Shhh…quiet. Do you hear that sound?
It’s the silent screaming of countless overcooked stalks of broccoli as people boil all the cancer-fighting goodness right out of them.
I told you before about a study that concluded that bacteria found in your lower gut have the ability to spur the release of a cancer-fighting compound in broccoli called sulforaphane.
But, as I’ve explained then, overcooking the delicious cruciferous veggie combined with the processed-food loaded Western diet unfortunately destroys much of the cancer-conquering potential of this powerhouse.
Boost broccoli’s cancer-fighting potential
But one study has found a way for us to rescue some of that lost potential (or simply boost it if you’re already cooking your broccoli correctly).
Researchers from the University of Illinois found that teaming broccoli up with a spicy food that contains the enzyme myrosinase supercharges both foods anti-cancer abilities.
But the dream team doesn’t stop there. The combination also assures that absorption takes place in the upper part of your digestive system where it can have the most impact.
Turbocharge broccoli’s cancer killing ability
The U of I team showed that when spicy broccoli sprouts were eaten with broccoli powder the bioactive compounds in the volunteer’s blood were measurable within just 30 minutes. And when they peaked three hours later they were significantly higher than when either of the foods was eaten alone.
To understand how this synergy works you’ll need to know a bit more about the players.
The broccoli sprouts contain the myrosinase enzyme, which we now know enhances the abilities of the cancer-fighting compound sulforaphane.
The broccoli powder does not contain the enzyme however it does contain the precursor to sulforaphane.
Anti-cancer sulforaphane levels skyrocket
When the two foods are eaten together the broccoli powder borrows some of the myrosinase and both foods then produce sulforaphane as their ability to head off cancer skyrockets.
To take advantage of this effect in your own life you can spice up your next batch of broccoli by combining it with….
- broccoli sprouts,
- or radishes.
But to retain more of the cancer-fighting potential in those green stalks remember to only steam them lightly for 3 to 4 minutes!
“Enhancing sulforaphane absorption and excretion in healthy men through the combined consumption of fresh broccoli sprouts and a glucoraphanin-rich powder,” British Journal of Nutrition, 2011; 1 DOI:
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