Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Broccoli Sprouts

I am officially growing my own organic broccoli sprouts. How fun is this!?! Allegedly, the process is very easy and we should have edible sprouts in 3-5 days. Year-round sprouts. This is fantastic!

I'm grateful to have Danny home. It's true what they say, with the right mate people DO live longer. We're eating ridiculous amounts of garlic, onions, and broccoli. We are two stinky partners in crime.

Here is a link to an article about sulforaphane explaining how it causes apoptosis (programmed cell death) in glioblastoma tumors (the most malignant and prevalent brain tumor around). I don't know the exact amount that naturalists use in treatment, or in experimentation for that matter, but I figure the more sulforaphane I can include in my diet, the less radiation or further treatment I'll need later.

If you're interested, you can google sulforaphane, and read how it kills lots of different cancer cells, not just brain tumor cells - it's very effective at fighting breast cancer cells too! Eat your broccoli. Seriously. Or, if you can't stomach enough broccoli, grow some sprouts like me! They're delicious on everything, salads, sandwiches, wraps, even pizza. According to Danny you can put sprouts on anything that takes toppings, "bagels, tuna....everything, pretty much."

I just remembered an article from months past that I posted, and I'm going to do so again, below. It's the specific information from John Hopkins scientists stating, "broccoli sprouts consistently contain 20 to 50 times the amount of chemoprotective compounds found in mature broccoli heads." You can read the article here on my blog, or click the title for the actual website.

Cancer Protection Compound Abundant in Broccoli Sprouts 

September 15, 1997
Media Contact: Marc Kusinitz
Phone: (410) 955-8665

Dr. Paul Talalay holds broccoli sprouts
Photo: Keith Weller

Dr. Paul Talalay displays broccoli sprouts.
2100x1585, 300dpi TIFF JPEG, (2.7 MB)
"The young sprouts that we have found . . ."

JOHNS HOPKINS SCIENTISTS have found a new and highly concentrated source of sulforaphane, a compound they identified in 1992 that helps mobilize the body's natural cancer-fighting resources and reduces risk of developing cancer.

"Three-day-old broccoli sprouts consistently contain 20 to 50 times the amount of chemoprotective compounds found in mature broccoli heads, and may offer a simple, dietary means of chemically reducing cancer risk," says Paul Talalay, M.D., J.J. Abel Distinguished Service Professor of Pharmacology. 

Talalay's research team fed extracts of the sprouts to groups of 20 female rats for five days, and exposed them and a control group that had not received the extracts to a carcinogen, dimethylbenzanthracene. The rats that received the extracts developed fewer tumors, and those that did get tumors had smaller growths that took longer to develop.

In a paper published in tomorrow's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Talalay and his coworkers describe their successful efforts to build on their 1992 discovery of sulforaphane's chemoprotective properties. Work described in the study is the subject of issued and pending patents.

A systematic search for dietary sources of compounds that increase resistance to cancer-causing agents led the Hopkins group to focus on naturally occurring compounds in edible plants that mobilize Phase 2 detoxification enzymes. These enzymes neutralize highly reactive, dangerous forms of cancer-causing chemicals before they can damage DNA and promote cancer.

"A comparable amount of chemoprotective activity . . ."

Dr. Jed Fahey examines

young broccoli sprouts
Photo: Keith Weller
Dr. Jed Fahey examines young sprouts.
1500x2100, 300dpi TIFF JPEG (2.3 MB)
Sulforaphane "is a very potent promoter of Phase 2 enzymes," says Jed Fahey, plant physiologist and manager of the Brassica Chemoprotection Laboratory at Hopkins, and broccoli contains unusually high levels of glucoraphanin, the naturally-occurring precursor of sulforaphane.

However, tests reported in the new study showed that glucoraphanin levels were highly variable in broccoli samples, and there was no way to tell which broccoli plants had the most without sophisticated chemical analysis.

"Even if that were possible, people would still have to eat unreasonably large quantities of broccoli to get any significant promotion of Phase 2 enzymes," Talalay says.

Clinical studies are currently under way to see if eating a few tablespoons of the sprouts daily can supply the same degree of chemoprotection as one to two pounds of broccoli eaten weekly. The sprouts look and taste something like alfalfa sprouts, according to Talalay.
Talalay founded the Brassica Chemoprotection Laboratory, a Hopkins center that focuses on identifying chemoprotective nutrients and finding ways to maximize their effects. Brassica is a plant genus more commonly known as the mustard family, and includes in addition to broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, cauliflower and turnips.

"Man-made compounds that increase the resistance of cells and tissues to carcinogens are currently under development, but will require years of clinical trials to determine safety and efficacy," Talalay notes. "For now, we may get faster and better impact by looking at dietary means of supplying that protection. Eating more fruits and vegetables has long been associated with reduced cancer risk, so it made sense for us to look at vegetables.

"Scientists currently need to continue to develop new ways of detecting and treating cancer once it is established, but it also makes sense to focus more attention on efforts to prevent cancer from arising," he adds.

Fahey and Yuesheng Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow, are also authors on the PNAS paper.

Work in Talalay's laboratory is supported by the National Cancer Institute, philanthropic contributions to Brassica Chemoprotection Laboratory, and grants from the Cancer Research Foundation of America and the American Institute for Cancer Research.

Talalay is establishing the Brassica Foundation, a foundation that will test and certify chemoprotective vegetables such as sprouts to raise funds for chemoprotection research.


  1. Thanks for posting this, Jessica. I think I will also try my hand at growing these sprouts. Where did you get the directions?

    P.S. Thanks for the love in your blog post...right backatchya, girl. (:

  2. It's great post! Thanks for sharing!


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