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How to Cook Broccoli and Keep Its Nutrients

By Edited Apr 27, 2015 0 3

Cook broccoli with minimal heat and water for optimal health benefits

A Quick Guide to Better Broccoli Nutrition

 Broccoli is packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that can protect you from illness and perhaps even save your life. Known as a “super food”, this heroic vegetable helps your body reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and fight big bad diseases like diabetes and cancer. Scientists have even suggested that eating “trees” may help reduce a person’s susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease.

The way broccoli is prepared determines how healthy it is. Do you use water to wash and cook your broccoli? What about heat? Water and heat are good in moderation, but too much of these elements can leach the life-saving nutrients right out of this super food.

Washing Broccoli

Most people wash their fresh broccoli in water before eating it. This is the right thing to do, of course, with all the pesticides, dirt, and debris that produce is exposed to. Place the vegetable under a cool, running tap, but be careful not to soak it for too long; precious, water-soluble vitamin C is easily lost this way.

Cooking Broccoli

Steaming, microwaving, stir-frying, and boiling are four popular methods of preparation. Some of these cooking methods preserve nutrients than others.

Steaming: A Healthy Choice

Because water and heat leach valuable nutrients from broccoli, quick steaming (which minimizes broccoli’s exposure to water and heat) is one of the healthiest ways to cook this vegetable. 3-5 minutes of steam are really all that is necessary to cook it adequately.

Microwaving: A Healthy Choice

Microwaving is another good choice. Yes, microwaving! With just a little water and a small amount of heat exposure, broccoli can be microwaved with minimal nutrient loss. Just be sure to keep a lid on the dish so nutrients don’t escape with the steam, and don’t leave it in the microwave longer than necessary.

Stir-Frying: A Healthy Choice

Stir-frying requires no water, a little bit of oil, and minimal exposure to heat. A few minutes in an oiled wok or frying pan will cook this vegetable nicely.

Boiling: NOT a Healthy Choice

Boiling is the worst choice when it comes to cooking broccoli, as a huge portion of the nutrients are sapped by the hot water. Avoid boiling broccoli; there are plenty of other delicious options.

Your Goal: Nutrient-Rich, Perfectly Cooked Broccoli

Perfectly cooked broccoli is bright green, slightly firm, and never mushy. Cook with as little water as possible, for the shortest amount of time possible. If you find yourself eating a bowl full of yellow-green mush, a hefty portion of the nutrients have probably been zapped by the heat and water used to cook it.

Drinking Broccoli Water

Some people actually drink broccoli water as a way to recapture the nutrients lost when they steam, microwave, or boil the vegetable. If you aren’t enamored with the idea of drinking bright green broccoli water, try adding it to a smoothie, soup, stew, dip, or another recipe. This is a sneaky way of recapturing nutrients that have been lost during food preparation. If you can’t use all the water at once, toss it in a freezer-safe container and use it later.

Experiment with different ways of cooking and eating broccoli, and remember:


Your body will thank you.



Feb 25, 2011 10:09am
Very good info on the benefits of cooking broccoli the right way. I like broccoli raw.
Feb 25, 2011 5:38pm
Thanks for the information. I never thought about using the broccoli water but I will from now on!
Feb 26, 2011 11:58am
Very helpful article on broccoli nutrition.
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