Food. Health. Green.

Bimi: a new way to get your five a day

How can you maximise the effect of your healthy diet? Adding a variety of nutritionally dense superfoods into your meal planning will not only increase your vitamin intake but will also help you lose weight. 

Bimi, also known as broccolini, is a natural hybrid of broccoli and Chinese kale. It is milder and sweeter than broccoli, and its slender stalk means that it also cooks more quickly. Although it has only been on the market for a little over 20 years, Bimi quickly became a favourite among top chefs for its versatility, flavour and elegant shape. The whole plant is edible, although supermarkets unfortunately often strip away the outer leaves before packaging. Always buy firm, dark green broccolini. If you can easily bend the stalks or if the florets have yellow or light green spots on them, the vegetable is not fresh and has already lost its important nutritional value.

Part of the cruciferous vegetable family, Bimi is high in vitamins K and C as well as rich in dietary fibre. High-fibre foods will leave you feeling full longer, so you can fight against the desire to grab a quick snack, which will only provide you with empty calories. Fibre also helps lower cholesterol and reduce blood pressure, key goals of a heart-healthy diet. To make certain that you preserve the goodness of this delicious vegetable during its preparation, choose steaming or sautéing over boiling or deep-fat frying. In true Mediterranean style, cook your Bimi with a splash of olive oil. Due to many of the nutrients in vegetables being fat soluble, the healthy fat in olive oil will help your body to better absorb essential vitamins and minerals.

Cruciferous vegetables are also loaded with antioxidants and other compounds (e.g., indole-3-carbinol), which give them cancer-fighting properties. Additionally, foods rich in antioxidants aid in reducing inflammation, and there has been much scientific study done on inflammation as the root cause of many diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Don’t forget that avoiding sugar and processed foods and incorporating regular exercise into your lifestyle will also combat the risks of inflammation.

Reap as many benefits as possible from your healthy regime by combining the right vegetables. To give you an example; your body needs vitamin C to absorb iron, so add Bimi to a stir fry with some spinach or kale. This simple trick will help your body to absorb and store more of the iron provided by these vegetables. Caffeine and calcium may counteract the process so, when you are aiming to increase your iron levels, be sure to avoid these types of foods and drinks at mealtimes.

Serve steamed or griddled broccolini in a simple fashion, as a side dish, with a little lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. Add it to a frittata or pasta recipe. No time to cook? A salad with chopped, raw broccolini or whole, briefly blanched ones can be a great base for a tasty, one-bowl dinner.

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