Sprouting For Longevity
“Broccoli Sprouts: One of Nature’s Top Cancer-Fighting Foods”
What Are Broccoli Sprouts?
Many people assume that broccoli sprouts are essentially the same as mature broccoli from a nutritional standpoint. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth — broccoli sprouts may not have the high quantity of vitamins like K and C found in adult broccoli, but they contain a great deal more glucosinolates.
Why does it matter if broccoli sprouts contain high amounts of glucosinolates? For that, let’s get into a little food science.
Brassica vegetables, including broccoli sprouts as well as other cruciferous veggies kale. arugula, radishes and more) contain an enzyme called myrosinase that functions as part of gut bacteria to break down glucosinolates into their “usable” forms, one category of which is known as isothiocyanates.
Isothiocyanates seem to activate other enzymes responsible for transforming and/or removing xenobiotics (disease-causing compounds) from the body. Some sources describe this process as a “host defense mechanism” that is activated by relatively small amounts of isothiocyanates and causes your body to employ its natural disease-fighting power.
Broccoli sprouts contain extremely high levels of glucoraphanin, the glucosinolate precursor to the isothiocyanate sulforaphane. Actually, these sprouts pack between 10–100 times the amount of glucoraphanin than adult broccoli. The exact quantity of glucoraphanin depends on the date picked (three days seems to be the ultimate sweet spot) and how the sprouts are prepared (raw is best — cooking eliminates a lot of the myrosinase). To most effectively take advantage of these compounds, thoroughly chew your sprouts.
Let’s simplify , I’ll refer to this incredible compound as SULFORAPHANE (as opposed to glucosinolate-derived sulforaphane or myrosinase-accompanied glucoraphanin).
Now that we’ve established how this works, let’s talk a little bit about why we should care about SULFORAPHANE.
For one, this compound has some super impressive cancer-preventing and cancer-fighting capabilities, but that’s not the only thing it can do. Sulforaphane has been shown to support the heart, bones and respiratory system, and it might help your body fight off a common infection, detoxify environmental chemicals, combat autoimmune disease and even protect your brain after serious injury.
One way sulforaphane seems to accomplish these things is through epigenetics, an exciting new scientific discovery about how genetic changes can be accomplished by changes to diet and lifestyle. Epigenetics is the science of the “layer” on top of our DNA that instructs cells to turn off and on, how to function, and so on. Sulforaphane has been found to influence the epigenetic layer of certain parts of DNA that influence a number of disease-fighting functions.
Benefits of Broccoli Sprouts
- May Fight and Prevent Cancer – including throat, lung, colon, prostate, breast, bladder, skin cancers
- Might Benefit the Heart
- Support Strong Bones
- Might Help Fight H. pylori Infection
- Detoxify the Body
- May Improve Respiratory Function
- Can Be Part of a Multiple Sclerosis Diet
- Could Protect Your Brain
Instructions for Growing Broccoli sprouts:
- Add 2 tablespoons of broccoli sprouting seeds to a widemouthed quart jar.
- Cover with a few inches of filtered water and cap with the sprouting lid.
- Store in a warm, dark place overnight. I use a kitchen cabinet for this or closet.
- The next morning, drain the liquid off and rinse with fresh water. Be sure to drain all the water off.
- Repeat this twice a day. Continue to store your seeds in a warm, dark place. After a few days, the seeds will start to break open and grow.
- Eventually, the sprouts will be an inch or so long and have yellow leaves. Now you can move the sprouts out into the sunlight.
- Continue to rinse them 2 times a day until the leaves are dark green. Now they are ready to eat!
- This whole process will take about a week. Patience is key!
- Once they are ready, replace the sprouting lid with a standard mason jar lid and store in the refrigerator.
- Serve on top of salads,smoothies, stirred into soups, or however.