Broccoli Sprouts: Possible Cancer Preventative
Scientists have bred a novel form of broccoli that is
tender, tangy and richer by far in powerful
anticancer compounds than are the familiar broccoli
heads slapped onto dinner plates and platters.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of
Medicine in Baltimore have found that broccoli sprouts,
grown in plastic laboratory dishes from ordinary
broccoli seeds, contain anywhere from 30 to 50 times the
concentration of protective chemicals found in mature
These chemicals, called isothiocyanates, were already
known to be potent stimulators of natural detoxifying
enzymes in the body, and are thought to help explain why
the consumption of broccoli and other cruciferous
vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage and kale is
associated with a lowered risk of contracting cancer.
For example, some epidemiological studies indicate
that to cut the risk of colon cancer in half, a person
needs to eat about two pounds of broccoli and similar
vegetables a week, a goal that very few people meet. Given
the chemical potency of broccoli sprouts, the scientists
said, the same reduction in risk might be had with a
weekly intake of just a little over an ounce of sprouts.
As an added benefit, broccoli sprouts seem to lack the
undesirable toxins found in trace amounts in mature
broccoli plants, particularly chemicals known to help
transform precarcinogenic compounds in the body into
full-blown agents of cancer.
Unlike other products under development known variously
as designer foods or so-called nutraceuticals, broccoli
sprouts are in no way genetically manipulated or