It feels like new studies are constantly discovering the amazing-ness of eating young broccoli microgreens & sprouts. Here are just a few reasons! Look for fresh broccoli microgreens at your local farmers market (you can buy them from us if you are in Bangalore), or grow your own with one of our kits!
We all know that broccoli is healthy, but most of us don’t eat it often enough. Some don’t like the taste, some find it hard to prepare, but did you know there’s an even more nutrient-dense form of broccoli you’ve probably never heard of? I’m talking about broccoli microgreens.
The health benefits of broccoli microgreens are incredible considering their tiny size. They can contain up to 40 times the levels of nutrients by weight compared to adult broccoli.
What are broccoli microgreens? It is actually a phase in a plant’s life when it is between 10 and 14 days old. During this stage, sulforaphane, one of the plant’s natural compounds peaks.
This compound is also present in a few other cruciferous vegetables like Bok choy, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale. However, broccoli is one of the foods highest in sulforaphane; particularly at the sprout and microgreen stages.
Let’s take a look at some of the health aids of broccoli microgreens and sulforaphane.
1. Sulforaphane Has Anti-Cancer Properties
Many test-tube studies and animal studies have confirmed the anti-cancer properties of sulforaphane.
Sulforaphane also facilitates the release of antioxidants and detoxifying enzymes that neutralize known cancer-causing elements such as benzene. It binds to a protein within the cells and in the process catalyzes the production of enzymes that help the cells resist toxic and carcinogenic substances.
2. Supports Cardiovascular Health
One of the major causes of cardiovascular diseases and complications is inflammation. Inflammation of the arteries can cause narrowing of the vessels leading to high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries.
Results from animal and test-tube studies suggest that sulforaphane contains anti-inflammatory properties. This compound activates a protein known as Nrf2 that prevents the endothelial cells (the cells that line your arteries), from triggering inflammation.
In a 2009 study commissioned by the British Heart Foundation Cardiovascular Sciences Unit, it was found that activation of Nrf2 may prevent or reduce atherosclerosis.
3. Broccoli Sprouts Have Anti-Diabetic Properties
Sulforaphane has been found to alleviate the effects of diabetes, especially in diabetics who are obese or overweight.
One study examined the effect of sulforaphane in broccoli sprouts on people with Type 2 diabetes. The 97 participants were each given broccoli containing 150 µmol of sulforaphane daily. The study concluded that sulforaphane helped reduce blood sugar levels by as much as 6.5% and also improved blood sugar control.
4. Reduces the Symptoms of Autism
Broccoli, specifically Sulforaphane, has recently been studied for its potential benefits to children with autism.
A study by Johns Hopkins University found that a daily dose of sulforaphane for a period of four weeks improved behavioral and communication assessments in autistic children.
It has been observed that fever improves autism symptoms. Dr. Kanwaljit Singh, the lead researcher, explained that they came up with the idea of using sulforaphane to treat autism because of its ability to induce fever.
5. Anti-Aging Properties
Sulforaphane supports anti-aging by activating heat shock proteins in the body. Commonly referred to just as HSP27, heat shock proteins slow down the cell aging process.
Heat shock protein work against aging by mobilizing defenses that protect against cellular damage from ultraviolet light.
6. Boosts Brain Function
Studies have shown sulforaphane reduces mental decline and improves recovery after a brain injury. It has been proven to reduce depression symptoms and anxiety in animal studies.
A 2017 study concluded that sulforaphane, in conjunction with vitamin E, improved cognitive deterioration and reduced oxidative damage in baby mice that were exposed to lead.
Even though many of these studies were focused on animals, primarily mice, there are human studies currently underway.