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Broccoli, My Super Hero

The new health buzzword is inflammation and many of us associate it with poor health. In actuality that’s only part of the story. We need inflammation that’s short lived to help our body respond to colds, cuts and bruises, and aid in our natural healing response. We call that the pro inflammatory response. Sometimes, however, the balance between our pro inflammatory and anti inflammatory response gets shifted and continues at at a low level wreaking havoc, and ultimately damaging our health. This chronic low level of inflammation has been linked to multiple health conditions like arthritis, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer’s. 

One of the most powerful approaches to protect against chronic inflammation is wisely choosing what’s at the end of your fork. The anti inflammatory diet, developed by Dr. Andrew Weil, provides a framework for keeping inflammation in balance for optimal health and well being. The anti inflammatory pyramid emphasizes healthy fats, more fruits and veggies in a rainbow of colors, limiting simple carbohydrates and animal fat, and using plenty of healing spices. 

I am presently having a love affair with cruciferous vegetables:  broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, and cauliflower. Part of the Brassicaceae family, they pack a powerful nutritional punch, and are rich in vitamins and minerals like folate and vitamin K. The darker green veggies of this family contain vitamin A and C. They are rich in fiber and low in calories. They contain a compound called glucosinolates, and in particular suloraphane, which has been shown to have both anti cancer and anti inflammatory effects. 

Try roasting, steaming, or tossing them in a variety of salads. Kale can be baked into crisp chips. Mash cauliflower into a pizza crust or use as a substitute for rice when grated. And Brussels sprouts can be tossed with savory olives, parmesan cheese, or even sweet maple syrup for a melt in your mouth side.

Follow the three quarter rule and fill your plate with 75 percent vegetables, leaving the last quarter for grains and lean protein. 

What you put on your plate can have a big impact on your overall health and wellness. Eat real food…. And Rediscover Wellness.

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