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Browse through any grocery store and you’ll likely find a myriad of products touting catchy marketing phrases like “all-natural”, “GMO-free”, or “antioxidant-rich” designed to highlight their health benefits and grab your attention. Buzzwords like these seem to be popping up everywhere. One such buzzword that seems to pop up regularly is the name “superfood.” 

While in some cases, the term “superfood” may indeed be a marketing gimmick, there is some truth to that statement – with certain foods simply packing a more powerful punch than others when it comes to their nutritional profile. And one of these superior “superfoods” is a little vitamin-packed veggie known as broccoli sprouts

In this blog post, we’re going to explore exactly what makes broccoli sprouts so “super”, the incredible health benefits linked to these small but mighty greens, and dive into the best way to get more of these health-boosting veggies in your life. Let’s get into it.

What Is A Superfood Anyway?

So, what exactly is a superfood anyway? The truth is, there’s not technically a standard criterion for what does and doesn’t qualify as a superfood.

Rather, the term “superfood” is used as a way to emphasize the exceptional nutrient density of certain foods that are supercharged with a concentrated dose of health-supporting compounds.1 One such food that has certainly earned its esteemed title as a superfood is the broccoli sprout. 

Are Broccoli Sprouts A Superfood?

Broccolis sprouts are exactly what they sound like – young “sprouts” of the broccoli plant. Broccoli sprouts are the first green shoots that emerge after a broccoli seed has germinated – sprouting small green leaves, and thin white stems still attached to the seed. While these baby broccoli plants may only be a few days old (sprouts typically appear in about 3-5 days), they pack a powerful punch – containing abundant amounts of health-boosting compounds like:2

  • Protein
  • Fiber
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Fatty acids
  • Phytochemicals (bioactive plant compounds)

But there’s one compound, in particular, that really makes broccoli sprouts a nutritional powerhouse. You see, broccoli sprouts contain a remarkably high amount of a phytochemical known as sulforaphane.

What Is Sulforaphane?

Sulforaphane is a natural compound found in certain plants – namely broccoli and other cruciferous veggies like bok choy and cabbage. Technically, these plants start out containing a hefty dose of a phytonutrient known as glucoraphanin (a type of glucosinolate). When the plants encounter some kind of damage – like when they’re cut, chopped, or chewed up – certain protective enzymes are released that activate the glucoraphanin and transform it into sulforaphane.3

This biologically activated sulforaphane has a potent effect on the human body thanks to its ability to activate a protein known as Nrf2. Nrf2 is a protein that binds to certain receptors on your cells that essentially regulate or “turn on” both antioxidant-related and detoxification-related genes – upregulating your cells’ ability to neutralize and clear toxins while supercharging antioxidant levels.4

This combination of effects has earned sulforaphane the nickname “the master redox switch” and is what allows sulforaphane to exert its impressive health-enhancing benefits.

Sulforaphane Benefits: The Health Benefits of Broccoli Sprouts

Just a handful of the benefits that have been linked to increased intake of sulforaphane-containing broccoli sprouts include:5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12

  • An increase in detoxification: If your detoxification pathways cannot effectively keep up with the amount of toxins coming in, these toxins can accumulate in your tissues and begin chipping away at your health – disrupting everything from your gut health to your metabolism and from your fertility to your mood. Broccoli sprouts and sulforaphane have been found to increase your body’s detoxification potential by a whopping 400%. To learn more about why detoxification is so crucial and exactly how this complex process works, head over and read through our articles Detoxification of the Body from Environmental Toxins and Physiology of Detoxification: Pathways and Phases of Detox.
  • A decrease in inflammation and oxidative stress: If left unchecked, long-term inflammation can trigger oxidative stress – an imbalance of harmful free radicals and healing antioxidants that can result in damage to your cells. Chronic inflammation and an accumulation of oxidative stress are some of the primary underlying factors that drive just about every chronic disease known to mankind. Broccoli sprouts combat inflammation and can help repair damage induced by oxidative stress by downregulating inflammatory pathways, enhancing immune function, and boosting antioxidant production.
  • Protection against cancer: Sulforaphane and other nutrients found in broccoli sprouts have been found to have some potent cancer-fighting properties – suppressing cancer cell’s ability to grow and spread while simultaneously protecting healthy cells from the toxic effects of carcinogens (cancer-causing compounds) and cancerous cells.
  • Anti-aging and appearance-enhancing benefits: Sulforaphane and other compounds within broccoli sprouts can also have some potent anti-aging benefits – increasing your longevity, enhancing your appearance, and helping to give you that youthful glow. You see, sulforaphane not only decreases your vulnerability to developing chronic disease, but it also helps to shield your skin from sun damage, enhances the production of collagen and other skin-supporting compounds, and pumps the brakes on the cardinal signs of aging – helping you maintain a youthful, healthy appearance.
  • A reduction in symptoms in autoimmune conditions: Thanks to its potent ability to pump the brakes on inflammation, support a more balanced immune response, and combat oxidative stress, sulforaphane can help ease the symptoms and reduce the severity of flare-ups in autoimmune conditions like lupus, psoriasis, and others.
  • Better brain health and protection against neurodegenerative diseases: Broccoli sprouts and sulforaphane have also been found to have some impressive brain-boosting effects – enhancing cognitive function while preventing the development of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and others.

