Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Broccoli Smoothie

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Broccoli…The How

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Broccoli…The Why Else

Let’s look at some more reasons adding broccoli to your diet is beneficial…

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1. Bones and Joints

Broccoli contains many nutrients that have been shown to keep your bones and fjoints healthy and to help prevent bone-related disorders….

  • calcium …broccoli contains almost as much calcium as whole milk.
  • phosphorus…6% DRV per cup
  • vitamin A…11% RDV, in the form of carotenoids
  • vitamin C…Broccoli is an excellent source of  vitamin C.  In fact, only one-half of a cup of cooked broccoli provides a whopping 84% RDV of vitamin C— more than that foundf in half of an orange.
  • vitamin K…broccoli contains 116% RDI of vitamin K.

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2. Brain Function

Broccoli contains many nutrients and bioactive compounds that can keep your brain and nervous system functioning correctly. In fact, eating only one serving of dark green vegetables , such as broccoli, per day may help resist mental decline.

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3. Cancer

Broccoli contains nutrients that may help fight and even prevent certain types of cancer—including breast, prostate, stomach, and intestinal. Eating two cups of broccoli twice a week is the amount most nutritionists consider adequate to reap the full cancer-fighting benefits of broccoli.

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4. Dental and Oral Health

Broccoli contains many nutrients—such as vitamin C , flavanoids, and calcium,—that have been shown to support oral health and prevent dental diseases—such as periodontitis, oral cancers

Many people also claim that eating raw broccoli helps remove plaque and whiten your teeth

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5. Diabetes

Broccoli may be worth adding to your weekly menu because there has been research showing that broccoli can be beneficial to diabetics…definitely adding it to my own weekly menu, know that my husband has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and I don’t want to be a fifty year old widow with a five year old, right?

Anyway, why/how is broccoli helpful for diabetics?

First of all, broccoli has been shown to significantly decrease insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes….perhaps because of broccoli’s high antioxidant content.

Broccoli has also been shown to lower blood sugar levels and improve diabetic control because of its high content of soluble fiber.

 

 

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6. Digestion

Broccoli may support bowel regularity and healthy gut bacteria because it is rich in both fiber and antioxidants, two nutrients that are important for “bowel regularity” and healthy gut bacteria.

Fiber affects several aspects of our digestive system—the speed that food travels through our digestive system, the consistency of food as it moves through our intestine, bacterial populations in our intestine, the health of your stomach lining.

And for those readers out there who still give a crap…broccoli even makes it easier to take a crap.

 

 

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7. Eye Health

Broccoli contains lutein and eaxanthin, the same antioxidant that have been shown to make carrots so very good for your eyes;.

These antioxidants both help your eyes from eye diseases and problems—such as macular degeneration and cataracts

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8. Heart Health

Broccoli has also been shown to play a role maintaining the health of your heart,  maintaining your LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and keeping your blood vessels strong

First of all, broccoli contains sulforaphane, an anti-inflammatory that has been shown to prevent and reverse damage to blood vessel lining caused by chronic blood sugar problems.

.The fiber found in broccoli may reduce your risk of heart disease.

Finally, B-complex vitamins helps regulate or reduce excessive levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that increases your risk of coronary artery disease.

 

 

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9, Immune System

Broccoli is loaded with vitamin C, possibly one of the most important nutrients for keeping your immune system effectively doing its job of preventing and treating  various illnesses.

The RDV for vitamin C is 100–200 mg….and broccoli contains 78 grams …84% RDI of vitamin C per half-cup serving. of cooked broccoli

 

 

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10. Pregnancy

Broccoli contains many of the vitamins, minerals and protein needed by expectant mothers…especially the B vitamins…and even more specifically the vitamin B9, also known as folate…that are important for the development of the fetal brain and spinal cord.

Eating broccoli and other fiber-rich foods while pregnant can can help ensure healthy pregnancy outcomes and support healthier cognitive development of the newborn.

 

 

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11. Skin

Broccoli, mainly in the form of broccoli extract, contauns nutrients that have been studied as far as protecting you from getting skin cancer and other skin damage that result from exposure to a damaged ozone layer and increased exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays.

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Broccoli…The Why

So now that we know what broccoli is, let’s take a look at why you should be eating broccoli.

