Updated: May 25, 2020
Many people eat broccoli all the time, but broccoli sprouts aren’t something you see on every dinner table. These incredibly nutritious sprouts are not only an easy addition to many meals but are readily available in many parts of the world, thanks to their health benefits.
What are Broccoli Sprouts?
Broccoli sprouts are the earliest forms of broccoli before they form their thick stalks and recognizable florets. Broccoli sprouts are typically picked when they are only 3-5 days old and closely resemble alfalfa or bean sprouts. However, their taste is slightly more earthy and peppery. It is only in the past 20 years that the value of broccoli sprouts got fully realized. These young vegetables are packed with several unique compounds, including glucoraphanin. This phytochemical is a type of glucosinolate that can be converted into sulforaphane in the body, a rare compound with possible cancer-fighting potential.
Due to the explosion of popularity surrounding broccoli sprouts, and thanks to its unique chemical composition, there are now many different ways to grow your own sprouts. They are also available with natural grocers and health food stores. That being said, these sprouts also contain compounds, nutrients, and minerals that are important for maintaining overall health.
Broccoli Sprouts Nutrition
Broccoli sprouts have a rich supply of vitamin K, but its overall levels of vitamin A and vitamin C are lower than full-grown broccoli. There is a dense supply of protein and dietary fiber in broccoli sprouts, as well as a low level of calories (~35 per 3 ounces). There is no known fat content and a low level of carbohydrates. However, as mentioned above, the main reason that these sprouts have captured so much attention is their glucosinolate content, namely the sulforaphane that is produced.
Add broccoli sprouts to your salads or sandwiches for a nutritious boost. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Health Benefits of Broccoli Sprouts
The most important health benefits of broccoli sprouts include its ability to lower signs of premature aging, slow the progression of chronic disease, boost heart health, optimize gastrointestinal function, boost the immune system, and even lower the risk of autism, among others.
Prevent Premature Aging
The powerful antioxidants and active compounds found in broccoli sprouts have been directly connected with free radical activity and oxidative stress in the body. In addition to the vitamin A and C found in these sprouts, this can help reduce aging by eliminating wrinkles and age spots, while also increasing the elasticity of your skin.
Sulforaphane, an isothiocyanate derived from glucoraphanin present in broccoli sprouts, has been an area of interest in anticancer research in recent years. Studies suggest that this component exhibits chemopreventive potential against certain types of cancer such as skin, breast, and prostate, as well as melanoma, and stomach tumors.
A 2018 animal study published in the Cancer Prevention Research observed that inclusion of prenatal diet of broccoli sprouts was more beneficial in inhibiting the development of breast cancer as compared to postnatal or adulthood diet. Another animal study in the same journal studied the inhibition effects of broccoli sprouts in case of urinary bladder carcinogenesis. It deemed the cruciferous vegetable to be highly promising in this case, thus warranting further studies.
With regards to prostate cancer, a 2018 animal study published in the journal Current Developments in Nutrition associated it with a reduced occurrence of prostate cancer in mice.
Improve Brain Health
Some studies have linked a diet rich in sulforaphane-filled broccoli sprouts and a reduced chance of autism in your children. This could be due to the powerful antioxidant activity of these sprouts, which can ensure normal brain development.
Aid in Digestion
If you struggle with digestive health, broccoli sprouts can protect the immune system of the gut and reduce the presence of dangerous bacteria, such as H. pylori, and optimize the bacterial balance, ensuring good nutrient uptake and digestive health, lowering the risk of constipation, ulcers, and colorectalcancer.
Improve Heart Health
Research has shown that sulforaphane helps protect heart health in two different ways – lowering the level of triglycerides and reducing blood pressure. This can lower your overall risk of cardiovascular issues like atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes.
How to Eat Broccoli Sprouts?
Broccoli sprouts can be used in your daily diet in multiple ways, such as a flavorful, peppery addition to a salad, or as a lettuce replacement on sandwiches and wraps.
Many people also enjoy eating broccoli sprouts by themselves, perhaps with a dash of garlic salt for flavor.
You can use these sprouts in stir-fries, salsas and in other dips.
You can even blend the sprouts into your hummus to give your snack foods a healthy boost.
How to Grow Broccoli Sprouts?
