Broccoli as a Medicine: Why You Should Be Growing Broccoli Sprouts

Food as Medicine

broccoliThere may not be a single vegetable or fruit that is unhealthy for you. Though there are always some pros and cons (especially when considering specific situations), these nearly-perfect foods are natural whole solutions for better health. Among these plant-foods, there are some that stand out above the rest—being at the pinnacle of healthful foods. While most people recognize blueberries, garlic, and kale as a few of these “superfoods,” broccoli sprouts have earned their place at the top as well.

Numerous studies have linked a compound found within broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts to a wide variety of health benefits. The compound, sulforaphane, has been shown to fight cancer, arthritis, and heart disease. And while it’s found in these cruciferous vegetables, it’s most concentrated in broccoli sprouts.

Most recently, a group of researchers at University of East Anglia have started human trials on sulforaphane and the treatment of osteoarthritis. The researchers are hoping to recreate the results they’ve had in mice, where the beneficial compound worked to protect cartilage in the joints, protecting them from arthritis pain and damage.

A few years ago, a study published in Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology indicated sulforaphane protects the heart by turning on a protein in the arteries to guard them from blockage. Clogging of the arteries can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Some of the most impressive sulforaphane benefits, however, are related to its ability to fight cancer. As Mercola reports,

“The sulforaphane from broccoli plays a role in activating more than 200 different genes. Specifically, it appears that broccoli contains the necessary ingredients to switch ON genes that prevent cancer development, and switch OFF other ones that help it spread. And you don’t have to consume a truckload of broccoli to reap its benefits.”

In one study, researchers with Baylor College of Medicine have found that sulforaphane can actually leukemia kill cancer cells. Not only can this powerful natural medicine kill cancer stem cells, scientists have suggested it protects cells from cancer-causing chemicals.

Again, sulforaphane can be found in all cruciferous vegetables, but is most concentrated in broccoli sprouts. In case you don’t know already, sprouts contain upwards of 900 times the nutrition of full-grown veggies. Typically you won’t find broccoli sprouts at your local grocery store, but fortunately they are easy to sprout yourself. Here are 6 steps to growing your own sprouts.

Make sure you invest in organic broccoli seeds and then you can use something as simple as empty Mason jars to get your sprouting station started. You can find a complete introduction to sprouting here, where Natural Society contributor Christina Sarich lays out the basics.