Superfoods – it seems like every few months there’s a new one. Kale, chia seeds, coconut oil, maca, celery juice…the list goes on. And that’s not to say that these foods can’t have powerful benefits. They definitely can. But to label them “super” might be a bit of a stretch. But regardless, there’s a trending “superfood” that we want to talk about today and that’s broccoli sprouts.
More specifically, what they are precisely, how they differ from actual broccoli, their uses, along with the many health benefits that you can get from them. We’re also going to talk about how to grow your own sprouts. We’ll tell you how to eat them in a way that will help you maximize all of the benefits that they provide.
Table of Contents
What Are Broccoli Sprouts?
Let’s start out with the first order of business—what are they exactly? Well, it’s actually very simple. Before the broccoli plant evolves into a full-size head that’s ready to eat, its journey begins from the seeds. These are the sprouts. They can look like tiny plants or like seeds that have a small stem and just a few green leaves.
As we can see from the very start, they do differ from the actual broccoli—which is, obviously, a fully grown plant.
While studies have shown that broccoli itself has plenty of nutritional and health benefits, the benefits that come from broccoli sprouts are even greater. That’s exclusively because of one secret component that broccoli sprouts contain on a much larger scale than mature broccoli does.
Broccoli Sprouts vs The Broccoli Plant?
A lot of people seem to think that broccoli sprouts are just the same as the mature plant when it comes to nutrition. However, that’s exactly where they’re wrong!
Although the broccoli sprouts might not have the same amount of vitamins inside that mature broccoli has, they actually contain a lot more glucosinolates—also known as sulforaphane.
You’re also probably wondering what this secret component is, and why it’s so good from a nutritional standpoint. Let’s start by telling you that broccoli sprouts contain up to 100 times more sulforaphane than mature broccoli plants.
Sulforaphane is a compound that has a lot of amazing cancer-preventing as well as cancer-fighting abilities—and that’s not all that it can do.
What’s Sulforaphane Useful For?
This particular compound can support the bones, the heart, and the respiratory system. It can also help you in fighting off common infections, along with detoxifying any environmental chemicals and toxins from your body. Sulforaphane can also protect your brain after sustaining a serious injury as well as combat autoimmune diseases.
One of the ways that sulforaphane can accomplish all of these things is through a relatively new scientific discovery. It’s called epigenetics, and it’s about how genetic changes are possible just by changing your lifestyle and your diet.
Epigenetics is the part of our DNA which instructs our cells when to turn on and when to turn off, as well as how to function, and communicate with each other.
More specifically, according to some scientific research, sulforaphane was found to be able to influence the epigenetics of the part of our DNA that’s responsible for fighting different types of diseases.
Benefits Of Broccoli Sprouts?
Thanks to this special phytonutrient (a nutrient that is found only in plants), broccoli sprouts are able to help with the following things:
- The combat as well as the prevention of cancer—which includes lung, throat, breast, bladder, prostate, colon, and some skin cancers.
- Studies show that broccoli sprouts benefit the heart.
- Offer more support to strong bones.
- They can detoxify your body.
- Help you combat an H. pylori infection.
- Improve respiratory function.
- They could possibly protect your brain.
It’s also worth mentioning that broccoli sprouts should be a part of the Multiple Sclerosis patient’s diet because of the remarkable attributes.
Cancer: Combat and Prevention
However, instead of boring you with the genetic and molecular details, we’ll just tell you that the way that broccoli sprouts can do this is by deactivating the phase I biotransformation enzymes. This thereby inhibits the conversion of the benign carcinogens into active ones.
They also help with excreting the carcinogenic enzymes from your body. Finally, they can also help in reducing the negative effects that chemotherapy has during treatment for cancer, without impacting any of your healthy cells.
Benefiting the Heart
According to a recent study, rats that were given pure sulforaphane that was derived from broccoli sprouts had lower blood pressure, and in another animal study, managed to lower high triglycerides.
Scientists believe that this is correlated to hypertension and a decrease in cardiac hypertrophy. Therefore, according to this research, the sooner you add broccoli sprouts to your diet, the easier it will be for your heart to function properly, prevent disease, and have an easier time recovering if anything happens to it.
Strong Bone Support
There are some early studies that show how sulforaphane could be a very powerful protector against osteoporosis. In the study, researchers found that with rats, sulforaphane helped in countering the genetic mechanisms that can contribute to the creation of osteoporosis and stopped the molecular processes and inflammation.
Detoxifying the Body
There’s no need to go out of your way to buy special food supplements and shakes that claim to be able to help you in detoxification. In fact, there’s nothing more that you need to buy aside from your regular grocery list that’s filled with fruit and vegetables.
As long as you have broccoli sprouts on your list, of course. After only 10 days of taking a broccoli sprout drink, you can expect to significantly lower the toxins and other dangerous chemicals that are present in your body.
Combating H.Pylori Infection
One of the hardest pathogens that humans can fight in their lives is H. pylori. For the past 200,000 years, after it was first discovered in Africa, it has been causing stomach ulcers as well as gastritis in humans and is a very difficult infection to manage in general.
