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Saturday, 27 July 2013

Fresh, steamed broccoli is best

Broccoli has been a staple vegetable in bodybuilders’ diets for decades.
Not only is this cruciferous veggie a good low-carb fibrous vegetable, but it offers a litany of health benefits. Just some of these benefits include  a reduced risk of cancer, reduced inflammation, reduced risk of heart disease, reduced risk of diabetes, and can even reduce the production of “bad” estrogens.

Frozen broccoli lacks the ability to form sulforaphane

Most of these benefits stem from a phytonutrient in broccoli known as glucoraphanin.

When you chew broccoli, it activates the enzyme myrosinase, which converts glucoraphanin into sulforaphane. It is sulforaphane that actually provides the majority of the benefits of broccoli.

But the processing of commercially available frozen broccoli, which involves blanching the broccoli before freezing it, may inactivate the myrosinase enzyme.

So when you eat frozen broccoli, the glucoraphanin may not convert into sulforaphane and you may not get the benefits of this potent phytonutrient. At least that’s what a recent study has reported in the Journal of Functional Foods.

Researchers  from the University of Illinois reported that in the three different types of commercially available frozen broccoli they tested, there was very little potential to form sulforaphane prior to cooking. And after cooking via microwave, as recommended on the package, there was no sulforaphane produced in any of the broccoli.

Take-home point:

The obvious take-home point here is to buy broccoli fresh. Preferably fresh organic broccoli as it contains more glucoraphanin than conventionally grown broccoli. When it comes to cooking, steam it, lightly sauté it, or eat it raw. Research suggests that steaming broccoli increases its ability to produce sulforaphane. But never boil broccoli, as research shows that this decreases its ability to produce sulforaphane.

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