eliminates the most common allergens (because it's so good).

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Have you ever wanted to know what you should and shouldn’t eat, based on YOUR specific body?

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It looks at your genes and how your diet interacts with them.

We can use nutrition to create PERSONALIZED diets to:

PREVENT certain conditions

Help you understand your INTOLERANCES

Know how your body REACTS to carbs, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals

Build a nutrition plan for OPTIMAL health



🙋🏻‍♀️ I know I carry the CT variant of the GLUT2 gene.

This means I have a higher risk of sugar addiction which can lead to developing Type II Diabetes – but it doesn’t mean I WILL develop diabetes.



I've been able to ALTER and IMPROVE my diet with this knowledge to make sure I live a long and healthy life.



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Have you tried genetic testing?

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