Welcome to Ask Doctor Zac, a weekly column from news.com.au. This week, Dr Zac Turner shares the one vegetable you really should be eating.
Question: Hi Dr Zac, I have a confession. I’m a 30-year-old who doesn’t eat vegetables. The closest thing I eat that resembles a veggie is the tomato sauce on my frozen meat lovers pizzas.
I’ve just started my first ever serious relationship, and I’m sweating that my food choices are a glaring red flag. I need to make a change, but know that it will take baby steps.
If there was one vegetable you think I should start eating, what would it be?
– Bradley, 30, Perth
Answer: In the big book of red flags, not eating vegetables or fruit is in the chapter titled ‘Most Common’. Don’t feel embarrassed as your diet is very common. It’s hard to eat healthy in a world where unhealthy food is readily available and cheap.
If there was one vegetable that every Australian should eat, it’s broccoli. I understand it’s not exactly the sexiest vegetable but broccoli is the ultimate utility player. It’s not often I’ll make a sporting reference here, but think of broccoli as the rugby player Michael Hooper.
Michael Hooper has all the rugby basics mastered, and on top of that he has a flair to his game which brings results. And the best part of him as a player is that he can play anywhere on the field.
Broccoli, like Hooper, has all the conventional nutritional standards mastered. It provides a little bit of almost every nutrient you need. It’s low in calories, high in fibre and vitamins C, K and folate, plus it contains significant amounts of several other vitamins and minerals. Just one cup of broccoli contains your 90 per cent daily recommended intake of vitamin C, and 70 per cent of vitamin K.
And for that special bit of flair, Broccoli contains many classes of beneficial phytochemicals such as which fight cancer, and other chronic diseases as well. The main phytochemical Sulforaphane reduces the risk of cancer forming at the molecular level by reducing oxidative stress.
Broccoli has also been shown to lower cholesterol levels, improve eye health, promote healthy gut bacteria.
Now the best thing about broccoli is that it can be prepared in so many various ways. You can lightly stir-fry it with garlic and oyster sauce, steam it with salt and pepper, or even bake it in the oven with a small amount of parmesan cheese.
If you’re looking for a health boost, consider adding this cruciferous vegetable to your diet today. Moreover, don’t forget to also add other vegetables into your diet. It’s a good idea to associate a good diet with some important habits. To do that, check out my column on five habits everyone should do for optimal health.
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Dr Zac Turner has a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the University of Sydney. He is both a medical practitioner and a co-owner of telehealth service, Concierge Doctors. He was also a registered nurse and is also a qualified and experienced biomedical scientist along with being a PhD Candidate in Biomedical Engineering
Originally published as Dr Zac Turner on the one vegetable you should eat