Sunday, February 6, 2011

Steam Broccoli for Full Health Benefits

Like to boil your broccoli until it’s dark green? You might be cooking some of the cancer-fighting power right out of it, a new study in the journal Nutrition and Cancer finds.

In the study, researchers found that the enzyme myrosinase—abundant in raw broccoli and broccoli sprouts—contributes to broccoli’s cancer-fighting properties. But many people destroy the enzyme by overcooking broccoli—which happens pretty much any time you microwave it, boil it, or use enough heat to cook something else (like an omelet or pizza)—says co-author Elizabeth Jeffrey, Ph.D. of University of Illinois.

So how can you get the most of your favorite green stuff?  Steaming your broccoli is the best way to cook it, says Jeffrey. Make sure it keeps that bright green color and only steam it for 2 to 4 minutes—if you leave them in for 6 or 7 minutes, you’ll kill the cancer-fighting enzymes.

If your kitchen’s not stocked with a steamer, try this on your stovetop. Fill a large pot ¼ to ⅓ full of water. Bring the water a boil. Then fill a smaller colander with the broccoli place it in the larger one making sure it doesn’t touch the water. Cover the larger pot for 2 to 4 minutes. The steam from the pot and the heat from the boiling water will serve as your own professional steamer.

Men's Health magazine