Broccoli sprouts recently found themselves in the spotlight at the American Association for Cancer Research’s fourth annual Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research meeting. Promising new evidence shows that broccoli sprouts, or more specifically the sulforaphane compounds found in them, inhibit Helicobacter pylori bacterial infections—known to cause gastritis, peptic ulcers, and stomach cancer—and thereby block the formation of cancerous gastric tumors. In a study of 40 people infected with H. pylori, 20 received 100 grams of broccoli sprouts with their daily food and 20 ate the same amount of alfalfa sprouts, which are almost chemically identical but lack sulforaphane. Those in the broccoli group showed significantly less infection—after only two months.
No worries about H. pylori for you? Then consider wearing your sprouts, or at least a lotion made of sulforaphane. When extracted from broccoli sprouts (and other cruciferous vegetables), sulforaphane has shown promise in counteracting the body’s cancer-causing response to ultraviolet light. In fact, mice that received a high dose of sulforaphane solution on their backs after UV exposure had half the tumor incidence of those who received a solution without it. While the lotion won’t be a green light to scorch your skin in the sun, according to the study’s lead scientist, Albena Dinkova-Kostova, “Our findings suggest a promising strategy for skin cancer prevention after exposure to UV light.”
Other benefits from eating sprouts include digestive aids, metabolic boosts, improvement in heart health, eye health, weight loss and improved blood circulation. They are very high in nutrients such as vitamin A and a great source on omega-3 fatty acids. They contain many enzymes that are not available from food. The dietary fiber they contain assist in digestive functions,
Sprouts are most beneficial when eaten raw, however caution should be taken, since eating raw vegetables purchased from supermarkets has been associated with food borne illnesses like E. Coli. Only purchase sprouts from reliable sources. Remember it is recommended to eat 7-9 servings of fruit and vegetables a day for a healthy diet. Replacing snacks such as chips, crackers or other processed foods with vegetables like celery, broccoli, carrots and cauliflower are tasty and healthy. Many of these are also a great source of dietary fiber.