Broccoli Sprouts: Nutrition Facts and Benefits
Broccoli sprouts are becoming more popular nowadays, however, many people still do not fully understand what broccoli sprouts actually are. People who have never tried broccoli sprouts are missing out on a sweet and delicious vegetable that could truly transform the way in which they enjoy their vegetables.
But what actually are broccoli sprouts, anyway? Would broccoli sprouts be a good addition to your diet for you to add, or might a different type of vegetable be a better alternative? And do you know how to cook broccoli sprouts to retain all of the wonderful health benefits and flavor sensations that these little vegetables can offer?
What Are Broccoli Sprouts?
Broccoli sprouts, as the name would obviously suggest, are simply a type of broccoli. More specifically, broccoli sprouts are actually a very young broccoli plant, that has been harvested at a few days old; where normal broccolis will usually be allowed to grow for somewhere in the region of 50 to 100 days before the crop is harvested, packaged up, and shipped out to suppliers, these precious little broccoli sprouts have barely breached the surface of the soil by the time that they are harvested.
But what does this mean? Why would any farmer want to harvest such a tiny crop when they could instead leave the broccoli plants to grow bigger and get more for their money?
Well, this is not actually the case. Indeed, as such a young crop, broccoli sprouts are positively tiny but the farmer still has to make a profit on the crop and recoup his investment in terms of the seed, and so this means that broccoli sprouts are generally quite expensive to buy. However, this cost is more than justified for the wonderful flavors that broccoli sprouts can offer; while normal broccoli is OK, broccoli sprouts as young plants have a far stronger and more enjoyable flavor! This makes them the ideal centerpiece at any fine dining establishment over a traditional offering of broccoli.
Broccoli is often considered to be one of the standard vegetables that are offered up as part of a meal. After all, there’s nothing particularly not to like about broccoli; it is healthy, low in calories, high in fiber, and overall is highly nutritious as part of a dish. However, broccoli sprouts can offer all of that and more.
Broccoli Sprouts Nutrition
Broccoli sprouts are highly nutritious ingredients that can make a great addition to a large number of savory dishes! Aside from simply being incredibly tasty to eat, broccoli sprouts are also great thanks to the nutritional benefits that they can offer. These nutritional benefits will help you to stay healthy and lead a happy life.
Broccoli, and in turn the broccoli sprout, is well known for being a great green vegetable in terms of nutrition. Broccoli is made up primarily of water as much as 90% of it is water with the remainder of the stem and leaves being comprised of a good balance of fiber and protein. The fat content of broccoli is negligible, to the point that there is very nearly no fat at all in broccoli. Overall, this makes broccoli and broccoli sprouts very good for helping to prevent weight gain; with around 90 to 100 calories per cup, you’d be doing something wrong to put on the pounds when you incorporate more broccoli sprouts into your diet!
But that’s not all. Indeed, not only are broccoli sprouts low in calories and fat and high in important protein and fiber but they also contain a generous amount of vitamins and minerals. Indeed, broccoli and broccoli sprouts contain some of your daily vitamin C, vitamin K1, vitamin B9 (folate), potassium, manganese, and iron. All of these will help you to stay fit and well, promoting good red blood cell counts in your body and helping to keep your body’s systems working at peak efficiency for as long as possible. Broccoli is also known to contain a plethora of other vitamins and essential minerals in smaller quantities, too, and these can be especially potent in an equal measure of broccoli sprouts as in standard broccoli; simply put, by adding some broccoli sprouts into your diet, you will be promoting good health, immunity, and overall helping to support your body’s essential functions.
Health Benefits of Broccoli Sprouts for Combating Cancer
Wait! There’s still more, though. We’ve already determined that broccoli sprouts are great from a nutritional perspective thanks to their high content of nutrients, as well as the low calorie and fat content and the high levels of protein and beneficial fiber. However, did you know that adding a few broccoli sprouts into your diet could also be a great way for you to ward off ailments and other conditions that could impact on your quality of life as a whole?
As well as containing vitamins and minerals, broccoli sprouts are also high in many different plant compounds that can be beneficial for human health. One such compound that broccoli sprouts contain is carotenoid, which can be found in broccoli and contains a number of different compounds essential for eye health.
Additionally, sulforaphane is believed to be beneficial in helping to prevent the development of a number of different cancers. Potentially, there is also the possibility that the consumption of these sulforaphane chemicals could thusly also help with slowing the progression of diagnosed cancers as well. Considering that it is said that young broccoli sprouts contain somewhere in the region of 20 to 100 times more of these chemical compounds than standard broccoli, this truly is a real selling point of broccoli sprouts for your diet.
This potential route of action is further helped by the inclusion of other plant-based compounds in broccoli sprouts as well; indole 3 carbinol, kaempferol and quercetin are all found naturally in broccoli sprouts, as well, which further can help to reduce the incidence of cancers developing due to the antioxidant properties of these compounds.
