The first thing you must know in order to understand how broccoli sprouts might slow the aging process is the chemical composition of broccoli. In addition to being a rich source of fiber, broccoli, in its overall composition, contains the following:
- 89% water
- 27% carbohydrates
- 57% protein
- 34% lipids
- 83% ash
- 1% various vitamins and minerals
The health-promoting components of broccoli include isothiocyanate, which is a sulfur-containing organic phytochemical compound that is formed when the plant’s tissue is destroyed. Without diving too deep into the science, broccoli contains glucosinolates which have been shown to kill cancer cells, stop tumor growth, and slow the aging process.
Broccoli also contains the following vitamins & minerals:
- Ascorbic acid
These compounds are presumed to be responsible for reducing the risk of degenerative disorders such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Mature Broccoli vs. Broccoli Sprouts
While broccoli is a very nutrient-dense vegetable, broccoli sprouts contain over 100 times the amount of sulforaphane than mature broccoli.
The Power Of Broccoli Sprouts and Mustard Seed Powder
One study found that you can increase the availability of sulforaphane in broccoli by adding mustard seed powder to it. The study showed that when the mustard powder was added to cooked broccoli, it increased the bioavailability of sulforaphane by over four times!
Sulforaphane: The Real Hero
Broccoli sprouts contain many amazing things like good carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, and minerals. It is easy to see why it is considered in the group of a superfood. With all the amazing properties of broccoli, it’s important to zero in on the sulfur-rich compound found in this cruciferous vegetable. This sulfur-rich compound known as sulforaphane has been shown to reduce the ability of cancerous cells to multiply.
Sulforaphane is one of the most powerful anticarcinogens found in food. It works by increasing the enzymes in your liver that destroy the cancer-inducing chemicals you ingest in food or encounter in the environment.
Specific Health Benefits Of Sulforaphane
There are evidence-based health benefits of sulforaphane which are readily found in broccoli sprouts. Some of them are as follows:
- It neutralizes toxins. Phytochemicals like sulforaphane are antioxidants that cancel out free radicals
- It reduces inflammation. Because sulforaphane neutralizes toxins, it also calms inflammation in your body
- It may protect your DNA
- It may slow tumor growth
The fact that you can find sulforaphane in broccoli sprouts so readily available makes it an incredible option as a superfood that will invest in all these aspects of your health and slow the aging process.
Preparing Broccoli Sprouts To Retain Nutrients
It is true that you can accidentally remove many of the healing properties of broccoli, depending on how you prepare it. It’s essential to know the best way to prepare it to retain all the potential healing properties of this vegetable.
Broccoli loses some nutritional value when it’s cooked, but the exact amount can’t be precisely measured because of several variables. Variables include the type of nutrient, the method of cooking, and the length of time you cook the broccoli. Because broccoli is so loaded with nutrients, even if it’s cooked, it can remain a rich source of vitamins and minerals.
The key to preparation is to heat broccoli just enough. University of Illinois researcher Elizabeth Jeffery discovered that broccoli’s sulfur-grabbing protein can be maximized. Jeffery is a professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois and states the following:
“As scientists, we learned that sulforaphane is maximized when broccoli has been heated 10 minutes at 140 degrees Fahrenheit,” said Jeffery. “For the consumer, who cannot readily hold the temperature as low as 140 degrees, that means the best way to prepare broccoli is to steam it lightly about 3 or 4 minutes–until the broccoli is tough-tender.”
Studies show that the best way to prepare broccoli and maximize sulforaphane is:
- Heat for 10-minutes at 140 degrees Fahrenheit
- Or, steam it lightly for about 3-4 minutes until tender
Steaming vegetables for one to three minutes may be the best way to optimize sulforaphane levels when cooking.
Other Vegetables Containing Sulforaphane
The sulfur-rich compound sulforaphane is also found in other cruciferous vegetables:
- bok choy
- brussels sprouts
By now, you understand the incredible benefits not just of broccoli sprouts for the vitamins, minerals, and chemical compounds, but you know the value of sulforaphane specifically. So, what if you’re vegetable adverse or know that you’ll have trouble getting in the number of vegetables you need to begin seeing changes in your health? That’s when supplements can be an excellent option as part of a healthy and well-balanced diet, even if it already includes plenty of broccoli.
Sulforaphane supplements are available in various forms and dosages, including tablets, capsules, powder, and liquid. They are often made from broccoli, broccoli seeds, or broccoli sprouts extract. Some sulforaphane supplement manufacturers also advertise their products as combined with myrosinase enzymes for enhanced absorption.
Sulforaphane Supplements To Consider