When anyone asks if you're doing anything special for your St. Patrick's Day holiday celebration, assure them you'll be getting all the green you need for your good health by eating broccoli, among the stable of cruciferous "superfoods" chock full of cancer- and oxidative stress-fighting nutrients.
The real trick about enjoying all these benefits, however: Preparing these foods can preserve or eliminate most of the benefits you're hoping to receive from eating them. Nothing drives this point home better than a recent University of Illinois study that examined how these nutrients can be depleted or enhanced by the way broccoli is cooked.
Deriving any benefit from broccoli depends on the presence of myrosinase, an enzyme many of us destroy just by overcooking it. The problem: If myrosinase is not present, sulforaphane, the cancer preventative and anti-inflammatory component in broccoli, won't form. And, folks hoping to improve their health by adding broccoli powder alone to their foods may be missing out too, researchers say, because most powders don't contain myrosinase.
Researchers compared urine and blood samples of four healthy men after eating meals supplemented with 2 grams of broccoli powder, 2 grams of broccoli sprouts, a combination of both ingredients and neither one. Sulforaphane absorption was the highest -- almost a two-fold increase -- when patients ate a combo of sprouts and broccoli powder, than when either was consumed alone.
Another way medical experts believe you can boost the healthy-promoting effects of broccoli: Eat it with other foods that contain sulforaphane, like radishes, argula, wasabi and mustard.
Nutrition and Cancer January 13, 2011
ScienceDaily January 27, 2011
Nutraingredients-USA.com January 19, 2011