It is important to note that the cancer busting benefits of broccoli are not fully understood by modern science, and so it cannot be guaranteed that adding broccoli or broccoli sprouts into your diet will help to combat cancer. However, the general consensus at present seems to be that adding broccoli (or broccoli sprouts) into your diet should be beneficial and, if not, it won’t hurt anyway! As such, there really is no reason not to consider trying to add these broccoli sprouts into your diet where possible.
Health Benefits of Broccoli Sprouts: Cholesterol
As well as being good for helping to potentially lower your risks of getting cancer, broccoli sprouts are also loved thanks to their benefits in regards to lowering a person’s cholesterol levels. Indeed, with more and more people suffering from high cholesterol nowadays (due to an ever-increasing saturated fat content in our diet) anything that could help to lower the amount of cholesterol that we have in our bloodstream would surely be a great addition to our diets.
Broccoli sprouts could be one such answer. When consumed, the chemicals in broccoli help to interfere with the amount of cholesterol that your body is producing, thereby potentially lowering the amount of cholesterol floating around in your bloodstream. Cholesterol can have many consequences but the worst is arguably that of increasing the risks of suffering from a heart attack; as such, adding a bit of broccoli—ideally steamed—could be a great way of keeping your heart and blood vessels in top condition.
Important Considerations on the Health Benefits of Broccoli Sprouts
On the whole, broccoli and broccoli sprouts are safe additions to anyone’s diet. Indeed, the health benefits of broccoli sprouts are numerous and highly advantageous however, there are a few people who need to be careful before adding more broccoli.
People who have been prescribed blood-thinning drugs, for example, might find that the increased levels of vitamin K1 may interfere with the drug’s route of action. In addition to this, some people with sensitive thyroids may struggle with complications if they eat excessive amounts of broccoli sprouts at any one time, especially if the broccoli is being eaten raw or after being cooked at a low temperature, instead of a high temperature.
Cooking Broccoli Sprouts
Broccoli sprouts make for an excellent addition into a person’s diet, thanks to the health benefits and superior taste sensations that broccoli sprouts offer over standard broccoli. This is largely due to the fact that broccoli sprouts are incredibly young at the time of harvest, thereby making them more tender and delicious. However, preparing the broccoli sprouts poorly could be a sure way to ruin the flavor and tenderness of these wonderful little vegetables, while potentially lessening the health benefits as well.
As such, if you want to incorporate broccoli sprouts into your diet as part of a meal, make sure that you learn how to cook broccoli sprouts first. Don’t waste these wonderful little vegetables by not cooking them properly; after all, broccoli sprouts aren’t that much of an art form, and are really quite simple to cook once you know how!
Is it Raw or Cooked?
Broccoli sprouts can be eaten both raw and cooked, just as normal broccoli can. Raw broccoli sprouts will have more of a crunch than their cooked counterparts, but the main attraction of raw broccoli is often the more potent content of cancer-busting chemicals and compounds when compared to cooked broccoli. As such, many people choose to serve up some broccoli sprouts raw for these health benefits but if it’s flavor and sensation that you’re after, it is generally accepted that cooked broccoli is better.
Raw Broccoli Sprout
If you want to learn how to eat broccoli sprouts, you first need to decide on how you want to serve the sprouts. There are many different dishes that can be made from these little baby vegetables, and these different dishes will require different broccoli sprout cooking instructions if you are to get the most from this small but mighty version of broccoli.
If you are making broccoli sprout salads, you will usually want to make the dish with raw broccoli sprouts, instead of cooked ones. Raw broccoli sprouts are generally more nutritious than their raw counterparts and work well as part of a salad. However, the flavor of raw broccoli is often not as well-received as the flavor of cooked broccoli; this will largely depend on what you are serving the salad alongside.
Another way of serving up your broccoli sprouts is to consider adding a thin layer of them into your sandwich. Raw broccoli sprouts in a sandwich is a popular way of using these little veggies, and some people may even use broccoli sprouts as an alternative for other less flavorsome sandwich salads.
One final option for serving up raw broccoli sprouts is to consider adding them to your cold noodle salads. As before, these little sprouts make for an excellent and flavorsome addition, as well as adding a bit more color to an otherwise plain dish.
Alternatively, why not consider changing things up a little and making a “power smoothie” with your broccoli sprouts?
Cooked Broccoli Sprouts
If you don’t want to serve up your broccoli sprouts raw which is the most common way of serving them the best way to use them is generally as part of a full cooked dish. Broccoli sprouts and small and dainty but pack a big punch in terms of flavor and this usually complements a large number of different savory dishes very well. Some of the most popular dishes to serve with broccoli sprouts as a side include the following:
- Burgers: broccoli sprouts make excellent toppings or garnishes for burgers.
- Stir fry: stir-fried broccoli sprouts are incredibly popular and are an almost necessary addition to any good quality stir fry, adding texture, flavor, and color to the dish. Stir-fries can sometimes be notoriously bland, so broccoli sprouts can thusly be a worthwhile addition.
- 5 Proven Benefits of Broccoli Sprouts – Organic Facts
- All About Broccoli: Nutrition, Health Benefits, How to Prepare It, and More – Everyday Health