Senior Citizens no longer need to sacrifice taste for healthy eating. At Aston Gardens At Tampa Bay, our Sensations Dining meals give you all the adequate nutrition you need to live a healthy, energetic and vibrant life. Our made from scratch meals take into account your dietary restrictions while making each meal delightfully enticing and deliciously pleasing. Come visit us today to get a taste of what we provide our residents!
“Eating greens is a special treat, It makes long ears and great big feet. But it sure is awful stuff to eat. I made that last part up myself.” Thumper in Bambi
Thumper in Bambi was wrong about one thing: Greens don’t have to be awful to eat! Especially for Senior Citizens, eating greens are an important component to maintaining a healthy mind and body. Greens provide important vitamins and minerals that can aid in longevity and better quality of life.
Broccoli, in the cruciferous vegetable family (think cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, water cress, etc.) is one of the best, most nutrient rich foods available today. Broccoli can play an important role in:
- Cancer prevention: Broccoli contains antioxidants that neutralize free radicals that cause cell damage and sometimes lead to cancer. Sulforaphane is one potent antioxidant in broccoli that protects against cancer. It is an organic sulfur compound, which can help counteract blood sugar problems, inflammation and slows down/ prevents arthritis.
- Eye health: Phytochemicals such as carotenoids and antioxidants, such as lutein in broccoli have shown to be good for your eyes, and may protect against macular degeneration and cataracts.
- Maintaining healthy bacteria in the intestines and stomach lining: The nutrients in broccoli can help digestion & aid in detoxification of contaminants in the body.
- Lowering cholesterol and maintaining proper blood pressure
- Supporting the Immune System
- Keeping inflammation at bay: The properties in broccoli act as an anti-inflammatory and can slow down conditions, such as osteoarthritis.
- Getting adequate vitamins and minerals: Broccoli is high in Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin K & Potassium. It also contains adequate amounts of protein, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and iron
Words of Caution About Broccoli
Frozen broccoli may lack the ability to produce sulforaphane and other important nutrients, so it is best to eat fresh broccoli to get the full benefits of the vegetable, when possible.
Take to a doctor if you are taking a blood thinner. Sometimes broccoli needs to be limited as Vitamin K may interfere with some medications.
Do you feel gassy or bowel irritation after eating broccoli? If so, make sure you cook it, as eating it raw can make more gas. Try taking Beano before a meal. Get on a good probiotic that can support gut health. Lemon juice, yogurt, kefir and buttermilk can also help support the good bacteria in your colon to reduce gas and irritation. However, the nutrition in broccoli is worth a little gas or minor bowel irritation.
Best Ways to Cook Broccoli for Nutrition
Not all ways to cook Broccoli are created equal, especially in order to reap the benefits of their nutrient rich properties. Boiling broccoli can eradicate some of the important enzymes that help prevent cancer.
The best ways to cook broccoli include steaming, microwaving, or sautéing for about five minutes. Roasting broccoli can also be another option, but keep in mind that the higher the temperature, the quicker the vegetable loses its important nutrients. Broccoli should still have somewhat of a crunch to it after cooked, to get the most nutrition out of the vegetable.
Below are some simple ideas that make it super easy to incorporate Broccoli in a given meal or snack. Always make sure Broccoli is washed thoroughly before preparing. You may also want to either remove all of part of the stems or cook the stems for longer than the florets.
Simple Broccoli Sauté
1/2 bunch Broccoli or Broccoli rabe
1 Tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon minced garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste
Do not dry the washed broccoli. In a sauté pan, warm olive oil over low heat. Add garlic for about a minute. Add broccoli and cook until the florets are tender when pierced with a fork, about 12 minutes. Add salt and pepper.
1 bunch broccoli (about six cups)
¼ cup olives (Try Kalamata)
1 orange segmented
3 Tablespoons Seeds or Nuts (Your choice of flax, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, chia, pomegranate, pecans, sliced almonds, hazelnuts)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup vinegar (Your choice of balsamic, apple, white wine, etc.)
Salt, Pepper and herbs to taste
Fill one inch of water in saucepan and bring to a boil. Place prepared broccoli in a steamer basket on top of saucepan for five to seven minutes. Rinse to cool. Add additional ingredients in a bowl with the broccoli and mix together.
Parmesan Roasted Broccoli
2 cups fresh broccoli florets
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
You may want to consider steaming broccoli right before roasting, so that the broccoli can fully maintain nutrients. Pre-heat your oven to 375F. After removing broccoli stems (optional), tear or cut the florets into smaller pieces. Coat all of the broccoli lightly with olive oil and sea salt. Spread these smaller florets onto a baking sheet in a single layer. On top of broccoli, add Parmesan cheese. Bake for about ten minutes, rotating the baking sheet once. When the Parmesan is golden brown, the broccoli should be done!
Try incorporating broccoli into your diet at least a few times per week, especially if you have experienced any illness or condition that could benefit from this nutrition. Your body and mind will benefit tremendously!
Finally, enjoy the full benefits of broccoli by cooking and eating meals with community, friends and family. Socializing can make food taste better and can be more stimulating for the brain. Visit Aston Gardens At Tampa Bay today to learn more about our independent senior living, assisted living, and memory care programs, or get in touch by contacting us online or calling us at 813-993-1276!