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Healthiest Foods: Broccoli and Avocado

Mary Murray

Broccoli

   As a member of the healthful cruciferous family, broccoli boasts a number of minerals and antioxidants. "All the cruciferous vegetables in general, like cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage—that whole family—are excellent for you," says Rebecca Berman, a registered dietitian and licensed nutritionist at Palm Beach Dietetics.

Benefits

  • Sulforaphane: Many studies indicate that this compound has anti-cancer benefits.
  • Folate: A form of vitamin B, folate helps make red blood cells, synthesize and repair DNA and prevent anemia.

Eat it Because

   The phytonutrients in broccoli have anti-inflammatory properties, making it perfect for detox diets. "A lot of people don't realize that inflammation is actually the cause of a lot of conditions," Berman says. "A lot of diseases start with having inflammation in your body."

 

Avocado

     "Avocados are the complete package, containing fiber, protein and over 20 essential nutrients," says Courtney Burke, a certified nutrition consultant and healthy eating specialist at Whole Foods in Palm Beach Gardens. In addition to omega-3 fatty acids, this fruit has monounsaturated fat, potassium and vitamins A, C and E.

Benefits

  • Potassium: An avocado has more potassium than a banana. "Potassium is considered an electrolyte and it's really important for muscle function," Berman says.
  • Monounsaturated fats: These healthy fats decrease the risk of heart disease and improve blood cholesterol.

How to Incorporate

   The recommended serving size is 1/5 of the avocado, or one ounce; this contains 50 calories and all of the vitamins and minerals.

 

Try This: Broccoli and Avocado Soup, by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Marry two super foods, broccoli and avocado, with this recipe. Photo by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 cloves minced fresh garlic
  • 1/3 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 1/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 cup croutons
  • 4 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Method

  1. Place a medium-sized stock pot over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to the preheated pan. Add onion and garlic to the pan and sauté until translucent.
  2. Add broccoli, vegetable broth and milk to the pan. Reduce heat and bring to a simmer. Cook ingredients until the broccoli is just crisp-tender. Add broccoli mixture to a blender with a tight-fitting lid.
  3. Add the avocado and spinach to the blender as well. Make sure not to fill the blender more than half full at a time. Carefully pulse the ingredients until smooth and creamy.
  4. Taste soup and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Return soup to pot and heat back up to serving temperature. Garnish soup with croutons and Parmesan cheese.
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