As you can see, these little greens may be small, but they certainly are mighty. So how can you best tap into the power of these tiny greens to uplevel your own health? While you can certainly purchase them at the grocery store, one of the best ways is to grow your own sprouts at home.

Growing Your Own Broccoli Sprouts

Broccoli Sprouts
Growing Your Own Broccoli Sprouts

One way to maximize your intake of sulforaphane-containing broccoli sprouts is to simply grow them at home. That way you can easily toss some sprouts in your smoothie, use them as a salad topper, or enjoy them any way you’d like. If you’re interested in growing your own broccoli sprouts, you’ve got to check out Hamama’s Grow Kits.

Their powerful growing systems are organic, sustainable, and super easy to set up – taking all the guesswork out of growing these super sprouts so you can have fresh greens on-hand anytime! Click here to grab your own Hamama Grow Kit today.

If growing your own greens isn’t quite your style, not to worry – you can still harness the power of broccoli sprouts by taking a simple sulforaphane supplement. 

What Is the Best Sulforaphane Supplement?

When it comes to sulforaphane supplements, they’re not all created equally. As with all supplements, you’ll want to look for one that’s free from fillers and common irritants (like gluten and yeast) as well as sourced organically to avoid ingesting toxic pesticides and chemicals. And when it comes specifically to sulforaphane, you want to be sure your supplement has a high active sulforaphane potential – meaning it contains a potent dose of glucosinolates sourced from broccoli sprouts harvested at the peak of their phytonutrient power.

If you want the best of the best in sulforaphane supplements, we can’t speak highly enough of BioImmersion’s Glucosinolates and Sulforaphane supplement. To learn more about BioImmersion, the incredible research behind their sulforaphane supplements, and what makes their products superior, you’ve got to head over and check out our webinar replay with 

with Dr. Dohrea Bardell, Ph.D., Co-Founder, and Formulator over at BioImmersion (skip to 57:48 if you want to dive right into their Glucosinolates and Sulforaphane supplement.

To learn more about the science behind Bioimmersion’s Glucosinolates and Sulforaphane supplement and grab a bottle for yourself, just click right here

Ready to Supercharge Detoxification and Take Your Health to the Next Level?

It’s easy to see why broccoli sprouts have earned their title as a superfood. These tiny sprigs certainly are a nutritional powerhouse and their ability to support health and maximize detoxification is unmatched. And while broccoli sprouts and the sulforaphane they contain are no doubt a powerful tool when it comes to enhancing detoxification, at the end of the day, it’s exactly that – a tool.

No amount of broccoli sprouts or sulforaphane supplementation can outdo the effects of less-than-ideal lifestyle choices or a massive influx of environmental toxins. These vitamin-packed veggie extracts must be paired with a big-picture lifestyle that supports optimal detoxification and vibrant health.

If you want to learn the secret to supporting optimal detoxification and vibrant health, we’ve got you covered in our upcoming (completely free!) Toxicity & Detoxification Masterclass. We’re spilling all the secrets from the world’s leading experts on how to minimize exposure to environmental toxins, how to best support detoxification, and much much more. This masterclass will air February 17-19 and you can register for free by clicking right here. You’re not going to want to miss this one! 

Resources:

  1. What makes superfood so super? | UC Davis
  2. Sulforaphane: Benefits, Side Effects, and Food Sources (healthline.com)
  3. Enhanced production of sulforaphane by exogenous glucoraphanin hydrolysis catalyzed by myrosinase extracted from Chinese flowering cabbage (Brassica rapa var. parachinensis) | Scientific Reports (nature.com)
  4. Broccoli sprout extract induces detoxification-related gene expression and attenuates acute liver injury – PMC (nih.gov)
  5. Broccoli sprout extract induces detoxification-related gene expression and attenuates acute liver injury (nih.gov)
  6. Comparative Study of Predominant Phytochemical Compounds and Proapoptotic Potential of Broccoli Sprouts and Florets | SpringerLink
  7. Breast Cancer Prevention-Is there a Future for Sulforaphane and Its Analogs? – PubMed (nih.gov)
  8. Dietary supplementation with sulforaphane ameliorates skin aging through activation of the Keap1-Nrf2 pathway – ScienceDirect
  9. Dietary supplementation with sulforaphane ameliorates skin aging through activation of the Keap1-Nrf2 pathway – ScienceDirect
  10. Sulforaphane Ameliorates the Severity of Psoriasis and SLE by Modulating Effector Cells and Reducing Oxidative Stress – PubMed (nih.gov)
  11. Sulforaphane Protects against Brain Diseases: Roles of Cytoprotective Enzymes (nih.gov)
  12. Sulforaphane – role in aging and neurodegeneration (nih.gov)

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