Thomas Edison said, “The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.” As healthcare plans are so forefront in the news these days, I can’t help but think what a broken system we have. As I heard a doctor say recently, “What we have in America is a sick care system, not a healthcare system.” Rather than prevention of disease and achieving or maintaining optimum health being the focus, treating disease AFTER it occurs is the focus. Fortunately, with proper nutrition and lifestyle, it is possible to aid our bodies in preventing and treating disease.
Sprouts are some of the most nutritious foods on the planet. Sprouts are powerhouses of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. During the sprouting process, minerals such as zinc, iron, magnesium and calcium become more available for the body’s use, and vitamin and essential fatty acid content increases. These good-for-you compounds drastically increase as the sprout grows.
Broccoli sprouts are high in anti-cancer and beneficial compounds called sulforaphane, glucoraphanin, and isothyocinate. These compounds, respectively, have been shown to help reduce the risk of developing cancer, kill cancer stem cells, activate genes that fight cancer, and help the body detoxify from environmental chemicals. In addition to their impressive ability to fight cancer and detoxify, here are other knock-out punches these green giants deliver to the body:
- help lower cholesterol
- fight and prevent cardiovascular disease
- help combat viral, bacterial, and fungal infections
- improve diabetes
- boost immunity
- improve liver function
- improve blood circulation
- protect eyes from macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts
And the list goes on.
The take away:
EAT BROCCOLI SPROUTS! The levels of these health-promoting compounds are 10-100 times higher in broccoli sprouts than in mature whole heads of broccoli. That’s good news if you don’t like broccoli. You have to eat far less sprouts to reap the benefits of broccoli.
The good news:
They’re ridiculously easy and inexpensive to grow at home. If you’ve ever seen the containers of broccoli sprouts in Whole Foods, you’ll notice they’re about $6.00 for a couple ounces. You can make them for cents per ounce at home.
- Put 2 ½ Tablespoons broccoli sprouts into a small jar and cover with filtered water. Let soak for 8 hours.
- After the soak time, drain the sprouts in a small strainer.
- Pour the sprouts into a 24-32 ounce jar. I use Mason jars or old glass containers. Cut a square of cheesecloth and place over the jar opening. Secure with a rubber band. Place the jar in a small bowl, tilted on its side, so any excess water can drain out through the cheesecloth.
- Each morning, remove the cheesecloth and give the sprouts a rinse, secure cheesecloth back over the mouth of the jar, and drain the rinse water. Repeat this step in the evening. Repeat each day until the sprouts have filled your jar. This will take about 5 days.
- Pour the broccoli sprouts into a salad spinner, rinse with filtered water, then drain. Spin the salad spinner to remove seed hulls and excess water from sprouts. I repeat this step a couple times in order to get the sprouts really dry.
- Then remove the sprouts to a glass container or storage bag, and store in your refrigerator. I store mine in a glass bowl, with a plastic zip-loc bag with a few slits in it sealed around the bowl. I have found this to be the best way to keep them.
- Enjoy your broccoli sprouts in smoothies, in salads, on sandwiches or wraps, or just by the handful!
The sprouts stay fresh up to a week this way.