Broccoli sprouts keep cancer, schizophrenia at bay but chewing them raw is better, says expert

When compared to their fully grown broccoli, the sprouts have a significantly higher concentration of a sulfurous compound known as sulforaphane

Avocado, Goji berries, Seaweed, Acai berries, or the humble Quinoa, we live in an era of superfoods. We try our best to include as many of them as possible into our regular diets. However, there is always room for a new one right?

Neurologist David Perlmutter presents us with a new power-packed option: Broccoli sprouts. Not broccoli, but broccoli sprouts. In an Instagram post, Perlmutter said, "It helps out the body's antioxidant function; it helps us reduce inflammation; it helps with detoxification."

What are broccoli sprouts?

As the name suggests, they are the tender sprouts of broccoli. Much like microgreens, the concentration of certain beneficial compounds is high in the infantile form of broccoli.

When compared to their fully grown form, the sprouts have a significantly higher concentration of a sulfurous compound known as sulforaphane, which is also found in other cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage and bok choy in varying levels

Why is it special?

Studies have shown that sulforaphane may have anti-cancer properties. Along with that, they may help in the maintenance of brain and heart health. Adding weight to the argument, researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine published a study in 2019, where they claimed that broccoli sprouts could help in the restoration of imbalance in brain chemistry associated with schizophrenia. They found that the sulforaphane derived from sprouted broccoli had a significant impact on the regulation of glutamate, the chemical associated with the transmission of signals by neurons of the brain.

Broccoli Sprouts

In another study by scientists from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute in 2016, the researchers demonstrated that extract from broccoli sprouts could prevent the recurrence of oral cancer. It is of significance as the recurrence of oral cancer can often have devastating effects. The carcinogenic property of sulforaphane found in baby broccoli was earlier highlighted by the university in a study published in 2015. They showed that the tiny vegetable may help in the prevention of neck and head cancer.

How can it be consumed?

Perlmutter has an answer to that question as well. "You've got to chew the broccoli sprouts in order to release the enzyme that then liberates, or activates, if you will, the sulforaphane," said the neurologist in his Instagram post. The crunchy broccoli infants have a flavor that is comparable to radish.

They can be consumed in their raw form by incorporating them into salads, sandwiches or dips. If the intention is to cook them, then it is advisable to add them to the dish towards the end of its cooking time. It preserves the crunch of this cruciferous superfood.

While it is not a vegetable that can be found in a regular grocery store, it is still accessible. It can ve found in health food stores. Or as Perlmutter suggests, it can be grown at home. "You can sprout broccoli sprouts yourself in a little sprouting jar," he said in the social media post.