Sulforaphane reduces inflammation, fights unhealthy bacteria and protects against carcinogenic toxins, and it only takes a few servings a month to realize the benefit. It is indicated for the prevention and treatment of cancer, diabetes, H. pylori (a nasty stomach bacteria that can lead to acid reflux and stomach ulcers) atherosclerosis, respiratory diseases, neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s, kidney disease, ocular disorders, and cardiovascular diseases (plaque buildup, hypertension). The National Institute of Health has an on-going study to investigate the benefits of sulforaphane for recurrent prostate cancer.
As mentioned in my newsletter Life Saving Foods, broccoli sprouts have the highest vegetable concentration of sulforaphane. At three days old, broccoli sprouts contain 10 to 100 times more sulforaphane than mature broccoli. Sulforaphane is also found in Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy, Chinese broccoli, broccoli raab, kohlrabi, mustard, daikon, turnip, radish, capers, nasturtiums and watercress. But there is a catch.
Sulforaphane doesn’t exist independently in plants; it must be created through a specific enzymatic process. The enzyme required is myrosinase. Myrosinase transforms the compound glucoraphanin (the inert form of sulforaphane), into sulforaphane upon damage to the plant. So, now you know why you need to properly masticate before swallowing; no chewing, no sulforaphane. It is this compound released upon chewing that gives the characteristic bitter flavor to cruciferous vegetables, and it is this compound that helps injured plants with repair and healing.
If you are using a super green type food powder you need to do a little investigating. Does the powder have sulforaphane added to it? If not, does it contain glucoraphanin and the enzyme myrosinase to break down the glucoraphanin into sulforaphane? If not, then you may not be getting any sulforaphane at all from the product.
Lightly steaming cruciferous vegetable will destroy some myrosinase, and if you cook the vegetable until it is soft most of the myrosinase will be gone. There is still value from the well cooked food, but it won’t yield any sulforaphane. However, you can compliment cooked cruciferous vegetables with broccoli sprouts, mustard, horseradish, or wasabi. The latter three will create more sulforaphane because they are a rich source of myrosinase; the spicier the better as the spice is an indicator of myrosinase presence.
Making your own sprouts with broccoli, radish and other seeds is easy; it just takes a few minutes a day. The nutritional value of sprouts contain a greater concentration of vitamins, minerals, proteins, enzymes, anti-oxidants, trace minerals, bioflavanoids and cancer protectors than at any other point in the plant’s life. Eating them will make you healthier, and growing them will make you feel more empowered.
I hope you have enjoyed this month’s newsletter. As always, comments and feedback are welcome.
Jon Dunn, ND
Dr. Jon Dunn,
Licensed Naturopathic Doctor
Cabbage, kale, collards, radish. Each of these vegetables is packed with a host of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. And they all contain the health promoting disease fighting compound called sulforaphane.
Dr. Dunn's informative and timely book is available through his office or on Amazon.com.
Dr. Jon Dunn is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor (ND) with nearly 20 years of experience. He provides the professional level of care people expect from a primary physician. Dr. Dunn's unique comprehensive systems approach effectively addresses your immediate health care needs to provide long lasting results - Naturally!
The Family Guide to Naturopathic Medicine
Making your own sprouts with broccoli, radish and other seeds is easy...The nutritional value of sprouts contain a greater concentration of vitamins, minerals, proteins, enzymes, anti-oxidants, trace minerals, bioflavanoids and cancer protectors than at any other point in the plant’s life. Eating them will make you healthier, and growing them will make you feel more empowered.
American Assoc. of Naturopathic Physicians
California Naturopathic Doctors Association
Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians
Why You Need to Chew Your Food