Loving the BITE: Spicy Broccoli Soup
With over 300 studies to support its whole-food, nutrition power-house goodness, broccoli is a sure-fire way to improve your health. Specifically, it fights 3 cellular problem areas that can contribute to a whole host of chronic disease and health issues: chronic cellular inflammation, oxidative stress, and poor cellular detoxification.
And, it’s no surprise. We all know broccoli is good for us. Look at it, smell it, taste it, feel it, and it screams “healthy food.” My four-year old and two-year old know it’s healthy. In fact, I recommend eating it at least 5 times per week, for at least 2.5 cups per week (you can bet the kids love this). It’s that good for you. And, this week, it’ll taste good too!
Recipe of the week: Spicy Broccoli Soup
- 2 cups organic vegetable broth
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper, or to taste
- 1 med onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 lb Broccoli
- Fresh ground black pepper
Instructions: (prep: 5 minutes, cook: 12 minutes)
- Bring broth to a simmer, along with crushed red pepper, over med heat.
- Once broth is heated, add onion and/or garlic.
- While broth and onion/garlic are heating, chop off tough ends of broccoli and trim off any tough edges of stalk.
- Add prepared broccoli to broth.
- Cover and simmer until veggie is tender, just about 10 minutes.
- Transfer mixture to blender or food processor. Puree soup.
- Return to pan and season to taste with pepper. Thin with broth or water if too thick.
- Reheat until soup starts to bubble. Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt.
Freezes well, too! If re-heating after thawed, reheat in microwave until warmed through. Stir as needed.
So, what’s in it for you? Broccoli provides:
- More Vitamin C than an orange, ounce for ounce. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps cyclists fight free radical build-up and oxidative stress.
- Fiber to fight cholesterol. While not the most of any vegetable, broccoli’s fiber, especially when steamed or slightly cooked, is great at binding the bile that can increase “bad” cholesterol in your blood stream.
- Phytonutrients-galore! Three specific phytonutrients, glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiian, and glucobrassicin are found in combination in broccoli. They support cellular detoxification (neutralization and elimination of unwanted contaminants) and contribute to the formation of isothiocyanates. Isothiocyanates are special nutrients that encourage the body to produce even more phase-two detoxification CANCER-FIGHTING enzymes. These enzymes actually disrupt potential cancer-causing substances before they have a chance to damage healthy cell DNA.
- Vitamin A and Vitamin K. This vitamin one-two punch actually supports adequate levels of a third important vitamin, Vitamin D. If you’re low in vitamin D and supplementing it, like many Americans, adequate vitamin A and K will support a healthy balance of vitamin D, which in turn, contributes to overall health and wellness in many areas of the body.
- Flavanoids such as kaempferol. In a world of ever-increasing occurrences of food and environmental allergies, kaempferol can decrease an allergen’s impact on the body. How? It reduces inflammation, which is a part of the body’s response to an allergen. And as athletes, we want all the anti-inflammatory nutrients we can get!
- And, of course, more antioxidants. Beta-carotene and lutein are abundant in broccoli, and these antioxidants work with vitamin C to fight all those nasty cell-damaging free radicals.
To serve up enough broccoli each week, try adding it to daily salads, stir-fries, and fresh veggies packed for lunch. Each dinner, include ½-a-plate, or 2-3 cups of vegetables (measured when fresh), in the form of fresh salads, steamed vegetables, sautéed vegetables, or healthy pureed soups like the one featured above. And, for all you raw smoothie drinkers out there, start adding a bit of broccoli to your green smoothies – if you add a little at a time, you will likely not even taste it. Try this detox smoothie:
Bonus Recipe – Broccoli Detox Smoothie:
- 1 cup berries
- ½-1 cup spinach
- 1 small orange
- 2 small broccoli florets (add 1 add’l small floret each time you make this smoothie to find your threshold)
- 2 Tbsp walnuts
- Protein: Your choice. I recommend 10-20 grams protein from undenatured whey, Greek yogurt, soy protein, hemp seeds, or a mix.
- 1 tsp honey or small amount of Stevia, if desired
- Ice/water for desired consistency
Blend well and enjoy!
It’s time to step it up a notch. More broccoli. Less disease. More wellness. Less sick days. More opportunities to get out and love the bike.
Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body.