Broccoli Sprouts the Best Form of Sulforaphane

September 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Broccoli Sprouts

broccoli-sprouts

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, turnips and cabbage are full of very powerful disease-fighting compounds, one of which is sulforaphane.  This is one compound that appears to be quite a hard worker in keeping your body in top condition.

For instance, sulforaphane has been found to:

  • Boost cell enzymes that protect against molecular damage from cancer-causing chemicals.
  • Increase your liver’s ability to detoxify carcinogenic compounds and free radicals. This in turn protects against cell mutations, cancer and other harmful effects.
  • Mobilize, or induce, your body’s natural cancer protection resources and help reduce your risk of malignancy.
  • Trigger the production of phase II enzymes, which are among the most potent anti-cancer compounds known.

It also appears that sulforaphane plays a role in preventing oxidative stress.  While some level of oxidative stress is a normal result of your body processes, many, many factors, from pollution to obesity to mental stress, can cause an excess of free radicals in your body and this is associated with various chronic diseases and aging.

Sulforaphane, however, seems to stimulate a variety of antioxidant defense pathways in your body that can actually fight oxidative stress and slow down the decline in your immune system that happens with age.  In theory, this means that eating vegetables that contain sulforaphane could quite literally slow down the hands of time.

The amount of nutrients in any vegetable are rarely set in stone. The quality of the soil, how they’re grown (organically or conventionally), how fresh they are, and how they’re cooked all play a role. But, generally speaking, are you wondering how much broccoli you would need to eat to get some of the health benefits mentioned above?

Well, a team of researchers from Johns Hopkins University attempted to calculate how much broccoli you would have to eat in order to produce a significant degree of protection against cancer.  They found that you would have to eat an average of about two pounds of broccoli a week in order to reduce, say, your risk of colon cancer by about 50 percent.

Broccoli Sprouts A Better Broccoli Alternative

If you’re looking for the variety of broccoli that will pack the most nutritional punch, broccoli sprouts are as close to a “sure thing” as you will get. Because sprouts are just beginning their growth process, they are packed with high concentrations of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and more. The nutrition in sprouts is so concentrated that they are said to be among the healthiest ways to consume vegetables, and broccoli is no exception.

According to the researchers at Johns Hopkins, just 5 grams (0.17 ounces) of broccoli sprouts contain concentrations of the compound glucoraphanin (a precursor to sulforaphane) equal to that found in 150 grams (5.2 ounces) of mature broccoli.

So you would need to eat 30 times the amount of mature broccoli to get the same nutritional benefits as one serving of broccoli sprouts.

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