Roasted Broccoli with Crispy Baked Tofu and Honey Sesame Glaze
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that has been associated with a reduction in the risk of various forms of cancer including lung, colon, breast, and prostate. Additionally, some evidence suggests that eating broccoli improves control of diabetes and reduces the development of cardiovascular disease.
Sulforaphane is the component felt to be responsible for these benefits. It can block the function of an enzyme called HDAC which has been associated with cancer cell growth. Sulforaphane is produced from a precursor component of broccoli by an enzyme called myrosinase, which is activated when raw broccoli is cut or chewed. While sulforaphane and its precursor are heat-resistant, myrosinase is destroyed by heat. So it’s important to cook your broccoli after sulforaphane has already formed!
To accomplish this, simply cut up the broccoli and wait for about 30 minutes prior to cooking. This allows enough time for the myronsinase enzymatic reaction to occur and the sulforaphane to form. If you buy broccoli pre-chopped, sulforaphane will already have formed and you can cook it immediately!
Interestingly, frozen broccoli is flash-cooked prior to freezing with the sole intent being to deactivate enzymes in order to prolong the shelf life. As such, the myrosinase enzyme is destroyed as part of the processing, and the heated broccoli will not contain the beneficial sulforaphane. One way of getting around this is to sprinkle the frozen broccoli with myrosinase-containing mustard powder prior to cooking, which enables the production of sulforaphane.
Broccoli is also a good source of folate and vitamins K and C. Vitamin K reduces bone fractures by improving calcium absorption. Vitamin C helps with collagen formation and thus reduces the appearance of wrinkles and reverses sun-associated skin damage.
However you like it prepared, make sure to frequently include broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables into your diet!
Read more about tofu on this page.
Ware, Megan RDN. “The many health benefits of broccoli”. Medical News Today. December 8, 2017. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266765.php.
Greger, Michael, M.D. How Not TO Die. New York. Flatiron Books. 2015.