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Brain Food: Broccoli, the Veggie That Presidents Love to Hate

This entry is part of a series, Brain Food»

Broccoli on Black

Ah, the lowly broccoli plant. One of Nature’s “good foods,” packing in plenty of nutrients and very low in calories. It’s a nearly ideal weight-loss food, as it provides most of the essential amino acids as well as several important vitamins. It’s great for diabetics, as it poses essentially no glycemic challenge.

There’s only one problem. Broccoli tastes like, well, broccoli. Many Americans empathize with former President Bush (frère, not père), who once stated emphatically, “I do not like broccoli. And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.” Well, he’s no longer da Prez; I wonder if Laura’s making him eat his veggies now?

If he wants to maintain his health, both general and brain, then he should strongly reconsider his stated position. If you don’t like broccoli, then you should reverse course as well.

Baker with Broccoli

Why? Because broccoli is exceptionally good for your brain. The top nutrient that stands out in this regard is Vitamin K. This vital amine is implicated in calcium regulation in the body. In particular, it appears to help with heart health (the heart needs calcium in a particular amount, and too much calcium is bad for the heart arteries) and in the prevention of osteoporosis. It’s been suggested that Vitamin K prevents calcification (hardening of the arteries) in the brain. In case you’re wondering, this seems to be a portion of Alzheimer’s etiology.

Okay, you’re convinced now, right? (Right??) So how do you avoid pouring on the salt and fat to make broccoli edible? How about a broccoli casserole that only has 170 calories per serving? If you’re not afraid of the calories because you burn a bunch (I don’t fear them, but they seem to like me way too much), consider trying out one of our family favorites, Broccoli Delight. As always, there are thousands of options available to you through that Interwebz thingie.


Other vegetables, high in nutrients that are good for the ol’ noggin, include broccoli rabe, romanesco, kale, Brussels sprouts, and spinach (more on that one later). Spinach egg noodles are surprisingly good for you as well; they have about 75% of the Vitamin K that broccoli provides, per serving.

Sadly, if you’re taking coumadin (warfarin) to prevent blood clots, then Vitamin K rich veggies are not for you; check with your doctor for alternatives…

Enjoy the (Brain-Pumping Green Veggie) Heat!


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