Article by: Keri Glassman, MS – RD – CDN,
Our (Andy Boy) Nutrition Expert, Keri Glassman, is one of America’s foremost registered dietitians. She brings with her a wealth of nutritional knowledge, as well as an appreciation for foods that people love.
If you’re one of the 70% of Americans who fail to meet the minimum U.S. Dietary Guidelines for daily vegetable intake…You. Are. Missing. Out. Yup, you really need to get them in Stat.
My go-to fave is broccoli rabe. It’s loaded with vitamins A, C, and K, and also packs in minerals like calcium, folate, and iron, just to name a few.
Another bonus? Broccoli rabe is filled with water and fiber, which aid in digestion and can also keep you feeling fuller for longer, supporting healthy weight loss.
If you’re thinking to yourself, “broccoli rabe really rocks”, then yes, you are 100% correct.
Here is a cheat sheet on why and how broccoli rabe should play a starring role in your diet:
- Reduce your disease risk. Broccoli rabe offers a powerful dose of fiber, vitamins and minerals including antioxidants and phytochemicals which have been shown to lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease and may help reduce the risk of cancer. Experts believe that the carotenoids in broccoli rabe act as antioxidants, slowing the damage that free radicals cause our bodies, before they can do harm.
- Pump up the vitamin volume! 1 cup of broccoli rabe has more than 112% of your daily recommendation of vitamin K (strong bones!) and about 20% your recommendation of vitamin A (20/20 vision anyone?).
- Fill up til you’re full. Broccoli rabe has a high water volume, which helps you stay hydrated. One study showed subjects’ metabolic rate increased 30 percent within 10 minutes after drinking 17 ounces of water. Broccoli rabe also have a high fiber content, which not only leaves you feeling satisfied and full for longer, but also helps keep things moving in the GI tract.
- Amp your weight loss. All veggies offer multiple nutrients for very few calories, aiding in weight loss efforts. When it comes to broccoli rabe, the more the merrier!
- Boost your brain. One study found that women who ate the most leafy greens, like broccoli rabe, and cruciferous vegetables had brains that were 1 to 2 years “younger” in performance than those who ate fewer. Bringin’ back the youth!
- Promote skin health. The phytochemicals and antioxidants found in green veggies like broccoli rabe can help protect your skin against UV damage by countering free radicals in your body to lessen the deterioration of skin’s vital components like collagen and elastin. Say hello to greens and say hello to gorgeous skin!
- Calcium without the dairy. Calcium is an absolutely vital nutrient for keeping your bones healthy and strong. Whether dairy isn’t an option for you, or if you’re just looking for some variety, broccoli rabe will give you a tasty calcium boost that you need.
- Protect your eye health. Carrots tend to get most of the credit when talking about eye health, but broccoli rabe and other leafy greens contain lutein, which help block certain light rays from damaging your eyes.
- Work in some protein! Now, it’s no surprise that leafy greens aren’t as protein-rich as meat, tofu, or other meat substitutes, but with more than 1 gram per cup of broccoli rabe, you can give yourself a little protein boost from an unexpected source.
- Branch out! Greens go way beyond spinach and kale. Why? Well, aside from the taste (holy yum!), broccoli rabe fights cancer (over 50% of your daily vitamins A & C in just 3.5 oz.), combats heart disease (it contains strong anti-inflammatory nutrients that may reduce the risk of heart disease) and helps you to detox (contains sulfur which helps detoxify the liver).
A few Do’s and Don’ts to take your green eats to the next level:
- DO shoot to eat 1 serving of leafy greens (e.g. 1 cup broccoli rabe) at every meal.
- DO choose nutrient dense dark, leafy greens such as broccoli rabe over less nutritious options
- DON’T drench or fry your greens in dressings or oils. What a shame it would be to lose all of the natural nutritional power, right?
- DON’T worry about consuming too many greens. More is better, as long as you’re controlling the added fat, such as olive oil. Which, by the way, is delicious with a bunch of broccoli rabe and a few red pepper flakes.
Check out Keri’s recipe for Broccoli Rabe Chips.