B+ for Broccoli – Especially the Sprouts

March 9, 2011

I find it sad that a vegetable I really struggle to eat is being shown in study after study to help prevent and treat cancer.   However I will persevere, particularly after a new study by the University of Illinois says that combining broccoli with broccoli sprouts nearly doubles the cruciferous vegetable’s anti-cancer effects.
Elizabeth Jeffery, a Professor of Nutrition who worked on the study explained that broccoli, prepared correctly, is an extremely potent cancer-fighting agent and that three to five servings a week are enough to have an effect.   As I average a serving probably every 3-5 months I can see I have a long way to go, but to get broccoli’s anti-cancer benefits, the enzyme myrosinase has to be present.   If it’s not there, sulforaphane the cancer-preventive and anti-inflammatory component, doesn’t form, so how do you get this benefit?
Previous research has found that overcooking broccoli results in the elimination of up to 90 percent of the vegetable’s anti-cancer compounds – besides making it taste pretty grim in my view.  The ideal cooking method is to gently steam it, and not in a microwave, as this can potentially unlock more of its anti-cancer compounds than are present when eating the vegetable raw.   As my preferred method is to lightly stir fry, I can see I shall have to rethink.
Sprouts are known to have powerful health benefits as they are eaten raw and lose none of their nutrients and the researchers compared blood levels of sulforaphane among a group of men who ate meals containing either broccoli sprouts alone, broccoli powder alone, or both combined.   They found that in just three hours after finishing their meals, participants who ate both the powder and the sprouts had nearly twice as much of the anti-cancer substance in their systems than the two other groups did.
Leads me to wonder why they didn’t include the vegetable itself – but the idea of broccoli powder certainly interests me!  If you want to increase the benefits of broccoli and its sprouts even further then try combining other sulforaphane-rich foods like mustard, radishes, arugula, and wasabi, with them.
If you do take a broccoli supplement then it will increase the benefits even further. But she warns that taking certain broccoli supplements in lieu of actual broccoli and broccoli sprouts may not work, as some broccoli supplements do not contain the vital enzyme myrosinase that produces sulforaphane. One that does, along with other sprouts is Broccoforte and you can find information on that at www.water-for-health.co.uk

Article by  


What do you think of this health article by ? Join the discussion...