summer greens

Broccoli

Nutrition information

  • Broccoli is low in calories but nutrient-dense.  It is high in vitamins A, C and folate.
  • Phytonutrients contained in broccoli include flavonoids, glucosinolates and the carotenoid, lutein.

Other health benefits

mixedgreensBroccoli helps to keep our cells healthy due to the presence of glucosinolates and sulphoraphane.  The antioxidant lutein, also found in broccoli, may help to protect against age-related macular degeneration, a condition that affects the retina in the eye.

Serving suggestions

  • Add chopped raw broccoli to salads and use for dipping (crudite)
  • Serve lightly steamed broccoli with grilled salmon or chicken, and baked sweet potatoes
  • Add broccoli to stir-fries or to pasta dishes for flavour, colour and nutrition
  • Sprinkle lemon juice and sesame seeds over steamed broccoli and serve as a side dish with a main meal.

Portion size

A portion of broccoli is 2 large spears or approximately 90 grams.

Asparagus

Nutrition information

  • Asparagus is lower in carbohydrates, and higher in protein than many other vegetables.
  • It is high in vitamin A, folate and is a source of vitamin C.

Other health benefits

  • Historically, asparagus has been used in the treatment of arthritis and rheumatism.  This may be due to the presence of some recently identified anti-inflammatory compounds.
  • Asparagus has been used in the past as a diuretic.  The diuretic effect is due to the presence of the amino acid asparagine, which when excreted in the urine, gives off a strong characteristic odour.

Serving suggestions

  • A very simple way of serving asparagus is to lightly steam it, and serve it either hot as part of a main meal, or cold with a salad, served with a light lemon vinaigrette.
  • Steamed, chopped asparagus can be added to cooked pasta with some olive oil and herbs or a light creamy sauce.
  • Add lightly steamed, finely chopped asparagus to an omelette or scrambled eggs.
  • Roast asparagus along with other vegetables such as red onion, sweet potato and carrots, drizzled with a little olive oil and lemon juice.
  • Wrap lightly steamed asparagus in a slice of Parma ham, sprinkle over some parmesan and grill until the cheese has melted.

Portion size

A portion of fresh asparagus is 5 spears.

Cabbage

Nutrition information

  • Cabbage is a member of the “cruciferous” family of vegetables, which also includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, radishes and turnips.
  • Cabbage is high in vitamins A, C, and folate.
  • It is a good source of fibre with 2.4 grams of fibre per 100 grams, and only 26 calories per 100 grams!
  • Cabbage also contains the phytochemicals known as glucosinolates which are believed to keep our cells healthy.

Other health benefits

  • The glucosinolates found in cabbage can help to boost the defence action of antioxidants in the body, and therefore may help to protect us from certain types of cancer, including colon, prostate, lung and breast cancer.
  • Glucosinolates can also help us to get rid of harmful chemicals more efficiently from the liver.

Serving suggestions

  • Raw white and red cabbage can be shredded finely and made into coleslaw or added to salads.
  • Lightly fry some shredded green cabbage and add to mashed potato.
  • Add shredded cabbage to stir-frys.
  • Cook red cabbage slowly in red wine for a delicious, rich side dish.

Tips for buying and preparing cabbage

Buy whole cabbage rather than pre-cut packs, as once it is shredded it rapidly loses its vitamin C content.  Store cabbage in the fridge as the temperature will help to retain vitamin C.  Wash cabbage leaves before using them, and cut or shred it right before cooking or eating it.

Portion size

A portion of cabbage is three heaped tablespoons, or approximately 60 grams.