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Broccoli’s Anti-Cancer Effect Enhanced By Proper Cooking And By Eating With Sprouts

January 13, 2011: 09:48 AM EST

U.S. scientists have found that cooking broccoli properly, and eating it along with broccoli sprouts, doubles the vegetable’s potent anti-cancer effect. Over-cooking broccoli destroys the enzyme myrosinase, necessary for the formation of sulforaphane, a cancer-preventative and anti-inflammatory compound. Broccoli powder supplements do not contain myrosinase at all. The researchers conducted a small study involving four healthy men who ate meals with myrosinase-rich broccoli sprouts alone, broccoli powder alone, or a combination of the two. Levels of sulforaphane metabolites in the blood and urine were measured after eating. Three hours later, a twofold increase in sulforaphane absorption was detected when sprouts and powder were eaten together. As to cooking broccoli, the best method is steaming for two to four minutes to protect both the enzyme and the vegetable's nutrients, researchers said.

Jenna M. Cramer and Elizabeth H. Jeffery, "Sulforaphane Absorption and Excretion Following Ingestion of a Semi-Purified Broccoli Powder Rich in Glucoraphanin and Broccoli Sprouts in Healthy Men ", Nutrition and Cancer, January 13, 2011, © Routledge
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