Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, cauliflower and arugula are incredibly healthy and help protect us against cancer and other diseases like hypertension, diabetes, allergies and osteoarthritis. They are high in antioxidants, vitamins and a compound called glucoraphanin. Broccoli sprouts have the highest known concentration of glucoraphanin, some 10 to 100 times the amount found in mature broccoli.
Glucoraphanin can be converted to sulforaphane in the body by the bacteria found in the gut but only in small quantities. It’s the sulforaphane, an organic sulfur, which has super powers against cancer because it can kill cancer stem cells, reduce inflammation and offer protection against carcinogens. It can also help prevent a whole host of other diseases, including cardiovascular, respiratory and neurodegenerative diseases. On top of that, it is antimicrobial.
Unfortunately, when you cook crucifers, you destroy most of the enzyme necessary to convert glucoraphanin into sulforaphane. Enter the sprout. Broccoli sprouts are rich in the myrosinase enzyme necessary to release the cancer-preventative and anti-inflammatory compound that crucifers are famous for.
Twice as nice
A University of Illinois study found that eating lightly steamed broccoli along with broccoli sprouts doubled the cancer protection. They found that other foods rich in myrosinase, like mustard, radishes, arugula, and wasabi, also boost the nutritional benefits of broccoli. It just goes to show that variety really is the spice of life.
Besides adding your broccoli sprouts to steamed broccoli, you can pop them into a sandwich, sprinkle them on pizzas, casseroles and salads or even juice them.
Broccoli sprouts are 35% protein, have vitamins A, B, C, E and K and the minerals calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc. They also contain chlorophyll, valuable trace elements and of course, enzymes. One tablespoon of broccoli seeds yields about two cups of sprouts which can be harvested after three days.