Can you eat broccoli sprouts?

In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question, “Can you eat broccoli sprouts?” with an in-depth analysis of broccoli sprouts, nutritional value and the health benefits of eating broccoli sprouts, ways to use broccoli sprouts and the risks associated with eating broccoli sprouts. 

Can you eat broccoli sprouts?

Yes, you can eat broccoli sprouts. In fact, these are considered nutritional powerhouses and a superfood. 

What are broccoli sprouts?

Broccoli sprouts are young germinated seeds of broccoli. They are 3 to 5 days old broccoli baby plants. Like other plant sprouts, they have tiny, green coloured leaves on white stems that are a few inches in length and are still connected to the seed.

Broccoli sprouts have a mild earthy taste, somewhat similar to that of radishes. These are mostly eaten raw to add texture and crunch to recipes like salads, sandwiches, wraps and dressings. Broccoli sprouts can also be cooked and added to a warm meal like curries or stir-fries.

Nutritional value of broccoli sprouts

Broccoli sprouts are a great source of vitamins, protein, minerals, fibre, and phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are bioactive plant compounds that protect plants from the insects and sun but they also have various health benefits for humans as well.

A 3-ounce serving of broccoli sprouts provides:

  • Calories: 35
  • Fibre: 4 grams
  • Carbs: 5 grams
  • Fat: 0.5 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Calcium: 6% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Vitamin A: 10% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 60% of the DV

Just one meal of broccoli sprouts gives high amounts of vitamin C, which is known for its immune-boosting and antioxidant properties. 

In addition, they are composed of sulforaphane- a phytochemical that provides most of the health benefits of broccoli sprouts.

Sulforaphane can be rapidly and easily absorbed by the body, allowing your body to easily take advantage of its benefits.

Health benefits of eating broccoli sprouts

The presence of the Sulforaphane compound in broccoli sprouts is responsible for most of the health benefits provided by broccoli sprouts. Some of them are described below.

Anti-cancer properties

Sulforaphane has powerful anti-cancer properties. It has been found to 

  • reduce inflammation
  • promote cancer cell apoptosis 
  • inhibit angiogenesis, or the growth of new blood vessels, that feeds malignant cells
  • lower sensitivity to cancer-causing substances
  • Decrease the invasion and spread of cancer cells

Sulforaphane from broccoli sprouts increases detoxifying enzymes in our liver that helps to eradicate the potential cancer-causing effects of toxins acquired from food and the environment, thus sulforaphane can combat prostate, lung, breast, colon, and liver cancer.

Improve mental and brain health

The sulforaphane compound from broccoli sprouts may also help fight against certain brain conditions, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, brain stroke, and autism spectrum disorders (ASD).  Moreover, it also plays a role in improving memory. 

Sulforaphane may decrease brain cell death in the case of brain stroke, thereby decreasing the number of lost brain tissue.

In the case of Alzheimer’s disease, sulforaphane acts by protecting brain cells from beta-amyloid toxicity that is linked to the onset of the disease

In the case of Parkinson’s disease, which is caused by the death of brain cells that produce dopamine, sulforaphane protects these brain cells from oxidative stress caused by harmful free radicals. 

May promote gut health

Sulforaphane has also been found to promote gut health and improve bowel movements because of its antioxidant and antibacterial properties. It aids to improve bowel movements

Furthermore, sulforaphane has a potential antibacterial property against Helicobacter pylori bacteria that causes gastritis, digestive tract infections, and stomach ulcers.

Improved heart health

Broccoli sprouts lower the risk for heart disease by lowering bad cholesterol levels and high triglycerides. They can also lower blood pressure as they contain coenzyme Q10, a compound with blood-pressure-lowering effects.

Lower blood sugar levels

Broccoli sprouts can also reduce blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity.

Better joint health

Sulforaphane from broccoli sprouts may promote joint health by reducing inflammatory markers linked to arthritis.

Risks associated with eating broccoli sprouts

Broccoli sprouts germinate in humid conditions, which also promote the growth of harmful bacteria like E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria.

This means broccoli sprouts can be contaminated with these bacteria, posing a risk of food poisoning when we consume them. For this reason, we should wash broccoli sprouts before consuming them.

Another concern is that broccoli sprouts consist of isothiocyanates, the group of plant compounds to which sulforaphane belongs. They are considered to be goitrogens- substances that modify your body’s iodine uptake. This means that eating excessive amounts of broccoli sprouts can increase the risk of hypothyroidism by altering normal thyroid function.

Additionally, sulforaphane has been found to interact with certain medications and limit their effectiveness including ketoprofen, furosemide, and verapamil, which are used to treat arthritis, liquid retention, and high blood pressure, respectively.

Conclusion

In this short article, we have provided an answer to the question, “Can you eat broccoli sprouts?” with an in-depth analysis of broccoli sprouts, nutritional value and the health benefits of eating broccoli sprouts, ways to use broccoli sprouts and the risks associated with eating broccoli sprouts. 

References 

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/broccoli-sprouts#downsides
https://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/diet-tips/broccoli-sprouts-benefits
https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-broccoli-sprouts#1

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.