What nutrients does broccoli contain…What health benefits does it offer…

 

 

 

 

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1.Anti-inflammatory

Whenever our bodies are threatened with dangerous levels of potential toxins or overly-reactive, oxygen-containing molecules, it sends signals to our inflammatory system….telling our brain to “kick in” and help protect from any possible  damage….(more on this later)…

Certain nutrients help slow down the damage to joints, such as arthritis,..such as kaempferol, a flavonoid that especially works within our digestive tracta by  (by lowering your immune system’s production of allergy-related substances…and omega-3, another nutritent that prevents the inflammatory system from going bonkers.

Two cups of broccoli contain about 400 milligrams of omega-3…actually in the form of alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA—as much as one soft gel capsule of flax oil

 

 

 

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2.  Antioxidant

Btoccoli also contains vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that can act as an antioxidant—such as flavonoids, carotenoids, and beta-carotene.

This means that broccoli can help your body fight against the many toxins that pose a risk to our cells.

 

 

 

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3. Aging Process.

No, broccoli can’t keep us from getting older…even though that would be nice.

But it can help prevent age-related diseases because of these same antioxidant functions.

 

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Broccoli…The What

Another vegetable with high antioxidant properties is broccoli.

Broccoli is the most common member of the family tree called cruciferous vegetables, a family that includes Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale, cabbage., collards, kale, mustard greens, and turnip greens. You may hear this family referred to as either the “mustard family” or the “cabbage family.”

Broccoli firsts started out as a type of wild cabbage way back during the Roman times, when it was enjoyed immensely by the Romans.

Broccoli did not gain popularity until the 1920’s, even though it had been ntroduced to the United States during colonial times,

The word “broccoli” is derived from an Italian word meaning “branch” or “arm,” which is a perfect description of its blossom-bearing, cross-shaped stems that resemble mini trees

There are several different types of broccoli, including…

  • Broccoflower,…a pale green hybrid of broccoli and cauliflower..
  • Broccolini ,,,baby broccoli that is a hybrid of broccoli and Chinese kale
  • Broccoli raab… this vegetable does not have the tree-like “heads” we’re used to, but instead has the same florets but on longer and thinner stems. I
  • Broccoli rapini,…this vegetable has fewer florets and a mustard-like flavor Chinese

Most broccoli grown in the United States comes from either California

China is the country that produces the most broccoli per year, over 8 million tons per year.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Blackberry Smoothie

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Blackberries…The How

Shopping for Blackberries

When shopping for blackberries, remember that the blacker the color, the riper and sweeter the blackberry will be.

The perfect blackberry has a “deep”-flavored and is very juicy.

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Storing Blackberries

Blackberries are highly perishable and delicate. They can turn soft, mushy, and moldy within 24 hours after bringing them home from the store, so you will want to either use them that same day or freeze them.

Once you do bring them home, check for any soft, overripe berries…as well as any squished or moldy berries. Gently blot the berries that you’re keeping with a paper towel and place them in a covered container in your fridge.

Do not wash the berries until you’re fixing to…_(yeah, I am from the Deep South)…to either eat them or cook with them.

To freeze blackberries…which is honestly the best way to use them to make smoothies…flash freeze them by first arranging the blackberries in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Then put the cookie sheet with the berries into the freezer. Freeze them until they are solidly frozen. Then put them to an airtight container or Ziploc bag, label, and date…..yeah, I do know that you can also buy prepackaged frozen berries, but we’re trying to avoid processed foods, remember?)

 

 

 

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Recipes

Blackberries have been used to make wines and cordials as far back as 1696..so they must taste pretty darn good, right?.

And of  course you could eat the blackberries that you have bought all by themselves, but why stop there, when you could use your blackberries to make great desserts such as cobbler, jelly, and smoothies. 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Blackberries—The Why

Blackberries have been used by many different ethnic groups of people for many different purposes….at least since the time of the ancient Greeks.

Blackberry tea made from the leaves, roots, and bark was used to treat oral problems, such as bleeding gums, canker sores, sore throats, anf mouth ulcers.

The roots have astringent properties that have been used to treat digestivce problems—such as diarrhea and stomach ulcers.

Blackberries have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral properties.

So let’s first look at the nutritional value in half a cup of blackberries.

 

 

 

 

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Nutritional Value

A half cup serving of blackberries roughly contains about 430 calories.

This same half cup also contains about half of a gram of fat, zero cholesterol, a miligram of sodium, about ten grams of carbohydrates.

Blackberries contain significant amounts of both soluble and insoluble fiberactually five grams of dietary fiber, or 25% RDV. Blackberries are also a good source of pectin, a type of soluble fiber that helps lower cholesterol levels.

