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The family of cruciferous vegetables includes cauliflower, cabbage, boy choy, Brussels sprouts, and possibly the most popular, broccoli. Broccoli was probably originally cultivated in Italy some time in the 17th century. Today, broccoli can be featured in a wide variety of dishes and cooked number of ways, although the healthiest method is to steam it gently or to eat it raw, which preserves as many nutrients as possible.

Other than containing chromium, a mineral that our bodies use to help regulate insulin and manage weight, cruciferous vegetables also contain a recently fashionable micronutrient called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane has been shown to lessen the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation on the skin, and it is most concentrated in broccoli sprouts.

Because the taste of broccoli doesn't lend itself to blending it into a smoothie... I prefer to use it lightly steamed where I might normally use pasta or rice, such as under marinara sauce or sweet-spicy Asian sauces.

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