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Why you should eat a vegetable most despise

For the most part, broccoli and kids don’t mix. It may take folks well into adulthood until they grow a taste for the vegetable or train themselves to poke a few bites down.

But, broccoli is one of the best foods people, young and old, can eat.

Scientists at the University of Illinois have been studying broccoli and the nutrients in each plant that can help lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, asthma and cancer.

“Broccoli is packed with antioxidants with very few calories. Plus it is high in fiber which helps make folks feel full, which might fend off over-eating,” said Martha Trenkamp, registered dietitian and Diabetes Education Program Coordinator at Carle.

Scientists hope their research allows them to breed an even more-nourishing broccoli plant.

“(Nutrients) are things we can’t make ourselves, so we have to get them from our diets,” said U of I geneticist Jack Juvik.

“We must eat broccoli or another Brassica vegetable every three or four days to lower the risk of cancers and other degenerative diseases.”

So, how can people learn to accept or even like to eat the food?

Trenkamp said, “We might have bad memories of overcooked broccoli from our school cafeteria, but there are many ways to enjoy this super food.

“Grilled broccoli is tasty. Also, sautéed and roasted broccoli with olive oil and garlic will be a family pleaser. Parents can puree broccoli and hide it in a soup or finely chop it and mask the vegetable as a pizza topping.”

So while people may not like it, it is vital for them to eat broccoli and profit from its nutrients.

“People can go online to the American Diabetes Association to get more information about great recipes to prepare broccoli and other wholesome foods in a way kids and adults will like,” Trenkamp said.