21—A real live super food

Broccoli Sprouts

A clump of fresh broccoli sprouts sits beside its packet on a table to indicate that antioxidants are important

Holding on for a hero

You want a super food? I’ll give you a real hero: Broccoli Sprouts!

Now, I’ll admit that all bound up in their container, these sprouty things don’t look too dissimilar to a manky mass of hair that I might pull up from the depths of my shower drain… However, this particular type of sprout is in fact the ‘protector of the people’.protector of the people’.

A lot of so-called super-foods have only had their antioxidant activity assessed using test tube methods. These methods have little relevance on how they will react in the cells of the body after it is has been consumed — or if they will be absorbed into the body at all.

Human studies have shown that Sulphoraphane (from Broccoli Sprouts) has antioxidant effects and stimulates the body’s production of detoxification enzymes. It is also highly active at low doses.

Getting into the details

The special ingredients found in Broccoli Sprouts

Glucosinolates — specifically sulphoraphane, and indole-3-carbinol. These substances have remarkable anti-cancer effects. They are particularly good for preventing, and helping to treat1:

Breast cancer
They can increase the excretion of ‘bad’ oestrogen from the body

Prostate cancer
They can arrest the growth of cancer cells


Human papillomavirus (HPV)
They can decrease the growth of this virus which is linked to cervical cancer

Helicobacter pylori (H-pylori)
They can help the body to get rid of this bacteria which is linked to a person’s increased risk of gastric cancer

Broccoli sprouts are baby Broccoli

While they may be younger (and more naive…), they contain anywhere from 30 to 50 times the concentration of protective compounds than their more mature counterparts.

Where to get Broccoli Sprouts from

Your Organic Stores (or you can grow your own)

How to purchase Broccoli Sprouts

They are sold in containers to prevent the sprouts from drying out. Containers are also useful as they come with an expiry date… Sprouts don’t keep long, so eat them within four days of purchasing (or before expiry).

Note: ensure your container is recyclable… and recycle it!

How much do Broccoli Sprouts cost

Around $3.95 for 70g

How many Broccoli Sprouts you should eat

For therapeutic effect, you need to consume approximately 30g of sprouts per week. That’s 1/2 a container per week. Share the rest of your pack with a friend or a family member (nothing says, ‘I love you’ like a bunch of Broccoli Sprouts!)

Note: As I always say, don’t go crazy overconsuming any particular food or drink – regardless of whether it is considered good or bad for you! Please bear in mind that Broccoli Sprouts are a member of the Cabbage family. Therefore if you over-consume veges from this family you may end up with a food intolerance, or you may upset your thyroid gland2.

For more information on food intolerance

Before you eat Broccoli Sprouts

Sniff them! If they are well grown and fresh they won’t smell unpleasant.

How to eat Broccoli Sprouts

You eat these ‘babies’ raw. You could eat them straight — as a snack.  But I prefer to add them to salads.  Or to scatter them across cooked vege dishes (pizza!) before serving them.

Note:  If you’re not a fan of the taste of Broccoli Sprouts, some practitioner grade brands of health supplements have included this super food into specific formulations e.g. Metagenics’ Femme Essentials, and Mediherbs P2 Detox powder. These are available through your Naturopath.

Make an appointment with Lisa

Lisa Fitzgibbon is a degree qualified (2006), experienced and registered Naturopath & Medical Herbalist. She runs her own private practice – OOMPH in Grey Lynn, Auckland, New Zealand.

Lisa has been involved in the Natural Health industry for 16 years. She draws on her professional training and experience, as well as her own personal experience to bring you realistic, holistic health advice.

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