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Spicing Up Broccoli

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A new study finds that eating spicy foods with broccoli boosts it cancer-fighting power.  Broccoli alone contains a cancer-fighting compound called sulforaphane.  Adding a spicy food that contains an enzyme called myrosinase resulted in more of the bioactive compound, sulforaphane in the blood 30 minutes later.  Myrosinase is the enzyme necessary to form sulforaphane.

The study used fresh broccoli sprouts eaten together with broccoli powder.  Eating broccoli alone did not produce the peak effects after three hours, but combined with the sprouts enhanced the broccoli’s cancer-protective compound. The study used fresh sprouts, so cooking them may destroy the beneficial enzyme, however.  Enzymes are proteins and very susceptible to denaturation (destruction) by heat.

From time to time, there are news stories about food poisoning related to sprouts. Any kind of sprout can be contaminated with E. coli or salmonella through the water used to soak and rinse them, or through dirty containers. The moist conditions needed for commercial sprouting is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria to multiply. Sprouting seeds at home is no guarantee of safety either since conditions are still perfect for bacteria. Washing either homegrown or commercial sprouts does not guarantee the removal of all bacteria, so people with impaired immune systems may wish to avoid eating raw sprouts.
Cooking sprouts in stir-fry, soups or other dishes is the best way to guarantee safety. It does somewhat reduce the nutrient value, but it does not eliminate it entirely.

Still concerned about fresh sprouts?  You can combine broccoli with other spicy foods, such as mustard, horseradish, or wasabi.  Foods that also contain myrosinase include radishes, cabbage, arugula, watercress, and Brussels sprouts. To get the best cancer- protection from broccoli, eat three to five servings a week and for now eat it with fresh, uncooked foods to get the best cancer-protective effect.

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One thought on “Spicing Up Broccoli

  1. Pingback: Broccoli the miracles « Community Care ::: Affordable Therapy Collect

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