Broccoli sprouts are a simple food with powerful health benefits!
From wee little broccoli, seeds come baby broccoli sprouts and then eventually mature broccoli. Most people know that broccoli, a cruciferous vegetable, and member of the Brassica vegetable family, is healthy and should be consumed on a regular basis. What many don’t know is that broccoli sprouts are a nutritional and therapeutic powerhouse in their own right.
Why cruciferous veggies rock
A study published in 2011 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that persons found that eating fruits and vegetables is inversely related to the risk of all no accidental mortality. In short, eating more fruits and more veggies equals a longer life. Even more, interesting was that the researchers found that those who consumed cruciferous veggies including broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, rutabaga, turnip, kale Bok Choy, arugula, watercress, Brussels sprouts, and radishes, they found all-cause mortality risk to be slashed even more – almost 22%. Clearly, cruciferous vegetables should be on your radar on a daily basis!
Broccoli sprouts are not the same as mature broccoli
It is important to make the distinction between sprouts and adult broccoli. While the baby sprouts don’t contain the same amount of vitamins K and C, they are loaded with sulfur-containing compounds (glucosinolates). Brassica vegetables, including broccoli sprouts, also contain the enzyme (myrosinase) that works with gut bacteria to break down the sulfur compounds into a form that is useable form including isothiocyanates.
Like the sweet harmony of an orchestra, isothiocyanates trigger other enzymes that are responsible for transforming or removing compounds that cause disease from the body. This, say some, turns on the body’s natural disease-fighting power.
Brocolli sprouts are loaded with glucoraphanin, the glucosinolate precursor to the isothiocyanate sulforaphane. These superpowered sprouts contain between 10-100 times the amount of glucoraphanin in adult broccoli. The reason for such a large span has to do with when the sprouts are picked – three days seems best and when eaten raw the amounts are also higher. It is also important to thoroughly chew the sprouts to take full advantage of the therapeutic properties.
Health benefits of sulforaphane
This amazing compound has a pretty impressive lineup of health benefits starting off with its cancer-preventing and cancer-fighting abilities. In addition, research shows that sulforaphane supports the heart, bones and respiratory system. In addition, it may help you keep infections at bay, detoxify you from environmental toxins, battle autoimmune disease and may even protect your brain after injury.
How does this compound do so much?
It is thought that sulforaphane may be such a powerhouse has to do with epigenetics, a recent uncovering of how genetic changes can come about through changes in diet and lifestyle. The epigenetic layer sits on top of our DNA and sends out orders for cells to turn on and off and how to act etc., Sulforaphane influences the epigenetic layer of certain parts of the DNA that impact disease-fighting functions.
Eating broccoli sprouts is highly therapeutic
Let’s unpack this small sprout’s superpowers, shall we?
Science says broccoli sprouts may fight cancer
One of the most researched therapeutic capabilities of broccoli sprouts is its ability to fight cancer. In 1997 an article in the New York Times revealed what researchers uncovered.
Here are some of the types of cancer that have been studied in relation to broccoli sprouts and sulforaphane.
- Colon cancer – One study found that sulforaphane found in broccoli sprouts and other cruciferous veggies goes after colon cancer cells, causing death and permanent DNA breakage while leaving healthy cells untouched.
- Lung cancer – The results of a research study show promise for sulforaphane to help prevent lung cancer in both smokers and ex-smokers with early lung lesions.
- Throat cancer – A 2015 review presented by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh and John Hopkins University demonstrated how broccoli sprout extracts protect against oral cancer in mice and how it is very tolerable by humans.
- Bladder cancer – Animals studies using broccoli sprout extract show promise to stop the spread of bladder cancer.
- Breast cancer – Animals studies indicate that broccoli sprouts may offer effective prevention against breast cancer. Human studies have found positive changes as well, but more research is needed.
- Skin cancer – Broccoli sprout extracts protected mice skin cancer caused by UV light.
- Prostate cancer – Studies in both humans and animals reflect the promise of broccoli and broccoli sprouts to fight prostate cancer. Both young and mature broccoli contain selenium which shuts down the expression of a particular protein which negatively impacts the
- Immune system and causes it to go into hyper mode – driving cancers – especially in prostate cancer, leukemia, and melanoma. Furthermore, regular consumption of broccoli sprouts stopped the development of prostate tumors in mice.
Broccoli sprouts support healthy bones
Sulforaphane may protect against osteoporosis by halting the molecular processes and inflammation related to the condition. One study found that sulforaphane works at the epigenetic layer to halt the mechanisms that contribute to the formation of osteoporosis.
Broccoli sprouts help with detoxification
In two human studies, participants living in areas known for heavy air toxins drank a detox drink made using broccoli sprouts. When compared to the placebo group, the group that drank the detox drink excreted far more airborne chemicals. In one of the studies, it was discovered that those who consumed the detox drink were detoxing of these dangerous chemicals after only ten days.
Broccoli sprouts can benefit heart health
More benefits of broccoli sprouts
- Improved respiratory function – help for allergies and asthma
- May help fight H. pylori infection – powerful anti-inflammatory action
- May help healing after a brain injury such as stroke
How to eat more broccoli sprouts
Broccoli sprouts have a delicious and earthy taste which make them awesome on their own. They are also versatile enough to incorporate into any salad, top a bowl of soup or even put on your favorite sandwich or wrap. Try adding broccoli sprouts to dips and sauces, stir fry and in smoothies!
How To Make Broccoli Sprouts
Although broccoli sprouts require a bit more patience because they take longer than other sprouts to sprout! However, you will find that the wait is well worth it. Here is how to make your own delicious and nutritious sprouts.
What You Need:
- Broccoli Seeds (I order them from Azure Standard)
- Quart or a half-gallon mason jar (buy here)
- Sprouting Lid (buy here)
- Put two tablespoons of the broccoli seeds into the mason jar. Cover with a few inches of fresh filtered water.
- Place the sprouting lid on the jar and put the jar in a warm and dark place for 8-12 hours so seeds can sprout. Try placing the jar on the counter on top of your dishwasher and cover with a towel. The seeds love the moist heat from the dishwasher.
- Drain the water off the seeds on day two.
- Lay the jar upside down on an angle inside a bowl to help all the water drain.
- Keep the jar in a slightly warm and dark place.
- Rinse the sprouts 2-3 times a day and drain after each rinse. By day three seeds should be sprouting.
- Keep the jar in a dark place until the sprouts are about one inch long.
- Once you see dark green leaves – generally 3-4 days after sprouting- it is time to eat them.
- Enjoy all these delicious sprouts have to offer!
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