Broccoli sprouts are three-day-old broccoli plants that look and taste similar to alfalfa sprouts. They contain ten times the nutrients of a mature broccoli plant, meaning you can eat far less and still reap the benefits. Their nutrients are high bioavailability and are easily absorbed by the body, and they provide an easy way to add a vegetable portion to your diet. Research has shown that eating broccoli sprouts may help to fend off a number of health issues. They're easy to grow and have some powerful properties.
Read on to find out about broccoli sprouts' many health benefits, and learn how to grow them yourself:
Cancer Fighting Properties
Famous for their antioxidant content, broccoli sprouts exert 50 times the cancer fighting power found in broccoli. You get as many antioxidants in two tablespoons of broccoli sprouts as you would if you ate roughly 1kg of fully grown broccoli. Sulforaphane is the main active compound found in broccoli. Studies have shown that sulforaphane has anti-diabetic and antimicrobial properties, and could help kill cancer stem cells, slowing down tumor growth.
May Lower The Risk Of Heart disease
Broccoli sprouts contain sulforaphane which may be the key to lowering the risk of heart disease. High blood pressure and elevated triglyceride levels are strong factors for developing heart disease. Broccoli sprouts may decrease blood triglyceride in people with type 2 diabetes. Triglycerides are a form of dietary fat found in meats, dairy and cooking oils. The sprouts also lower levels of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and increase the levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol).
Treatment for Ulcers
Broccoli sprouts are a natural treatment for peptic ulcers also known as stomach ulcers; which is an open sore found in the stomach or small intestine. Broccoli is high in fibre and a protective compound found in broccoli, glucoraphanin, when converted to sulforaphane is known to be 50 times stronger in broccoli sprouts. Sulforaphane lowers the H. pylori activity, and can help treat and prevent stomach cancer. It also reduces stomach inflammation and increases protective enzyme activity.
Combats Environmental Pollutants
Broccoli sprouts can help your body eliminate toxic pollutants such as pesticides. When chewed or swallowed the sprouts create sulforaphane from glucoraphanin which accelerates the detoxification process of eliminating these pollutants from the body.
Packed with Vitamins
Broccoli sprouts provide Vitamin A purported to help night vision; Vitamin C, important for growth and maintenance of body tissues; Vitamin E, boosting immunity and fertility in males; and, Calcium, for healthy teeth and bones.
How To Grow your Own Broccoli Sprouts
Broccoli sprouts can be easily grown and will keep up to two weeks in the refrigerator. All you need are some broccoli sprouting seeds which you can find at your local garden centre or online!
1. Grab a glass jar approximately 500ml, a piece of muslin cloth or old rag/t-shirt and an elastic band. Alternatively you can buy sprouting jars online.
2. Rinse 2 tablespoons of seeds and put them into the jar, cover with water to soak the seeds overnight and seal the top with muslin cloth and elastic band. You don't have to pre-soak them but this will allow them to sprout quicker.
3. In the morning empty the water and take a saucer or small plate and balance the jar on its end, so the lid is facing downwards. Pop it on your windowsill or near other natural light in a warm place.
4. Rinse with water twice a day, gently shaking the sprouts around the jar. Harvesting time varies according to the seed but shouldn't take more than a week for the sprouts to form.
5. Replace the sprouting lid with a sealed lid or transfer to an airtight container.
6. This method works with any seeds, beans or lentils.
They can be eaten in salads, sandwiches, added to juices or smoothies and eaten alone as a snack. Sprouts are a great alternative for those who do not like the taste or smell of broccoli and are great to sneak into children's food.