Christmas is coming and thoughts are turning to that veg that seems just to make the annual appearance. The humble sprout. However, we need to think about breaking the sprouts out a bit more frequently along with some of its green friends like broccoli and kale. These veg been touted as being “superfoods”, better for you than others, but why?

Sulforaphane is a powerful phytochemical found mostly in green vegetables such as broccoli, sprouts, kale, cabbage and cauliflower. This compound has been associated with various health benefits and may beneficially affect cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and digestion. Phytochemicals like sulforaphane are antioxidants that cancel out free radicals. Free radical are tiny particles that weaken and damage healthy cells and have been identified as factors in many of the chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Free radicals are a natural response to factors such as pollution, UV rays, food additives and preservatives, and even through natural processes like digestion and exercise!

The best way to access, this nutrient is to eat it in its plant form, along with a variety of other vegetables, fruits and whole grains. It’s the sum of all the parts that is important as there are many other nutrients in plant foods and it’s likely they all work together to provide the most benefit. The way you prep them is also important. Cooking some veg actually helps increases some of the benefits. For example cooking tomatoes actually provides more lycopene, which is another antioxidant. For this compound eating them raw allows more of the compound to be available.

Here is a great raw broccoli salad to add to your repertoire

Broccoli Salad Tips

  • Cut your broccoli small. 
  • Let it marinate. This salad is good right after it’s made, but it’s even better after a few hours (or even days) in the fridge.
  • Save some nuts for the last minute. If you add them too early, they’ll lose their crunch, so save some to sprinkle on right before serving!


  • 500g pound broccoli
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons mayo
  • 1½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup diced red onions
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries

Toasted almonds

  • ½ cup almonds (or other nut of choice)
  • ½ teaspoon maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika, more to taste
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Chop the broccoli florets into ½-inch pieces and any remaining stems into ¼-inch dice. Peel any woody or course parts from the stem first.
  • In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, mayo, apple cider vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, garlic, and salt. Add the broccoli, onions, and cranberries and toss to coat.
  • Place the almonds on the baking sheet, toss with the maple syrup, and smoked paprika and spread into a thin layer. Reduce the heat of the oven and bake 10 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes (they’ll get crispier as they sit).
  • Toss the almonds into the salad, reserving a few to sprinkle on top. Season to taste and serve.


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