After watching Dr. Rhonda Patrick’s podcast interview with Dr. Jed Fahey (Johns Hopkins University), I was compelled to begin growing my own broccoli sprouts.
Broccoli sprouts yield an incredible chemical called sulforaphane, which is associated with anti-aging, reducing fat, and cancer prevention. (For a more detailed overview of sulforaphane, and how it’s produced with the help of glucoraphanin and myrosinase, check out this article).
With much enthusiasm, I went straight to Amazon to piece together the equipment needed to grow these tasty strands of nuclear nutrition at home.
That’s when I realized what a colossal pain in the arse it is… (haha, sorry Rhonda).
It involves buying six glass sprouting jars and routinely filling/replacing the water inside every 4-6 hours. This is necessary to prevent the growth of bacteria. Cycling the planting process (Jar-1 on Sunday, Jar-2 on Monday, Jar-3 on Tuesday, etc) helps if you plan on having fresh sprouts ready each day — although you can freeze them.
That’s when my interest in sprouts got dwarfed by my disinterest in setting timers day and night. Plus I wasn’t thrilled about leaving sprouting jars all over the kitchen.
So I thought, hey, I’ll just buy organic sprouts from the grocery store!
Not so fast… Guess how easy it is for E. coli to contaminate sprouts when they sit stagnant on improperly sanitized shelves… Super easy. Since I’m the type of guy who still hasn’t gone back to Chipotle even though their diarrhea debacle ended in 2015, I decided to pass on those store-bought sprouts.
Then I recalled something Dr. Fahey said in the interview: Broccoli seeds contain more sulforaphane than broccoli sprouts (which already have at least 20x the sulforaphane as actual broccoli).
I make smoothies every day, so why not add broccoli seeds to the mix and get my daily dose of sulforaphane that way?
Looking around online, I couldn’t really find anything about whether or not this would work. So I made myself the guinea pig and did some experimenting.
A teaspoon of broccoli seeds doesn’t reach the blades, so I added about six ounces of water. That certainly did the trick.
After pulverizing the seeds, you’re left with a frothy cream-colored liquid with a slight green tinge. It smells pleasantly nutty. Not at all pungent, which I was expecting.
Dr. Patrick is careful to remind listeners that the existing research on sulforaphane has only involved broccoli sprouts — not seeds. So she’s openly unsure whether the broccoli seeds would yield the same benefits as organic broccoli sprouts. I suspect she’ll conduct a few experiments with broccoli seeds in the future, and share her results. I’ll update this article if/when that happens.
Until then, I can report no unwanted side effects from personally consuming the crushed seeds. I’ve even had them plain, in just an 8-ounce glass of water. They taste slightly nutty, but otherwise it’s surprisingly easy to drink.
If you want to take a deep dive into the importance of sulforaphane and the Nrf2 pathway as it relates to anti-aging and cancer prevention, here’s the full interview I mentioned:
I asked Rhonda Patrick about whether or not she has tried blending raw broccoli seeds. Here’s her response (dated 6/11/2017):
“Sprouting reduces the amount of anti-nutrient known as erucic acid. This is mentioned in the FAQ at the Cullman Chemoprotection Center. For that reason, I still sprout. Consumption of the sprouts has been studied a lot more.”
Here’s a screen grab of the specific question from the Cullman Center website: