Broccoli sprouts may be one of the most powerful superfoods on the planet. Why? Because when eaten, they produce a compound called sulforaphane, which is especially powerful in terms of its anticancer properties. As such, a lot of scientific research has been done around it. Sulforaphane is the most potent, naturally occurring dietary activator or a power antioxidant gene called NRF2. There isn’t any other food that contains more sulforaphane than broccoli sprouts apart from the seed itself (and the seed is VERY bitter, trust me, you don’t want to eat the seed raw).
One of the reasons that sulforaphane is so special is that it’s the most potent, naturally occurring dietary activator of a pathway in the body called NRF2. NRF2 is an amazing pathway that controls over 200 genes in the body, many of which can slow cellular aging.
Here are some of the things the NRF2 pathway is believed to do –
1) Protects from cancer by reducing the DNA damage we get from carcinogens (which are known to cause cancer) both by reducing their production in the body and also by increasing their excretion from the body.
2) It deactivates inflammatory genes. Reducing inflammation is probably one of the most powerful way to prevent disease.
3) It activates antioxidant genes which protect DNA from damage.
4) It lowers the damage that accumulates in our cells which overtime can eventually cause them to be non functional.
The great news is we can make broccoli sprouts at home really easily – you just need to pick up some good quality seeds from the health food store. Here is how you do it –
1 – Put 2-4 tablespoons of seed into a big glass jar like the picture
2 – Add 2 inches of water so the seeds are completely submerged
3 – Leave to soak for 12 hours in a cool dark place – I use the kitchen cupboard
4 – Rinse and drain the seeds every 12 hours (store them in the cool and dark place between rinsing)
5 – Keep doing this until the jar is full or you are not seeing anymore growth, it should take between 5-7 days
As you can see from the picture, I use a tea strainer and an elastic band to help with the rinsing process. Be sure to leave the jar upside down when you leave them in the cupboard, so the excess water can drain. If you start to see little white, fuzzy roots grow; this is normal, they just need more water and they should disappear after the next watering. I like to grow them in bulk, and freeze to add to smoothies later.
A couple of tips to increase the potency of your sprouts –
- Freeze the sprouts once made and then blend them up from frozen
- Add mustard powder!