A new study shows that the common advice to eat your greens to stay healthy is backed by scientific evidence. The findings show that young broccoli sprouts have several antioxidants which can reduce inflammation and protect the heart.
It’s well-known that green vegetables have a high amount of fibre, which protects digestive health, and contain various antioxidants — chemicals that help prevent cell damage, Medical News Today reports. In the new study, researchers from Osaka University examined the amount of polysulfides, compounds that have anticancer and heart-protective elements, in broccoli sprouts.
For the study, published in Redox Biology, the team built on previous research to show the abundance of polysulfide molecules in cruciferous vegetables. The findings revealed that the total polysulfide content in broccoli sprouts significantly increased during germination and growth. According to the university’s press statement, there was around a 20-fold increase in polysulfides on the fifth day of germination.
The researchers also identified several unknown polysulfides with indeterminate molecular structures. These findings show that high amounts of polysulfides in broccoli sprouts may contribute to their health-promoting properties, Medical News Today explains. The findings could help develop new preventive and therapeutic approaches and medicines for neurodegenerative diseases, stroke, cancer, inflammation, and other oxidative stress-related diseases, the researchers said.
"The discovery of the significant increase in polysulfide content during the sprouting process from broccoli seeds was completely by chance and very surprising. This finding suggests that polysulfides may play an important role in the process of plant germination and growth,” Shingo Kasamatsu said in the press statement.
The findings indicate that sprouts could be cost-effective, quick-growing option that can be grown in a small space, Kelsey Costa, a nutrition consultant told Medical News Today.
Previously, several studies have investigated broccoli’s health benefits. A 2022 study by the American Chemical Society found that kale and broccoli microgreens grown in windowsills or under commercial growing conditions are rich in phytonutrients, compounds that are known to have health benefits, Science Daily explains.
Another study published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism in 2013, showed that sulforaphane is released when eating cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli could be key to preventing or slowing the progress of the most common form of arthritis.