Why Broccoli Sprouts May Be THE Detox Superfood

New research shows broccoli sprouts offer pollution protection. Learn how and get four ideas for healthy ways to eat them.

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New research shows broccoli sprouts offer pollution protection. Learn how and get four ideas for healthy ways to eat them.

Feeling too lazy to cook tonight? Put raw broccoli or broccoli sprouts (the veggie’s juvenile form) on the menu. Both contain a compound called glucoraphanin that can help protect you from air-pollution hazards—but it gets lost when broccoli is boiled or steamed. Men and women in a polluted region of China who drank a half-cup of juice containing broccoli-sprout powder daily for 12 weeks excreted 61 percent more benzene, a carcinogen, and 23 percent more acrolein, a lung irritant, in their urine, according to a study from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Glucoraphanin works to elevate enzyme levels in the liver and other tissues that increase the detoxification rate for environmental pollutants that we inhale or ingest,” says study author Thomas W. Kensler, PhD. “This leads to faster excretion of these toxins, reducing the likelihood that they will cause harm.” Raw broccoli florets are great on their own, in salads, or dipped in hummus. To get creative with the sprouts, try one of the dishes below from Max Schon, executive chef at Dunton Hot Springs in the Colorado Rockies.

See also Shaved Broccoli Stalk Salad with Lime and Cotija Cheese

4 Healthy Broccoli Sprout Recipes

Salad Recipe

Serves 2
In a large bowl, toss together ½ lb arugula, 1 cup broccoli sprouts, 1 grated zucchini, and 1 grated carrot.
Using a mandoline, cut 1 onion, 2 radishes, and 3 Brussels sprouts; add to bowl.
In a second bowl, whisk the juice of 1 lemon and 1 tbsp olive oil.
Toss and serve.

Smoothie Recipe

Serves 2
In a blender, blend 1 banana and 1 cup of cool, brewed green tea until smooth.
Add 1 cup of mixed frozen berries and 1 cup broccoli sprouts; blend until completely combined, adding more green tea or water as needed to reach desired consistency.

Soup Recipe

Serves 2
Using a mandoline, slice 1 zucchini lengthwise. With a chef’s knife, cut zucchini slices into long, thin “noodles” and place in bowl.
In a blender, puree ¼ onion, ½ tsp ground coriander, ½ tsp ground ginger, ½ tsp allspice, 1 tbsp miso, 1 clove garlic, and 3 cups hot water until smooth. Pour over zucchini noodles.
Toss in 1 head of broccoli cut into small florets and 4 sliced mushrooms.
Top with ½ cup broccoli sprouts, ¼ cup fresh basil, and ¼ cup fresh oregano.

Wrap Recipe

Serves 1
In a bowl, mash 1 avocado with 2 sliced scallions (greens and whites), 2 tbsp chopped cilantro, and the juice of 1/2 lemon.
Spread mixture on a large tortilla and top with ½ sliced green bell pepper, ½ cup fresh baby spinach, and ¼ cup broccoli sprouts.
Drizzle with 1 tbsp tahini, and roll into a wrap.

See also Go Green