If you want to grow broccoli sprouts at home, it’s surprisingly easy to do!
You can put the broccoli seeds in a large glass jar and cover them with about 2 inches of water.
In the morning, drain off the water, rinse the seeds and repeat this process 3-4 times, always storing the seeds in a cool, dark place.
Within a few days, the seeds will split open and the sprouts will begin to grow.
Continue rinsing the sprouts 3 times per day, but they can now be moved out into the sunshine.
Once the leaves turn a dark green (within another 3-4 days), they will be ready to be harvested and used in your meals!
Radish and Alfalfa Sprouts
Radish Sprouts are extremely nutritious. Radish is rich in nutrients and fiber. It protects the liver, lowers blood glucose, helps you detox, and prevents cholesterol gallstones. It has anti-inflammatory properties and may even protect you from cancer. Other parts of this root vegetable work wonders too. Radish sprouts promote digestion by stimulating bile production while radish leaf juice relieves constipation.
Applying radish juice on your face can have an anti-aging and skin brightening effect.
Who doesn’t love the crunch of radish in their salad? This peppery vegetable comes in loads of shapes and sizes – from the cherry-sized, red-skinned variety to the black radishes common in eastern Europe and the carrot-shaped daikon radishes popular in Asia, there’s plenty to choose from. Radishes are delicious raw or cooked, but their worth goes beyond just taste.
The humble radish can give you quite a nutritional shot in the arm. It’s chock full of nutrients such as vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, niacin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, and folate. But vitamin C is the major player here – ½ cup of radish can give you about 14% of the amount you need daily.
1 Radish is also prized in traditional Greek, Arab, and Indian medical systems for their health benefits. Bioactive compounds such as glucosinolates and isothiocyanates in it may be responsible for many of their medicinal properties. Let’s take a look at what this versatile vegetable can do for you:
1. Radish Is Rich In Fiber And Can Help With Weight Loss A low-calorie vegetable, radishes contain no fat or cholesterol and have a high water content. They also have a significant amount of digestive fiber, which increases satiety and keeps you feeling full for longer. So, if you’re on a weight loss mission, this is the vegetable to load up on. 2. Radish Protects The Liver
Every day, we are exposed to many environmental toxins that can damage the liver. But radish is widely known for its liver protective activity. As one animal study showed, it can help deal with liver toxicity. Subjects exposed to a harmful chemical that can cause fatty liver, cirrhosis, and necrosis were given a radish extract. It helped prevent liver damage by suppressing inflammation and also reduced levels of an enzyme that serves as a marker for liver damage. So include radish in your diet to keep this important organ functioning smoothly.3 3. Radish Sprouts Promote Digestion By Stimulating Bile Flow
Are you suffering the after-effects of a decadent, rich meal? Radish sprouts may be able to help you out. One animal study showed that an extract of Chinese radish sprouts was able to significantly induce bile flow. Bile helps in the breakdown of fats and promotes digestion. Chinese radish or daikon radish sprouts have a strong peppery radish flavor and are commonly used in Japanese cuisine in sushi, salads, and as a garnish. Try it the next time you overindulge!
4. Radish Juice Lowers Blood Glucose
Radish juice can be a powerful ally if you’re trying to control your blood sugar. Animal studies show that it can lower blood glucose. Radish may exert an antidiabetic effect by enhancing the production of a hormone called adiponectin. This hormone is involved in the regulation of glucose.
5. Radish Fights Toxins And Helps You Detox
Our bodies are constantly bombarded by toxins. And for a simple way to detox, just include radish in your diet. One animal study exposed mice to a purified toxin that’s found in chargrilled foods. It was found that mice which consumed Spanish black radish showed a significant increase in detoxification enzymes. Moreover, their bone marrow cell counts were less affected and the toxin concentration in their blood was 47% lower than in the control group. Glucosinolates and vitamin C present in radish may be responsible for this protective effect. 6. Radish Prevents Cholesterol Gallstones
High-fat diets, obesity, and sedentary lifestyles contribute to the formation of cholesterol gallstones. Estimates suggest that 14–16% people in Western countries have them. Black radish has traditionally been used in Mexican traditional medicine for treating gallstones. And research indicates that they may, in fact, be able to prevent the formation of cholesterol gallstones thanks to their antioxidant and anticholesterol properties. These beneficial effects of radish are attributed to two important glucosinolates – glucoraphanin and glucoraphasatin.
