Broccoli sprouts might be small, but you likely know that this tiny green superfood is packed with health benefits. This is thanks to the high concentration of an antioxidant called sulforaphane. It’s a sulfur-rich phytochemical found in cruciferous vegetables, but is most potent in broccoli sprouts. You might not have heard of it before, but it’s definitely worth putting on your radar. Keep reading to learn all about this powerful nutrient.
Sulforaphane has a whole suite of health benefits. It primarily aids in liver detoxification, which is helpful whether you’re recovering from a hangover, have a hormonal imbalance, or live in a polluted city. Numerous studies have also extrapolated these benefits on a larger scale. One of the most compelling is a study from Johns Hopkins University, which examined sulforaphane’s ability to repair the cellular damage caused by toxins. The results concluded that sulforaphane could help the body detoxify from known carcinogens like benzene and acrolein within just 24 hours.
Empirical evidence also suggests that this miracle antioxidant has a positive ripple effect on your health. It balances the gut microbiome, which translates to clear skin, sharp cognition, and vibrant metabolic health. It also reduces inflammation, which assists in both exercise performance and recovery. It aids in the prevention of disease as well, from supporting immunity on a daily basis, to preventing cancer cell growth.
In order to reap these benefits, we need to consume sulforaphane on a daily basis. Of course, the best way to obtain sulforaphane is through your diet. Dr. Will Bulsiewicz, author and board-certified gastroenterologist, explains that when we consume sulforaphane from whole food sources, it not only provides us with this nutrient, but also offers fiber, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals. He recommends maximizing your daily intake of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, and cabbage. Adding a handful of broccoli sprouts to smoothies and swapping in sulforaphane-rich leafy greens like kale, arugula, and collard greens are the ways that Dr. Bulsiewicz incorporates sulforaphane into his diet. He also notes that it’s important to cut any vegetables before you eat them and chew them thoroughly to activate the sulforaphane compound.
As hard as we may try, it can be difficult to obtain the optimal amount of sulforaphane through diet alone. Or, perhaps cruciferous veggies don’t agree with your gut (or taste buds)—so that’s where supplements come in. There are numerous sulforaphane supplements on the market, but most are synthetically produced. However, a new-to-market sulforaphane shot called Broc Shot is changing that. It contains organic, hydroponically-grown broccoli sprouts that deliver 15mg of sulforaphane. This is definitely for the more devoted and advanced health nuts, but it’s by far the easiest and tastiest way to obtain the benefits of sulforaphane on a consistent basis.
Bulsiewicz, Will. Fiber Fueled: The Plant-Based Gut Health Program for Losing Weight, Restoring Your Health, and Optimizing Your Microbiome. Avery Pub Group, 2022.