Broccoli sprouts are packed full of vital nutrients, vitamins, fiber, and enzymes, making them a welcome addition to any diet. However, the health benefits of these small and easy-to-grow vegetables extend far beyond the typical range of minerals and vitamins found in most green vegetables. Today, scientists are uncovering remarkable evidence that a diet containing broccoli sprouts can help prevent and treat numerous diseases as well.
Nutritional Value of Broccoli Sprouts
A mere ounce of broccoli sprouts contains 4 percent of the recommended daily allowance of dietary fiber, 2 percent of the recommended daily calcium intake, and an incredible 15 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C. Broccoli sprouts also contain vitamin B and important enzymes.
Broccoli Sprouts as an Anti-Cancer Compound
Despite their nutritional value, broccoli sprouts often steal the medical headlines because of their remarkable ability to prevent disease. These young broccoli plants have recently become especially interesting to cancer researchers in search of preventative and treatment compounds.
Doctors have been studying human nutrition for over 20 years, trying to determine the best foods for cancer prevention. Recent studies performed by Johns Hopkins University and other universities suggest that broccoli sprouts may be the best natural remedy to ward off cancer.
Sulforaphane, a chemical compound and potent anti-carcinogen found in broccoli sprouts, may prevent or treat several types of cancer, including breast and prostate cancer. According to Time magazine, rather than directly fighting cancer cells, sulforaphane boosts the body’s immune system and better enables it to protect itself; this includes its ability to stop the growth of tumors. Although mature broccoli contains sulforaphane as well, broccoli sprouts can contain up to 100 times more.
Skin Protection with Broccoli Sprouts
According to a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences, when sulforaphane-containing extracts derived from broccoli sprouts are applied to the skin, they can help protect the skin from dangerous ultraviolet rays that cause skin cancer.
Broccoli Sprouts for Stomach Health
Not only is sulforaphane an anti-carcinogen, but it also promotes stomach enzyme production, which helps fight bacteria that creates stomach problems, such as ulcers and stomach cancer. According to a Tufts University study, alfalfa sprouts may look similar to broccoli sprouts, but they don’t contain sulforaphane, so they don’t provide the same stomach benefits.
Incorporating Broccoli Sprouts into Your Diet
Broccoli sprouts are terrific on hamburgers and sandwiches, in sushi rolls, on top of salads and soups, and as an ingredient in a host of other foods. Since they can be eaten steamed, stir-fried, or raw, their culinary uses are endless. Although the nutrient value of broccoli sprouts will not be lost by briefly steaming them, they’re best when not cooked for too long.
Nutrient-packed broccoli sprouts can be found in nearly all health food stores. However, they can easily be grown with minimal room and effort. With some seeds and a sprouting jar, you can begin growing your own broccoli sprouts and enjoying their health benefits in no time at all.