7. Radish Protects Against Cancer
Cancer is one health concern that most of us try to avoid thinking about. But did you know that many cruciferous vegetables like radish have a protective effect against this disease? According to research, radish can inhibit cell growth and induce cell death by modulating genes involved in the process.8 Glucosinolates present in radish may be responsible for its anticancer properties. So be sure to include radish, as well as other cruciferous vegetables like kale, broccoli, and cabbage in your daily serving of vegetables.
8. Radish Leaf Juice Relieves Constipation
Traditionally, radish leaf juice has been used as a laxative to treat constipation as well as bloating. Medical research now confirms its beneficial effect. According to one animal study, radish leaf juice increased the stool output of rats and sped up the movement of food through their gastrointestinal tract. So the next time you get the runs, try this ancient herbal remedy. 9. Radish And Radish Leaves Have Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
According to research, both radish leaves and radishes have anti-inflammatory effects. 11 So why is this important? Persistent inflammation has been linked to a slew of health problems from diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and heart disease to Alzheimer’s. And since our diet today contains refined carbohydrates, fried foods, red meat, and unhealthy fats that promote inflammation, it’s critically important to have foods like radish which fight inflammation.12 10. Radish Juice Has Anti-Aging And Skin Brightening Effects Thanks to its antioxidant properties, raw radish juice exerts an anti-aging effect on your skin. It can also inhibit tyrosinase, an enzyme that’s involved in the production of melanin, the pigment which gives skin a darker shade. Phenolic compounds and vitamin C present in radish may account for these effects. So for brighter, smoother skin, drink up radish juice and apply some on your skin as well.
11. Radish Juice May Help Treat Piles
If you have hemorrhoids or piles, radish juice may be able to ease your discomfort. Try drinking around 60–100 ml of radish juice with a bit of salt twice a day to ease this condition. Although this treatment does not appear to have been studied scientifically, it is commonly used as a home remedy and may prove to be helpful.15 A mixture of white radish juice and honey can also be applied to the affected area for relief.16 This benefit is attributed to the laxative and anti-inflammatory properties of radish.
7 Amazing Alfalfa Sprouts Benefits
While the name may make you smile and laugh with thoughts of the “Little Rascals” character, alfalfa sprouts are no joke. The sprout of the alfalfa flower seed is full of health benefits — all while low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals.
In fact, studies show that alfalfa sprouts can combat two of the most common health issues in the world, particularly the U.S.: cancer and diabetes. And those are just two of the conditions alfalfa sprouts help treat or prevent.
Let’s find out just how these flower sprouts are able to fight these chronic diseases … along with all the other benefits alfalfa sprouts provide.
What Are Alfalfa Sprouts?
Alfalfa sprouts come from a germinated alfalfa seed and are a great, nutritious addition to many meals. When the seed germinates, it creates a shoot, which is then harvested before the plant matures fully. Commonly found in Oriental dishes, it’s usually added to soups, on top of sandwiches and with salads.
Sprouts are filled with many of the great benefits found in seeds and actually are healthier because the process of sprouting brings out many enzymes. They also carry more protein, vitamins and minerals, as well as a lower proportion of starch, than unsprouted seeds. The starches are turned to simple sugars and are thus easier to digest.
Sprouting dates back as far as 5,000 years, when Chinese physicians used sprouts medicinally. In the 1700s, sailors discovered sprout’s ability to prevent scurvy, which was the most common cause of death on long voyages.
During World War II, Dr. Clive McKay, a nutrition professor at Cornell University, brought the idea of sprouts into the mainstream Western food culture. During the war, McKay and his team of researchers determined bean sprouts to be an easily cultivated, nutritional food source, calling bean sprouts,
… a vegetable that will grow in any climate, will rival meat in nutritive value, will mature in 3–5 days, may be plated any day of the year, will require neither soil nor sunshine, will rival tomatoes in vitamin C, will be free of waste in preparation, and can be cooked with little fuel.
It’s amazing to consider how valuable this discovery was in a time when resources were low and the need for nutritious food was high.