But according to both animal as well as human studies, broccoli sprouts were found to be able to temporarily stop the infection, at least with a small number of patents. And there were no side effects either!
Although the bacterial infection didn’t completely disappear when patients were administered broccoli sprouts, it did end up protecting the inner lining of the stomach. Broccoli sprouts were also helpful when combating any disease that appeared in relation to the infection.
Improving Respiratory Function
The same detoxification abilities that we previously mentioned could be the reason behind why sulforaphane is actually so good for your health, including your respiratory system.
Some studies have shown that the sulforaphane that’s found in broccoli sprouts has helped people get rid of any environmental toxins. Those included the toxins that cause asthma, allergies, along with a plethora of other respiratory diseases.
Protecting Your Brain and Being a Part of a Multiple Sclerosis Diet
A diet filled with broccoli sprouts was found to be able to protect the brain from the severe symptoms that are present and associated with Multiple Sclerosis. Research also found that broccoli sprouts were even helpful in reducing brain swelling and enhancing the overall cognition after a traumatic brain injury.
A diet rich in broccoli sprouts was also found to be helpful with recovery from other brain issues and diseases, such as stroke.
How Nutritious Are Broccoli Sprouts?
Most broccoli sprouts are actually sold as supplements, so nutrition can be a bit tricky. That’s because you’ll need to get the broccoli sprouts as soon as they sprout, but being able to find fresh broccoli sprouts in a normal grocery store is extremely rare.
However, if you happen to have fresh broccoli sprouts, this is the nutritional value per 4-ounce serving:
- 35 calories
- 5g carbohydrates
- 2g protein
- 0.5g fat
- 4g fiber
- 54mg vitamin C
- 90μg vitamin A
- 78mg calcium
- 720μg iron
Additionally, between 10 and 100 times more sulforaphane compared to a mature broccoli plant.
Growing Your Own Broccoli Sprouts
Now, we’ll talk about what it takes to grow some broccoli sprouts yourself, so you don’t have to spend all your time searching for some fresh broccoli sprouts in the grocery store or the farmer’s market.
This way, you can have a lot of fresh broccoli sprouts on hand that you can easily add to your diet without the hassle of going out to buy them. All you have to do is wait for them to sprout.
However, when it comes to that, you may have to wait a little longer than with a lot of other seeds. That’s because the broccoli sprouts tend to take a bit more time when it comes to sprouting. However, waiting for a while is certainly worth it, considering all of the great health benefits that we previously mentioned.
Here’s our simple and easy-to-follow step-by-step guide to growing your broccoli sprouts at home.
- You’ll need to start out with a jar that has a sprouting lid, some broccoli seeds, and add some purified water. Cover the seeds with two tablespoons of warm water and soak them overnight. Then you can drain them after eight to 10 hours.
- Next, you’ll have to keep rinsing the seeds for five days with purified water, two or three times per day. Make sure that you drain the water before you rinse them every time, otherwise, they can go bad.
- While they’re growing throughout this rinse-and-repeat process, make sure they’re kept in a warm and fairly dark environment.
- You’ll start to see the seeds splitting and the first signs of sprouts in the first three days, but you shouldn’t harvest them until they’re about one to one and a half inches long. They’ll need to have defined, yellow leaves before you’ll be able to expose them to sunlight.
- Continue to water and rinse them as you’ve been doing, especially if you live in a very hot or a very dry location.
- Finally, you’ll be able to pick and then eat the sprouts when you see the leaves turn a darker shade of green and they’re longer than an inch.
Congrats! Now you’ve grown your own broccoli sprouts. It has only taken you a few minutes per day, but now you can add them to your diet and your body will have an easier time combating many diseases.
How to Eat Broccoli Sprouts
Below we’ll show you a few recipes that you can use if you’d like to add broccoli sprouts to your diet. Do note that the sprouts have the most sulforaphane when you eat them raw, so it’s best to avoid cooking them.
And remember that you can easily add them to practically any salad, sandwich, burger, noodles, or even a smoothie if you’d like.
You can also use broccoli sprouts to replace other vegetables with a crunchy texture in a regular recipe. For example, you can replace cucumbers with broccoli sprouts.
- Try baking a potato and then adding sour cream or some melted cheese to it. Then just sprinkle some broccoli sprouts on top of everything.
- If you’re making any kind of stir-fry meal, wait until the last couple of minutes. Then add the broccoli sprouts. Adding them at this time is best so they don’t soften and you’ll still get the crunchy texture.
- Combine some diced tomatoes, onions, and sweet corn with some chopped broccoli sprouts and the juice of one lime. Mix everything well and you can use the mixture as a salsa for your chips or a side dish for a meal.
- A great way to hide the broccoli sprouts in your meals is to just add them to a dip or some hummus. This way, you’re still going to get all of their great health benefits, without ever realizing that you’re eating broccoli sprouts!
In conclusion, all of the benefits and the possibilities that come with broccoli sprouts are practically endless. So if you’d like to improve your current, as well as your future health and wellbeing, start growing them right away. Add them to your diet as soon as they’re good to go and you’ll be reaping the remarkable benefits in no time at all!
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