Broccoli is healthy, but baby broccoli sprouts are possibly even healthier and have between 10 and 100 times more anti-cancer ingredients than the more mature roses.
There is only one catch: cooking these vegetables can completely deplete these powerful compounds. Fortunately, a team of researchers has found a way to cook the sprouts, while still retaining most of their health benefits.
Raw broccoli sprouts contain large amounts of a potent compound called glucosinolates. These compounds and their metabolites – what they become when they are broken down – can contribute to various aspects of human health and disease prevention, including the control of both cancer and inflammation.
A new study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry revealed that cooking high-pressure broccoli sprouts can help to retain 85 percent of glucosinolates in the vegetables – something boiled and microwaving can not.
The new findings mean that under high pressure processed broccoli sprouts can soon be added to the ever-changing list of popular health foods.
Main research author Volker Böhm of the Institute of Nutrition at Friedrich Schiller University Jena explains that these properties are most effective when someone eats the Brussels sprouts regularly. “Especially young people who regularly eat germs benefit from this habit,” Böhm told Newsweek.
Although you may think that raw eating of the sprouts and ordinary crops in water can help you achieve these benefits without losing large amounts of carcinogenic compounds, Böhm also warns. “Washing with water is not enough to reduce the number of different bacteria and to obtain the microbial safety of the product,” he explained. “Reducing numbers of bacteria is especially difficult for sprouts because of the texture.”
This is not the first time that scientists have seen unripe broccoli sprouts because of their underestimated health benefits. A 2014 study suggested that another substance in the sprouts called sulforaphane helped to alleviate some symptoms of moderate to severe autism, such as social interaction, verbal communication, and repetitive behavior.
Of course, a high-pressure processing machine is not something that the average person has in his kitchen cabinet, and Böhm explained that the process is not even possible at home.
Consumers could theoretically purchase products that have already been processed in this way, but currently high-pressure processed broccoli sprouts are not available everywhere. Still, perhaps if it becomes known how healthy these small vegetables actually are, it can happen that high-pressure processed broccoli sprouts will soon be introduced in the nearest health food store.