The alfalfa plant itself also has a long, rich history. We typically think of alfalfa as a plant used for animal feed, but it provides many benefits to humans as well. Alfalfa has a high vitamin content and is sometimes used as a nutritional supplement — and you’ll see why below.
Alfalfa sprouts are very low in calories but provide a number of vitamins and minerals, which makes them a perfect supplemental item to add to your favorite meals.
A serving of 100 grams of alfalfa sprouts have (daily value percentage):
2.1 grans carbohydrates
3.99 grams protein
0.69 gram fat
1.9 grams fiber
30.5 micrograms vitamin K (38 percent DV)
8.2 milligrams vitamin C (14 percent DV)
36 micrograms folate (9 percent DV)
0.2 milligram manganese (9 percent DV)
0.2 milligram copper (8 percent DV)
70 milligrams phosphorus (7 percent DV)
27 milligrams magnesium (7 percent DV)
0.1 milligram riboflavin(7 percent DV)
0.9 milligram zinc (6 percent DV)
1 milligram iron (5 percent DV)
0.1 milligram thiamine (5 percent DV)
155 IU vitamin A (3 percent DV)
1. Reduce Risk of Breast Cancer
Alfalfa sprouts are a great source of isoflavones and other phytoestrogens, which are plant compounds that mimic human estrogen. Studies of consumption of soy foods, which also have high concentrations of isoflavones, have shown positive outcomes in decreasing risk of death and recurrence in breast cancer patients.
The Nutrition Journal also detailed some of the ways nutrition can curb breast cancer, including alfalfa.
2. Minimize Menopause Symptoms and Excessive Menstruation
Thanks to high levels of vitamin K and phytoestrogens, alfalfa sprouts can help women minimize symptoms related to menopause and menstruation. Vitamin K is a blood-clotting vitamin, so it can help with excessive bleeding.
The combination of vitamin K and phytoestrogens has an effect on regulating estrogen, which could help minimize PMS and symptoms of menopause.
3. Prevent Osteoporosis
Vitamin K builds bones, which is why it’s essential in preventing and even helping to treat osteoporosis. The body needs vitamin K to adequately utilize the calcium, which builds bones. Thanks to the growing understanding of the benefits of vitamin K on bone health and ongoing studies that show the connection between bone health and increased levels of vitamin K, the daily recommended values of the vitamin has been increased approximately 50 percent.
Alfalfa sprouts also have a notable amount of manganese, which is also an essential nutrient in preventing osteoporosis and inflammation.
4. Lower Blood Glucose Levels and Treat Diabetes
While there is no cure for diabetes, regulating the disease naturally can be achieved through a diabetic diet. A study published in the Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences found that alfalfa sprouts are a successful anti-diabetic due to their ability to lower blood glucose levels.
Regulating blood sugar levels is imperative in treating diabetes, and using food items like alfalfa sprouts helps decrease the dependency on insulin.
5. Chock-Full of Antioxidants and Other Anti-Aging Agents
Alfalfa sprouts are a proven high-antioxidant food, which helps protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals. Antioxidants promote better health and can prevent a number of diseases and illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease.
A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows alfalfa sprout’s vitamin K levels not only fight vitamin K deficiency, but also help prevent diseases connected to aging (osteoporosis, cancer, artery hardening, etc.).
6. Combat Cholesterol
Alfalfa sprouts are a successful anti-hyperlipidemic, which means they help reduce the levels of lipids in the blood. Reducing lipid count can have an effect on reducing symptoms of coronary heart disease brought on by high cholesterol levels.
A 1978 study done on monkeys showed the addition of alfalfa to their diets reduced the negative effects of cholesterol, proving alfalfa is one of the better cholesterol-lovering foods.
7. Great Supplementary Source of Vitamin C
Alfalfa sprouts on one of the top vitamin C foods. A serving of alfalfa sprouts can offer 14 percent of your recommended daily value of vitamin C, and because vitamin C is water-soluble, we need to replenish our supply through our diets. Alfalfa sprouts are such an easy addition to meals, it’s a great way to supplement your vitamin C needs — which is essential to many healthy bodily functions.
Despite needing more research, many communities believe alfalfa sprouts can also increase milk supply in nursing mothers, aid kidney and bladder problems, and help upset stomach, asthma and arthritis.