1. Health

Broccoli soup low in calories, high in nutrition

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable with anticancer properties due to its high levels of vitamins A and C and folate. Slowly cooking broccoli for soup is a great way to increase vegetable intake and enjoy one of the most nutritious of all vegetables with very few calories.

Broccoli available in U.S. markets is usually green, but yellow, purple and white varieties also exist. Broccoli is believed to have originated in Italy about the seventh century and spread throughout Europe as "Italian asparagus." That name was used because broccoli stalks were prepared the same as asparagus, with garlic, olive oil and a dash of white wine.

To prepare broccoli for cooking, remove the tough leaves attached to the stem and wash the florets. Cooking broccoli will counter or reduce some of the gas frequently caused by the sulfur in the brassica family of vegetables.

A word of caution for those with thyroid issues. Broccoli includes substances that affect the body's use of iodine, so consumption should be limited to once or twice weekly.

Broccoli soup is one of my favorite appetizer soups. Nothing enhances a meal better than a warm cup of soup to start digestive enzymes flowing. The grated nutmeg on top adds the final touch for a low-calorie, nutritious and tasty start to any meal.

Betty Wedman-St. Louis is a licensed nutritionist and environmental health specialist in Pinellas County who has written numerous books on health and nutrition. Visit her website at