Broccoli Sprouts: a Powerful Superfood Rich in Sulforaphane
Some diet changes are tough—but some are super-easy. And happily for us, the simplest changes are often the most powerful.
Today, I’m hoping to encourage you to add one single food to your diet—a food that may dramatically reduce your risk for cancer. Want more? It can also help you build strong bones, detox your body, and stay slim… and that’s just for starters.
That food is broccoli sprouts—one of the tiniest and most powerful superfoods on the planet. Here’s why you want to add broccoli sprouts to your diet, along with my top ten easy ways to do it.
Sulforaphane: The “magic ingredient” in broccoli sprouts
All cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and kale) contain glucoraphanin, a substance that’s converted to a nutrient called sulforaphane during digestion. But broccoli sprouts provide you with much more sulforaphane than fully-grown cruciferous veggies—for instance, ten times as much as mature broccoli.
Why is sulforaphane so important? First of all, it’s a potent cancer fighter. Sulforaphane reduces the ability of cancer cells to multiply, so tumors grow more slowly and are less likely to spread. In addition, it’s a potent detoxifier that can protect cells against damage that can cause cancer. It also reduces inflammation, which is linked to a number of cancers. And it may help to reverse destructive changes in gene transcription that lead to cancer.
So it’s no surprise that research shows that sulforaphane may protect against breast, throat, lung, prostate, bladder, skin, and colon cancer. Newly published research shows that it can protect against liver cancer as well.
All of this would be enough to make sulforaphane a super-star in anyone’s book. But—as they say in the TV commercials—there’s more! In fact, there’s a whole lot more. Human and animal studies indicate that sulforaphane has many benefits.
What are the benefits of sulforaphane?
- It appears to help reduce obesity by improving gut flora and by turning energy-storing white fat into energy-burning brown fat.
- It helps fight osteoporosis.
- It may reduce inflammation in ulcerative colitis.
- It helps to protect against the dangerous effects of air pollution.
- It lessens the damaging effects of high blood sugar.
- It can improve blood pressure.
- It may protect against cartilage damage in arthritis.
- It may improve symptoms in autism and Alzheimer’s disease.
- It has antidepressant effects.
- It may boost the ability of people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to fight off bacterial infections.
In short, those tiny little sprouts pack a big punch—and adding them to your diet could make you healthier or even save your life. And it doesn’t take much; according to researchers, eating just a little more than one ounce each week might do the trick..
Ten easy ways to use broccoli sprouts
Broccoli sprouts have a peppery, radish-y flavor that’s similar to the taste of mature broccoli but milder. You can use them pretty much anywhere you’d use any sprouts. Here are my favorite ways to work broccoli sprouts into my diet:
- Add them to wraps and sandwiches.
- Toss them in green salads.
- Use them in green drinks.
- Toss a handful into scrambled eggs at the end of cooking.
- Add them to egg salad, chicken salad, or tuna salad.
- Blend them into dips.
- Throw them into stir-fries at the last minute.
- Sprinkle them on top of a mug of bone broth or soup.
- Add them to hummus.
- Eat them straight.
However you eat them, chewing them well will help to give you the biggest possible dose of sulforaphane.
One caution: Uncooked broccoli sprouts can be contaminated with germs that cause illness. Wash them thoroughly, and cook them or avoid them if you’re pregnant or immune-compromised. If you cook them, do it very lightly, because cooking will diminish the sulforaphane content.
Where to find broccoli sprouts?
Broccoli sprouts can be a little tricky to find in the stores—but Whole Foods carries them, and so do a number of other markets that specialize in healthy foods. If you can’t find them, you can get a broccoli sprout supplement, although the sulforaphane in supplements may be less bioavailable than in fresh broccoli sprouts.
How to grow broccoli sprouts?
Alternately, it’s easy to grow your own broccoli sprouts. Just follow my directions here, and before you know it, little sprouts will be popping up all over! Be sure to harvest them when they’re still tiny to get the most nutritional benefit.
Stock up on broccoli sprouts
Whether you buy your sprouts at the store, take them in pill form, or grow your own, I hope you’ll get in the broccoli sprout habit. It’s one of the easiest steps you can take to lower inflammation, fight cancer, detox your body, and get healthier from head to toe. These tiny greens truly are proof that good things come in small packages!
With peace and love,