So until a couple years ago, I had never heard of broccoli sprouts. I was familiar with legume sprouts like mung bean sprouts but had never heard of broccoli sprouts! Actually broccoli sprouts were identified as a superfood pretty recently only about two decades ago! The New York Times first wrote about the research showing the incredible cancer-fighting compounds found in broccoli sprouts 1 and that started a global shortage of broccoli seeds! 2
So what are Broccoli Sprouts?
Broccoli sprouts are what you get when you sprout broccoli seeds. Broccoli sprouts contain extremely high levels of glucoraphanin, the glucosinolate precursor to the isothiocyanate sulforaphane. The sprouts contain between 10–100 times the amount of glucoraphanin that can be found in a broccoli head (vegetable). Hence it is a superfood!
What are the health benefits of Broccoli Sprouts?
- Has anti-cancer properties: The ability of broccoli sprouts to fight cancer is its most extensively researched and well-known feature. It has shown to both fight as well as prevent cancer. Broccoli sprouts has been studied in various types of cancers including throat cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer 3.
- Has detoxifying properties: Broccoli sprouts induces the phase II enzymes in our liver which are responsible for detoxifying harmful chemicals and potential carcinogens from our body.
- Has cardiovascular benefits: Animal studies have shown that broccoli sprouts(sulforaphane) lowers blood pressure by interfering with an epigenetic process called DNA methylation that researchers believe to be correlated with hypertension 3. Broccoli sprouts also resulted in lowering high triglycerides.
In addition to the above, broccoli sprouts have been shown to be neuroprotective and helpful in Multiple Sclerosis as well as shown to improve respiratory function.
Are Broccoli sprouts Paleo and AIP?
Yes Broccoli sprouts are both Paleo and AIP since they come from a Paleo source i.e. a vegetable. So sprouts from lettuce seeds, radish seeds and celery seeds would also be Paleo and AIP. Sprouts that come from a legume are not Paleo or AIP for example pea sprouts or other legume sprouts although they are definitely less gut damaging than the respective legumes due to lower content of phytic acid and anti nutrients.
Are Broccoli Sprouts ok to be consumed if you have thyroid disease?
Cruciferous vegetables—cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, turnips, arugula, etc.— are particularly rich in a group of sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates, some of which are known goitrogens. Goitrogens can block iodine from entering the thyroid and eventually cause a swollen thyroid or goiter. However, recent studies in both animals and humans have shown that cruciferous vegetables especially sprouts of cruciferous veggies reduces inflammation and oxidative stress in the thyroid, improving thyroid function even in iodine-deficiency-induced hypothyroidism4.
OK having learned about all the benefits, where can we get them? Broccoli sprouts are available in most grocers in the US. However, it is not only easy but also economical to grow them at home. Also fresh sprouts also have the highest content of sulforaphane and so when you grow them at home, you get the best deal!
You can grow Broccoli sprouts (and other sprouts) using glass jars. There are multiple videos and articles on this. Wellness Mama has a very good post on this.
I use this sprouter that I bought from amazon and I find it so easy to grow them using this. I also get my seeds online from amazon. I have done a video tutorial demonstrating how I make my own sprouts at home using this sprouter. Check it out!
Lastly, I will share this recipe of my favorite way of eating these sprouts – as a salad! The special ingredient for this salad is Chaat masala which is an Indian seasoning mix that has a tangy, pungent and slightly spicy kick!
- 2 cups of broccoli sprouts
- 1 small size cucumber peeled and diced
- ½ of a small red onion, finely sliced or chopped
- ⅛ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp chaat masala (omit for AIP or use the AIP version given below)
- ¼ tsp rock salt
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- Mix all ingredients together in a salad bowl and serve immediately!