S - IS FOR SULFORAPHANE
Are you team "B"? As in broccoli? Everyone always hears how "good for you" that small tree looking thingie is and some potentially were overfed that green veg as a kid. Besides being loaded with vitamins and minerals (calcium, Vitamin C, folate) and fiber, broccoli is loaded with phytochemical called surforaphane (more specifically, broc contains its precursor - glucoraphanin which is converted to the active form with the help of the enzyme called myrosinase. This activation is produced upon damage to the plant like chopping or chewing but can also be produced in the gut by certain bacteria.
Sulforaphane is a sulfur-rich compound found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, collard greens and cabbage of a plant species brassica oleracea.
Its antioxidant, anticancer, antimicrobial, anti-aging, antidiabetic, and anti-inflammatory properties make sulforaphane so "super hero like" powerful!
Glucoraphanin and sulforaphane offer cardiovascular protection via their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, resulting in reduced oxidative stress, improvement in lipid profiles, decreased blood pressure, and improved glucose tolerance. Some studies also show that sulforaphane may protect against UV (ultraviolet) skin damage caused by the sun.
Additionally sulforaphane inhibits the enzyme called urease which Helicobacter pylori utilises to create the alkaline gastric environment it likes.
And one more thing to know about this phytochemical is that it may alter estrogen metabolism and thus protect against estrogen-mediated DNA damage and carcinogenesis (cancer formation) and it
is a powerful liver detoxifier – it induces phase 2 detoxification enzymes (very important for proper estrogen removal out of the body) and increases glutathione (the master antioxidant) production. So if you are experiencing estrogen dominance, try adding some cruciferous vegetables.
*Sulforaphane might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking sulforaphane along with some medications that are changed by the liver might increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking sulforaphane talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications.
Raw vegetables have the highest levels of sulforaphane, so instead of boiling or microwaving cruciferous vegetables, eat them raw or lightly steamed to maximize their sulforaphane content.
Add powdered mustard seeds or finely chopped raw broccoli to the heat processed vegetable to significantly increase the formation of sulforaphane.
There is some controversy about the supplements containing the big S so i usually go straight to the source.
Sulforaphane’s precursors found naturally in high concentrations in the "young vegetables" like flower buds and seeds and their levels vary between species. Since broccoli sprouts have the highest concentration per serving one easy way to enjoy them is to grow them at home.
Keep in mind that the highest amount of glucoraphanin will be present as soon as the seed leaves come out of the seed (usually on day 2 or 3) which also reduces the risk of bacterial growth.
I enjoy them out of container, by adding to the salads, as eggs "toppings", on top of a toast, by throwing them into smoothies - so many possibilities to add this super star to your meals!