Have You Eaten Your Broccoli Sprouts Today? by Cari Culp, RD
I am always encouraging clients to get the biggest bang for their buck nutritionally. After all, every opportunity we have to put something in our mouth is a missed opportunity to put something even healthier in our mouth. Something that fights chronic disease and promotes longevity! With unavoidable exposure to environmental toxins like air pollution and pesticides happening to each of us daily, not only do we need to be avoiding unhealthy foods, we also need to be eating the super nutrient dense, disease fighting foods, and plenty of them!
As most dietitians, I am a huge proponent of eating a variety of brightly colored fruits and veggies, but there is one particular plant food that I want to highlight. This is literally a nutritional superhero! Broccoli sprouts are one of the simplest and best ways to incorporate a powerhouse of disease fighting nutrition into your diet. Especially for people who don’t like broccoli, these germinated seeds of broccoli, that are similar to alfalfa sprouts, can be an excellent way to get the benefits of cruciferous veggies.
Sulphorophane, a chemical found in cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts is responsible for the disease fighting power of these veggies which numerous studies have pointed out. Discovered by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, sulphorophane is known by scientists as the DNA whisperer. It migrates into each of our cells and communicates with our DNA, causing it to produce antioxidants that combat the toxins we are exposed to and shuttle them out of our cells, hence protecting all of our cells from oxidative damage. It is the ultimate antioxidant! Sulphorophane is found at levels 10-100 times higher in broccoli sprouts than that of mature veggies.
Research studies have shown that the nutritional super hero, sulphorophane, targets certain cancer cells and irradicates them. Positive results have been shown with breast, prostate, colorectal, skin, esophageal, lung, liver and stomach cancers. Research is still advancing, but one common characteristic among studies is that sulphorophane seems to enhance a cell’s ability to protect itself from damage. Not only has sulphorophane shown wonderful cancer protective properties but science seems to support it’s protection from a wide range of chronic diseases from heart disease and diabetes to autism. Therapuetic doses of sulphorophane have been observed by eating 1/4 to 1 1/4 cups of broccoli sprouts daily. This is not only highly achievable, but very simple and cost effective! Simply pick them up at your local grocery store like Harris Teeter, Whole Foods, Earth Fare, Deep Roots, Lowes Foods and Publix, and add them to things like salad, eggs with toast, cauliflower rice, sandwiches, smoothies and anything else your heart desires. You can also purchase broccoli seeds on amazon and sprout your own. There are numerous DIY articles online with instructions for sprouting your own broccoli seeds. The highest sulphorophane concentrations are found at 48 hours of sprouting so it only takes 2 days to get what you need. It is important to chew your broccoli sprouts well or blend them into a juice or smoothie to extract all of the sulphorophane.
How are you going to eat your broccoli sprouts today? “Let food be thy medicine!”