Here’s a healthier way to prepare your broccoli

Broccoli is known to be particularly beneficial to health thanks to its high sulforaphane content. Sulforaphane is a natural substance recognized for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. Preliminary studies have also shown that this compound may play a role in blood sugar control and help in the fight against cancer.

With all the benefits that broccoli brings to the body, scientists a few years ago developed broccoli pills that can be used as a dietary supplement. A 2011 study, however, found that eating whole broccoli provided more sulforaphane than taking the pill.

A team of Chinese researchers conducted experiments to find the best way to prepare broccoli to obtain the maximum sulforaphane.

Certain cooking methods should be avoided

In broccoli, there are compounds called glucosinolates and an enzyme called myrosinase. The latter is used by plants to defend themselves against herbivores. This is also called “myrosinase activity” which transforms glucosinolates into sulforaphane. To trigger myrosinase activity, broccoli must be damaged.

The problem with common cooking methods such as boiling or microwave cooking is that they significantly reduce the amount of glucosinolates in the vegetable. Even if cooking takes only a few minutes, the fact that myrosinase and glucosinolates are very sensitive to heat means that very little sulforaphane is obtained.

So, normally, eating raw broccoli would still be the best way to get a high amount of sulforaphane.

Sauté the broccoli for a tastier result

In China, people usually prepare vegetables by sautéing them. The researchers then tried this method on broccoli to see the stability of sulforaphane during the process.

The team used a bunch of broccoli to test the effectiveness of the method. First, they cut the vegetable into small pieces of about 2 millimeters to trigger myrosinase activity.

The researchers then divided the broccoli pieces into three groups. The first sample was left raw while the second was sautéed for four minutes, immediately after being chopped. As for the last sample, the scientists first let it sit for 90 minutes before blowing it up for four minutes.

The results showed that broccoli that was immediately sautéed contained 2.8 times less sulforaphane than broccoli that was allowed to sit.

ʺ Our results suggest that after cutting the broccoli florets into small pieces, they should be left for about 90 minutes before cooking. ʺ, the team concluded. They added that a 30-minute break could also work, although they haven’t tested it.

So, if you want to enjoy all the benefits of broccoli, you can try this technique, provided you are not in a hurry.

SOURCE: sciencealert

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