How and why to eat raw broccoli? / Prophylactic self-isolation series. Day 204th.

two raw broccoli plants on a black background

Overture

Even if you are not a raw vegan, it is good to know the benefits of raw vegetables, right?:) Today we will talk a bit about broccoli and its positive impacts on well-feeling!

Scientific knowledge about broccoli:

Broccoli (Brassica oleracea) has a sulfur-rich naturally-occurring compound called sulforaphane which is known for its benefits to health. Other vegetables, which contain sulforaphane are cabbage and bok choy.

Bok choy, cabbage and broccoli are the main sources of sulforaphane

In a whole intact vegetable, sulforaphane is found in its inactive form – glucoraphanin.

Sulforaphane is activated only when glucoraphanin (inactive form of sulforaphane) comes into a contact with myrosinase – a special enzyme that plays its role in a defense response of plants.

Myrosinase enzymes are only released in a contact with air, in other words, when we cut, chop or even chew the vegetable.

Enzyme myrosinase activates sulforaphane when in contact with air

two raw broccoli plants on a black background
Fresh raw broccoli plants

The process of sulforaphane activation and getting its maximum amount needs some time. That is why it is advisable to let it stay on a counter for an hour or so after the vegetable is cut – the process of activation is on!

Let it (cut or chopped raw broccoli) stay on a counter for an hour – the maximum amount of activated sulforaphane is guaranteed!

Raw sulforaphane-rich vegetables have highest levels of sulforaphane. Cooked, frozen or grilled vegetable is useless in regards to sulforaphane, because the enzymes (myrosinase) would be destroyed by high temperature (1).

Raw vegetables have highest levels of sulforaphane

Some sources advice to steam raw broccoli shortly – you may, but the enzymes will be destroyed partly, not all. The maximum benefit and power is in raw vegetable.

Well-feeling benefits of broccoli as a source of sulforaphane:

  • Stimulates immune system (2, 3)
  • Shows potential in dealing with cancer, including breast and prostate cancers (4)
  • Plays a protective role against vascular complications – heart diseases (5)
  • Shows antidiabetic effects (5)
  • Protects skin against UV radiation damage (6)
  • May protect against brain (nerves) damage and autism (7, 8)

Well-feeling benefits of broccoli as a source of natural fiber:

  • Reduces constipation!

You may find my raw-broccoli recipes here:

2-ingredient broccoli salad

vegetable salad in a bowl with a spoon and plate with cut feta cheese aside The salad “Broccoli meets red bell pepper”

References:

  1. Vermeulen M, Klöpping-Ketelaars IW, van den Berg R, et al. Bioavailability and kinetics of sulforaphane in humans after consumption of cooked versus raw broccoli. J Agric Food Chem 2008; 56: 10505-10509.
  2. Thejass P and Kuttan G. Immunomodulatory activity of Sulforaphane, a naturally occurring isothiocyanate from broccoli (Brassica oleracea). Phytomedicine 2007; 14: 538-545.
  3. Suganuma H, Fahey JW, Bryan KE, et al. Stimulation of phagocytosis by sulforaphane. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2011; 405: 146-151.
  4. Sarkar R, Mukherjee S, Biswas J, et al. Sulphoraphane, a naturally occurring isothiocyanate induces apoptosis in breast cancer cells by targeting heat shock proteins. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2012; 427: 80-85.
  5. Yamagishi S and Matsui T. Protective role of sulphoraphane against vascular complications in diabetes. Pharm Biol 2016; 54: 2329-2339.
  6. Talalay P, Fahey JW, Healy ZR, et al. Sulforaphane mobilizes cellular defenses that protect skin against damage by UV radiation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2007; 104: 17500-17505.
  7. Singh K, Connors SL, Macklin EA, et al. Sulforaphane treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2014; 111: 15550-15555.
  8. Tarozzi A, Angeloni C, Malaguti M, et al. Sulforaphane as a potential protective phytochemical against neurodegenerative diseases. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity 2013; 2013.

! The conclusions drawn and the assessment of the health benefits/risks are restricted to information appearing in the scientific literature.

Images and text © Dr. A. Palatronis / www.z-antenna.com

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