As far as vitamins, this same half cup of blueberries contains…

  • Vitamin A…214 IU
  • Vitamin B1…thiamine…2%…0.020 mg
  • Vitamin B2…riboflavin…2%…0.026 mg
  • Vitamin B3…niacin…4%…0.646 mg
  • Vitamin B6…2%…0.030 mg
  • Vitamin B9…folate…6%…25 μg
  • Vitamin C…25%…21.0 mg…It has been documented that as far back as 1771 to treat scurvy.
  • Vitamin E…8%…1.17 mg
  • Vitamin K…19%…19.8 μg

In addition to these vitamins, blackberries also contain many minerals that we need, such as…

  • Calcium…3%…29 mg
  • Iron…5%…0.62 mg
  • Magnesium…6%…20 mg
  • Phosphorus…3%…22 mg
  • Potassium…3%…162 mg
  • Sodium…0%…1 mg
  • Zinc…6%…0.53 mg

 

 

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Antioxidants

But out main concern right now is antioxidants…and how we can get the most antioxidants into our daily diet…

And before you start adding antioxidants to your diet, you must first know what antioxidants are…


The word “sntioxidant” doesn’t actually refer to one particular chemical, but instead refers to a process that your cells perform called oxidation.

A few examples of antioxidants are vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and the minerals selenium and manganese.

 

Each of the antioxidants is its own individual and does a different job than all the other antioxidants, but together they form a team that fights free radicals, those chemicals that can damage your cells and the genetic material inside them.

Although there are hundreds and possibly thousands of substances that can act as antioxidants, each with its own role in the cooperation of other antioxidants to help the body work effectively, let’s take a look at a few of the more “popular” ones…

 

 

1.Beta-carotene…Beta-carotene is a pigment—which can be yellow, orange, or red—is found in many vegetables and fruits…including carrots, squash, and spinach. Beta-carotene is important for your vision.

2. Flavonoids. There are more than 4,000 of different flavonoids found in fruits and veggies. Every plant contains a different flavonoid combination. Flavonoids are important in protecting you from heart disease, cancer, arthritis, aging, cataracts, memory loss, stroke, inflammation, and infection. Flavonoids can be found in green tea, grapes, red wine, apples, chocolate, and berries.

3. Lycopene...Lycopene help protect your body from cancer—specificaxlly prostate, lung, and breast cancer. Good sources of lycopene include cooked and processed tomatoes, such as the pasta sauce you used last night of your spaghetti.

 

4. Omega-3 Fatty AcidsOmega-3 fatty acids help protect against heart disease, stroke, arthritis, cataracts, and cancer. Omega-3 fatty acids are commonly found in salmon, tuna, sardines, and walnuts…

5. Omega-6 Fatty Acids...Omega-6 fatty acids help improve eczema, psoriasis, and osteoporosis. Omega-6 fatty acids can be found in vegetable oils, nuts, and poultty.

6. Selenium,,,Selemium helps your thyroid work and also can help protect against cancer—especially lung, colon, and prostate cancer. Sources of selenium include onions, garlic, and soybeans.

7. Vitamin C.…Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is another essential antioxidant that possibly helps prevent cancer—epecially stomach cancer, lung cancer, and cancer within the digestive system. You can get more vitamin C into your diet by eating green vegetables, tomatoes, and citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits.

8. Vitamin EVitamin E fights off free radicals that attack fats in your cell walls….and also keeps LDL cholesterol from hardening your arteries. Good sources of vitamin # include whole grains, vegetable oils (olive, sunflower, canola), nuts, and green leafy vegetables

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Blackberries…The What

Another good option when targetting your smoothie to be most effective for its antioxidant purposes is the blackberry.

This soft, plump, sweet, and juicy fruit is commonly found in Europe from June until November, but are now also grown commercially in the United States.

They also grow wild  in forests and hedgerows across most of North America…where they can be found as thorny bushes or trailing vines, known as brambles. These brambles have many very sharp prickles or thorns that can easily tear through your clothes, even through denim, with ease and make the plant very difficult to navigate around. These sharp, thick thorns help protect wild blackberries from large animals.

 

Blackberries are considered an “aggregate fruit” because each single blackberry, as we usually think of as blackberries, is not an actual fruit in itself. Instead what we think of whenever we think about blackberries is actually a cluster of about twenty-five tiny fruits called druplets. each having its own seed.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

And the Beet Goes On…(Making the Perfect Beet Smoothie)