Broccoli Sprout Powder (Benefits & How to Use)
Broccoli sprout powder is made from dried and ground broccoli sprouts. There are some compounds in broccoli sprouts that may help prevent cancer. But, what are the benefits of broccoli sprout powder and how do you use it? This article shares everything you need to know about this superfood product.
What are broccoli sprouts?
Broccoli sprouts are very young broccoli plants. Classed as microgreens, they sprout from broccoli seeds and can be eaten raw. Like fully grown broccoli heads, the sprouts are very nutritious – but what makes them special is that they contain more glucoraphanin and sulforaphane than mature broccoli.
Glucoraphanin is a powerful antioxidant that is converted by the microflora (good bacteria) in our body into a compound called sulforaphane. And this is where things get really interesting, because sulforaphane has been shown to offer significant protection against cancer.
How sulforaphane may protect against cancer
Scientists offer a few different reasons as to how sulforaphane from cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and broccoli sprouts may be protective against cancer.
- By neutralizing toxins in the body (this is a feature of all antioxidants),
- Calming inflammation in the body – chronic inflammation has been linked to certain kinds of cancers,
- And, by potentially slowing the rate at which tumors grow, or stopping them from spreading elsewhere in the body.
There are even studies to suggest that sulforaphane may prevent the disruption to DNA that can sometimes lead to cancer.
Sulforaphane can help prevent other conditions too. Recent research revealed that it may be even more effective in treating stomach ulcers than antibiotics.
A separate study indicated that sulforaphane may also be useful in treating mental health problems. This is because it can reduce levels of glutamate in the body – a compound that has been linked to conditions like stress, depression, bipolar disorder, and even schizophrenia.
In addition to glucoraphanin, broccoli sprouts contain many other useful nutrients. These include fiber, protein, calcium, and iron, plus vitamins A and C.
Potential risks of consuming broccoli sprouts
As with all sprouts, the germination of broccoli sprouts needs a certain amount of humidity. The problem is that humid conditions can also lead to the growth of “bad” bacteria, including E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria monocytogenes. These bacteria can, in turn, lead to food poisoning, particularly in people with weakened immune systems.
For this reason, medical experts recommend cooking broccoli sprouts for anyone at high risk of food poisoning. Unfortunately, this process will destroy some of their health benefits.
See my step-by-step guide for how to grow broccoli sprouts at home.
There is also a small risk that consuming broccoli sprouts can lead to hypothyroidism. This is because broccoli sprouts contain goitrogens – compounds that disrupt the normal function of the thyroid gland. Still, the risk seems to be relatively small. Research published in 2016 showed that the typical serving sizes of sprouts and other Brassica vegetables were very unlikely to impair thyroid function. The study also concluded that the protective benefits of sprouts against cancer outweighed the risk of thyroid issues.
Finally, it is possible that eating broccoli sprouts can stop certain drugs from working properly. These include furosemide, verapamil, and ketoprofen. If you take any of these medications, then you should speak to a health professional before consuming broccoli sprouts in any form.
What is broccoli sprout powder and how is it made?
Broccoli sprout powder is a great way to get all the benefits of raw broccoli sprouts in a convenient, easy-to-use form. It is available in capsules, or as a powder that you can mix into other foods or use in your recipes.
The powder is made by sprouting the seeds for between 4 to 7 days, until their cell walls crack. They are then freeze-dried, which keeps in their all-important nutrients. Finally, they are ground into a powder.
Reputable manufacturers will not use heat in the process, so you can be confident that you are getting all the benefits of the raw sprouts. They will also test the glucoraphanin content of the finished product and ensure that the enzyme myrosinase is present and active. It is this enzyme that converts the glucoraphanin to sulforaphane once you consume it.
Advantages of broccoli sprout powder vs raw broccoli sprouts
It may not always be easy to get hold of fresh broccoli sprouts in your area, so broccoli sprout powder – which can be ordered online – is the perfect alternative. Properly stored, it will last for many months, so it is easy to keep a supply on hand throughout the year. See my list of the recommended brands of broccoli sprout powder below.
It is possible to grow your own broccoli sprouts at home, but they require quite a lot of care. This includes daily soaking and draining, which may be difficult to fit into a busy lifestyle (see how to grow broccoli sprouts). Using broccoli sprout powder makes it a lot easier to get the many nutritious benefits of broccoli sprouts, without all the fuss!
What’s more, broccoli sprout powder is convenient to use. And most importantly, it eliminates the risk of food poisoning associated with raw sprouts. This means it is ideal for people with weakened immune systems, who would otherwise need to cook sprouts before eating them.
Best broccoli sprout powders
There are quite a few quality broccoli sprout powders on the market. Here are a few favorite brands.
- KOYAH is a great brand to consider. This organic broccoli sprout powder is easy to use and has been tested for active Myrosinase and Sulforaphane activity.
2. Food to Live also offers an organic broccoli sprout powder. This product is made in the United States.
3. Source Naturals offers a broccoli sprout extract in a capsule form. The capsules make it easy if you’re traveling or too busy to mess with powders.
4. Broccoli seed extract from Thorne may be an option if you are just looking for antioxidant support.
How can you use broccoli sprout powder?
The wonderful thing about broccoli sprout powder is that it is so easy to incorporate into your daily menu.
Here are some ideas:
- Combine it with your favorite fruits and vegetables in a blender to create creamy smoothies (see my Broccoli Sprout Smoothie or my entire list of Cancer Fighting Smoothies),
- Stir it into soups, stews, or casseroles,
- Sprinkle it over salad,
- Add it to your oatmeal,
- Mix it into pasta sauces,
- Use in baked goods,
- Add to homemade hummus or dips.
You can see my entire article with suggestions for how to eat broccoli sprouts.
Tip: For the maximum health benefits, add broccoli sprout powder to hot dishes at the end of their cooking time. This may help preserve the powder’s valuable nutrients.
The proven benefits of broccoli sprouts make these microgreens an excellent addition to a healthy diet. While fresh sprouts are great enjoyed in sandwiches or on a salad, they are not always easy to get hold of – or you may struggle to eat enough for maximum health benefits. Broccoli sprout powder is the perfect solution – it’s easy to consume on a daily basis and there are all kinds of delicious and creative ways in which you can use it.