Broccoli Sprouts, The Super Healer

Just because you can’t afford to shop at Whole Foods doesn’t mean you can’t have the freshest sprouts out there.  And for a fraction of the price, you can make them right at home in your kitchen cabinet. Hey, even my four year old could do it with some instruction.

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Why Eat Sprouts?

The reason why sprouts are so amazing is that they contain all of the nutrition of a full grown plant and then some. Instead of eating copious heads of broccoli, you can get all of the health benefits just from eating a hefty pinch of sprouts each morning.

With broccoli sprouts in specific, the magic ingredient is something called sulforaphane, which has been proven to have some incredible, knock-your-socks-off health benefits.

According to this article on Pub Med,

“The promotion of health by a diet that is rich in Brassica vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, watercress, etc.) is associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease (52, 130, 189, 276) and a lower incidence in a wide variety of cancer types, including breast, lung, prostate, and colorectal cancer, has been extensively reported in the literature (75, 129, 205, 285, 288).

A diet of three to five servings per week is sufficient to decrease the risk of cancer development by ∼30%–40% (122).”

Strong Antioxidant Properties

Most of us have heard about free radicals and antioxidants, yet we have difficulty grasping a true understanding of what this means.

Free Radicals are uncharged molecules with an unpaired valence electron. They crash through your system like a hurricane to get what they need, causing damage known as oxidative stress, most commonly associated with aging.

In my opinion, aging is the least of our worries! Free radicals can also destroy DNA, cell membranes, and fats within your blood vessels, which can lead to a whole SLEW of health complications if not addressed. Radiation, over exercising, and environmental pollution cause also cause free radical damage (amongst many other things).

Antioxidants (think anti-oxidative-stress) help to eliminate free radicals from the system (as they provide a much needed electron). As we age, the body naturally produces less antioxidants–making them even more important to consume dietarily.

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Image Courtesy http://www.natureshealthfoods.com

Thankfully, the sulforaphane in broccoli sprouts makes it one of the most cleansing and detoxing foods you can eat!

Anti-Cancer Properties

“In 2017, 1,688,780 new cancer cases and 600,920 cancer deaths are projected to occur in the United States. For all sites combined, the cancer incidence rate is 20% higher in men than in women, while the cancer death rate is 40% higher.”(2)

Cancer isn’t as illusive as some of us might think! Just look around, I bet you can think of a few people who have had it. It doesn’t happen on accident. It happens because things may have been going very wrong for some time.

As the statistic a few paragraphs ago says, just by eating brassica vegetables a few times a week, you decrease your chances of getting cancer by 30-40%! That’s ground breaking. Grandma was right, you DO need to eat your veggies.

Carcinogens are things that cause and lead to cancer. Check out this tidbit below about how sulphoraphane blocks cancer causing agents.

The chemo-prevention properties of sulforaphane against cancer are through both “blocking” and “suppressing” effects (2). The blocking function of sulforaphane is achieved through inhibiting phase 1 metabolism enzymes that convert procarcinogens to carcinogens and inducing phase 2 metabolism enzymes that promote excretion of carcinogens (2).

Help To Reduce The Effects Of Environmental Toxins

Living in Salt Lake City, some days, I literally want to wear a mask before I head into the toxic haze. But we have to get to work, we have to get to the store, we have to get out into the smog.

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According to a study done by John Hopkins, those who consume sulphoraphane (in broccoli sprouts), showed greater urinary expulsion of environmental toxins!

Eradicate H. Pylori

After reading, “Why Stomach Acid is Good For You,” I learned that many people suffer from H.Pylori infections which go undiagnosed. It often comes disguised as heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, etc. Typically doctors prescribes proton pump inhibitors and acid blockers, which help you to feel better, but don’t actually solve any problems.

H. Pylori, short for helicobacter pylori, is a bacteria that lives on the lining of your stomach. Normally, the stomach is designed to withstand the incredibly acidic environment. However, when the mucosal lining gets damaged due to these guys (which create a bicarbonate shell to protect themselves), the acid can get into the stomach lining and create stomach ulcers.

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image courtesy of breathtek.com

Personally, I have been diagnosed with H.Pylori. The real pain is the chronic gastritis that comes along with it (in my case), which can lead to gastric cancer. I have to watch my alcohol, coffee, and my diet to a T or it creates a cascade effect throughout my digestive system. The way doctors cure it? Blast it with 3 rounds of antibiotics (anti-life) for an entire month…and even then, it does usually come back.

It’s pretty common too. Two other members in my family have it and I’m sure my son and husband do.

I’d go on a limb to say it’s more likely that someone has it than not, especially if you or your family have done any international travel (my family is filled with folks who served in the Navy) AND they have digestive upset in any way.

You can easily get tested at the doctor for it by a simple urea breath test. Though, I must advise, most doctors don’t have it on their radar. They may look at you befuddled if you ACTUALLY want to resolve your health issue instead of treat the symptoms.

Anyhow, broccoli sprouts have been shown to completely eradicate H.Pylori in 6/9 patients who consumed broccoli sprouts twice a day for seven days! Only seven days. Imagine if you were to consume it for an entire month. It definitely makes me feel a lot better when I remember to eat my pinch.

How Do You Make Broccoli Sprouts?

Pictures first, more official instructions to follow.

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Get your stuff
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Put two tablespoons into a mason jar.
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Cover with water, soak 8-10 hours.
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The shells may have opened a little. Pour off the water. Rinse with fresh water.
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Place in a bowl in a dark cabinet, at an angle to let excess water drain. Rinse about 3 times a day for 4-5 days.
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They’ll begin to sprout…
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Pop the jar into the window when you’re done…They’ll green right up!
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Enjoy!

Making broccoli sprouts is really quite easy. The most difficult thing is just remembering to rinse them (and maybe getting the equipment). Once you’ve got those two things down, you should be golden.

You’ll need organic broccoli seeds, a wide mouth, quart-sized mason jar, sprouting lids (the fine sieve one works well for this one), purified water, and a bowl. I got all of my items on Amazon for a little bit of nothing.

  1. Put two tablespoons in a mason jar. Pour in enough water to cover and soak them (I usually fill the jar about half-way up). Screw on your sprouting lid (ideally the one with the smallest holes).
  2. Soak overnight (or about 8-10 hours).
  3. In the morning, dump the water out directly through the lid.
  4. Bang it a few times on the counter to get the seeds to fall back to the bottom of the jar. Remove the lid. Add enough water to cover (about half way), swirl it around to give it a good rinse and pour out all of the water.
  5. Angle the mason jar in the bowl so that the water can easily drain off. If the water sits in the sprouts it can cause them to mildew instead of sprout.
  6. Place the bowl/jar into a dark cabinet, being mindful to keep it angled.
  7. Swirl and rinse 3-4 times a day for 4-5 days (or more or less, just use your eyes). They will begin to pop out of the little shells. You may notice a very faint almost white “fuzz” like substance here and there, just rinse and repeat! These are the cilia hairs–and they are nothing to be concerned about. As long as it doesn’t smell “rotten” (not to be confused with the naturally occurring sulfur smell).
  8. Once you have a full jar, pop it into a window for a day and let it green up (no rinsing or tilting necessary).
  9. ENJOY! I like to do a hefty pinch in the morning and one at night (about 1/4 cup each time)…but you can put it on salads, sandwiches, etc.

The easiest way to mess these up is by not rinsing them. They will begin to smell more like a sewer instead of the earthy sprouts. If this happens to you because you forget, and it might, just start again. In a few days, you’ll have sprouts!

References:

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