It’s no surprise that a diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables is associated with a range of benefits. Rich in antioxidants and fibre, fruit and vegetables are part of a well-balanced diet.
There’s one little veggie that has been sprouting up everywhere. Broccoli sprouts have been called the ‘new superfood‘. These little sprouts are more than just a fad. Some studies have found that broccoli sprouts could help prevent cancer and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Why has there been so much attention on broccoli sprouts and why is it one of the hottest sprouts to add to your diet? Let’s find out.
What are broccoli sprouts?
Broccoli sprouts and mature broccoli are a rich source of:
- Vitamin A, C and K
Low in calories and carbohydrates, while high in protein, broccoli helps you stay in shape and is particularly beneficial for vegan and vegetarian diets.
Although broccoli and broccoli sprouts may seem the same from a nutritional standpoint, broccoli sprouts have a ‘superpower’. These little sprouts give you an extra big dose of glucosinolates.
What are glucosinolates?
That’s a good question! Brassica vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage, and kale, radish, rocket and broccoli sprouts all contain an enzyme called myrosinase that breaks down glucosinolates into a more usable form called sulforaphane (isothiocyanates).
A number of studies have found that isothiocyanates help fight disease and may also prevent cancer. Broccoli sprouts are believed to have 10-100 times the amount of glucoraphanin than mature broccoli (, , and
Sulforaphanes lower the amount of bad cholesterol (LDL) in your body.
One little tablespoon of broccoli seeds
becomes a bowl of sprouts!
Good gut function
A study at Penn University suggests that the glucosinolates in cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage and brussel sprouts, help improve gut function. The glucosinolates break down into other compounds, such as indolocarbazole (ICZ), in the stomach.
“When ICZ binds to and activates the Aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) in the intestinal lining, it aids in maintaining a good balance in the gut flora and immune surveillance and enhances host barrier function. This may help prevent diseases, such as various cancers and Crohn’s Disease, caused by inflammation in the lining of the gut” (Penn University, 2017).
Tastier than kale
Let’s face it. Sometimes kale is a bit hard to eat. With its chewy texture and strong taste, it seems that only the most devoted health warrior loves digging into a bowl of kale (we eat it because it’s good for us, right?)
Broccoli sprouts have a spicy, radish-like taste. They are delicious in salads and sandwiches – and healthiest when eaten raw. Try adding half a cup of raw broccoli sprouts to your diet every day. They are not only healthier than kale, but also tastier.
How to grow broccoli sprouts
One of the easiest ways to grow sprouts is in a glass jar. The jar method is super easy.
- Add one tablespoon of broccoli sprout seeds to your glass jar.
- Fill the rest of your jar with water and leave to soak for 6-12 hours.
- Drain and rinse with water. Leave your jar upside down, on a dish rack or in a big bowl, for approximately 12 hours.
- Repeat these steps until you have a harvest of delicious and healthy broccoli sprouts.
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