Is Broccoli Keto Friendly

Introduction

Finding Keto friendly vegetables can be tough because a lot of vegetables contain a startling amount of carbohydrates.  One of the veggies that’s been thought of as a “health food” for many years now is broccoli.  So, how does this health food work with your Keto?  Are you allowed to have broccoli on Keto?  The good news is, broccoli is Keto-friendly!  The following article will outline why broccoli works with your Keto, the benefits of eating more broccoli and how to best work this food into your meal plan. 

What is broccoli?

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable.  It shares a family with other members of the cabbage family such as kale, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. The large stalks of the broccoli plant produce heads of broccoli that are often a green/blue color.  Broccoli is a very distinctive looking vegetable with its large flowering head.  Often, it’s only the flowering head of the broccoli plant that’s eaten which is why you can buy broccoli crowns in stores that have the stem and leaves removed.  However, the stem and little leaves attached to the head of broccoli are edible as well.

Despite its reputation, broccoli doesn’t have a very strong flavor.  It’s milder in flavor than brussels sprouts, cabbage and kale which makes it a great option if you’re looking for a cruciferous vegetable that you can add into dishes without overpowering them.  Broccoli is a very versatile vegetable that can be added to a variety of foods ranging from casseroles to quiche.  Broccoli also fits into every meal from breakfast to dinner and all of the snacks in between.

Benefits of broccoli

There are a variety of health benefits to this green cruciferous vegetable.  It’s loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and bio-active compounds, all of which contribute to your health.  It may come as a surprise to learn that broccoli is high in vitamin C.  In fact, a single cup of raw broccoli contains135% of the daily recommended intake of this important vitamin!  

In addition to vitamin C, you can also get 11% of your daily recommended vitamin A and 116% of your daily recommended vitamin K in a serving of broccoli.  Vitamin A is essential in maintaining the health of your eyes while vitamin K is important for ensuring the health of your blood and proper blood clotting.  

If you’ve ever been pregnant, you know how vital folate can be.  A serving of broccoli contains 14% of the folate you need for the day.  It’s also a good source of important minerals such as selenium, phosphorus and potassium.  Potassium is an important electrolyte that is extremely helpful to have, especially on the Keto diet.  Selenium is showing signs of playing a role in your moods while also helping to strengthen your nails and hair.  

Despite the healthy dose of vitamins and minerals, broccoli is more than its individual parts.  This vegetable contains bioactive compounds that help reduce inflammation in your body.  A bioactive compound is a substance that can be found in your food that changes the metabolism and health of your body.  In the case of broccoli, studies have shown there are several bioactive compounds that work together to reduce the levels of inflammation you might experience.  

The bioactive compounds in broccoli have also shown promise in protecting your body from certain forms of cancer.  The research on this is young, but there are encouraging signs that point towards cruciferous veggies, broccoli included, reducing your risk of cancer. 

Broccoli might also help in the treatment of diabetes to lower your blood sugar levels.  One study showed it might help decrease your resistance to insulin although it’s not clear as to whether it’s the antioxidants in broccoli that help or some other compound. Broccoli is high in antioxidants that, among other things, help to reduce the damage done by free radicals in your body when cells break down. 

The high fibre content in broccoli means that it’s a great food for promoting a healthy digestive system.  Fibre is one of those foods that can be tough to find on Keto because a lot of fibre rich foods such as cereal, bread and pasta are too high in carbs to be eaten.  This makes broccoli a great addition to your Keto because it can help keep you full as well as promoting a healthy GI tract. 

Broccoli is even good for your brain!  There was a study done in elderly adults that showed that the addition of broccoli into their diet helped stop any mental decline that may have been associated with their aging.  There was also an animal study that showed that mice that were given kaempferol (a component of broccoli) had less brain injury and less swelling and inflammation in the brain after they experienced a stroke. 

Is broccoli Keto-friendly?

It is clear by now that broccoli is great for your health;’ however, does this health food have a place in your Keto diet?  The short answer is, yes, broccoli is a Keto-friendly food that you should definitely add into your meals.

A single serving of broccoli is usually 1 cup of raw broccoli.  In this cup of broccoli you will be eating 6g of carbohydrates.  Before you throw up your hands and say that you have no room for 6 carbs in your Keto carb budget, you need to take into consideration broccoli’s high fibre content.  

Yes, broccoli contains 6g of carbs but it only has 3.6g of net carbs in a single serving.  This is because the Keto diet doesn’t count the carbs that come from sources such as fibre and sugar alcohols.  The only carbs that matter on Keto are the ones that your body can actually digest because these are the ones that can be converted into glucose which could potentially throw you out of ketosis.  This is why, with 2.4g of fibre per cup, broccoli only has 3.6g of net carbs which makes it doable on almost everyone’s Keto. 

Adding broccoli into your Keto can help you to get a lot of nutrients that you might have trouble finding elsewhere.  You’ve already learned about the benefits of fibre on Keto, but the vitamin C, A and K in broccoli are also important nutrients to get enough of.   This low carb, high fibre, versatile veggie should definitely be added into your Keto meal plan.

How to get more broccoli in your diet

So how do you add the benefits of broccoli into your diet on Keto?  Thankfully, broccoli is extremely versatile and even if you don’t like the flavor of raw broccoli there’s bound to be a way that you can mask the taste with a flavour you like better.  The following are a few ideas to help get you started.

Oven baked: Cut your broccoli head into little florets and toss them in some Keto-friendly oil (avocado and extra-virgin olive oil work well) followed by some of your favorite spices.  Toss the coated broccoli in the oven for 10-15 minutes and you’ll have a crispy, yummy, healthy snack that’s 100% Keto-friendly.  If you still find the taste of broccoli too strong, cover it in your favorite cheese for an extra-yummy treat.

Steamed: Using a microwave or stove-top steamer allows you to cook your broccoli to the perfect stage of doneness so you’re left with firm pieces and not limp florets that fall apart on you.  Steaming also helps retain all of the nutrients of broccoli so they’re not washed away in boiling water.

In quiche: Quiche is a great breakfast for incorporating all sorts of nutritious keto-friendly foods in order to get your day off to a great start.  You can toss in your favorite spices and cut up veggies to get a boost of nutrients.  Broccoli, spinach, kale, mushrooms, olives, bacon and cheese are just a few of the ingredients you can add to your quiche.  This breakfast food is great to make ahead in large batches and freeze to pull out for a quick meal whenever you’re short on time. 

In salads: Broccoli may not be the first thing that you think of when you think of a salad; however, it’s a crunchy addition that can help replicate the texture of croutons that’s low in carbs.  Adding it into a salad can also help mask the flavor a little bit, especially if it’s surrounded by cheese and smothered in your favorite oil and vinegar dressing!

In a casserole: Broccoli also makes a great addition to many casseroles.  The flavor of the other ingredients takes over and you get a healthy dose of vitamin C and fibre without even really noticing that you’re eating broccoli.  Because broccoli combines so well with a variety of ingredients you can toss some into pretty much any Keto-friendly casserole with great results.

As part of a veggie tray: Of course, one of the simplest ways to eat broccoli is to cut up the raw florets and much on them as part of a vegetable tray.  There are plenty of keto-friendly dips and sauces you can use to change the flavor of the broccoli while increasing your healthy fats for the day, but as long as you like the flavor, there’s nothing wrong with broccoli all on its own.

Conclusion

Broccoli is a healthy addition to any Keto diet.  It’s high in fibre, low in net carbs and it’s versatile enough to be eaten at any meal.  Try adding some broccoli into your meals in order to reap the health benefits that broccoli provides while keeping your net carbs low. 

Leave a Comment