By Sophie Leaver
Health & Wellbeing Writer

The New Year is a perfect time to get a fresh start, and introduce healthy new habits into your lifestyle.

One of the easiest and most delicious ways to do this is to introduce more greens into your diet. Increasing your vegetable intake is a simple step but it can help you to detox and cleanse your body after the festive season. By focusing on filling your plate with super foods and fresh, healthy ingredients, you will transform your diet and quickly start to feel the results. You will have increased energy and clarity, and will set yourself in good stead to tackle whatever challenges come your way in 2016.

The Green Hero

Broccoli is one of the most nutritious and versatile vegetables out there. It is affordable, easy to prepare, and has an impressive range of proven health benefits. It can be steamed, roasted, tossed into salads, chopped and sautéed to make a rice substitute, pureed for soup, blended into smoothies, or even eaten raw with delicious dips. It’s best to choose organic broccoli where possible to avoid any pesticides or chemicals that may be absorbed.

Easy to cook with

Broccoli is a great addition to so many summer and winter recipes and it’s an easy way to make healthy eating appealing for adults and kids. However, for those picky eaters that still haven’t realised how delicious fresh vegetables are, organic broccoli powder can be added to smoothies or soups with the same amazing health benefits. Here are six reasons why broccoli should become a new staple in your everyday diet:

Good for your heart

  1. The lutein found in broccoli helps to keep arteries open and blood flowing properly. This keeps both your heart and your eyes healthy. The beta-carotene in broccoli also helps to reduce the risk of cataracts.

Good for your bones

  1. Broccoli is a remarkable source of calcium and potassium, which both help to strengthen your bones, lowering the risk of fractures and osteoporosis. This is especially important for those who are sensitive to dairy, and may need to source these vitamins elsewhere in their diet.

Boost the brain

  1. Broccoli boosts your brainpower! It contains high levels of vitamin K, which helps to improve cognitive function and mental stamina and enhance your memory. It can help protect your cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. The choline found in broccoli may also help to strengthen neural connections and promote the growth of new brain cells.

Fibre friend

  1. Broccoli is loaded with fibre, which not only keeps you full, but aids with natural digestion and detoxification, and controlling cholesterol levels. It contains minerals such as magnesium and potassium, but very few calories, which means that it can aid weight loss. Recent studies have also shown that dietary fibre may help to regulate the immune system and keep inflammation at bay.

Antioxidant power

  1. Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that has a concentrated source of vitamin C, as well as other powerful anti-oxidants. This helps to promote healthy skin, and keeps you feeling and looking young!

Fights disease

  1. The sulforaphane in broccoli has been shown to fight cancer stem cells, as well as improve blood pressure and kidney function.

With such an impressive host of health benefits, broccoli is an easy and delicious way to add vitamins, minerals, and fibre to any meal!

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