If you guys watch my stories you have seen that I try to get in some broccoli sprouts every night. The reason I choose broccoli sprouts is because of this compound called sulforaphane. Cruciferous vegetables, specifically broccoli sprouts, are super high in sulforaphane. To gain a full understanding of sulforaphane and how it works takes quite a bit of technical science that would bore you to death if you don’t like biochemistry. It’s really easy to get into the weeds while explaining it but I will try my best to make it applicable. .
Sulforaphane is a part of a class of molecules called isothiocyantes. It is the most powerful natural activator of a pathway in our bodies called the NRF2 pathway. NRF2 is the name of the protein and this pathway affects the expression of over 200 of our genes including ones that help combat oxidative stress and inflammation. When we eat and chew cruciferous vegetables, an enzyme called myrosinase is activated to facilitate a reaction generating sulforaphane. The ingested sulforaphane then signals to NRF2 to turn on certain genes that protect us from oxidative stress and inflammation. .
So what does that mean? NRF2 deactivates inflammatory genes and activated anti-oxidative genes to protect from oxidative stress and free radical damage. Chronic inflammation and free radical damage has been shown to accelerate aging so eating broccoli sprouts may have some affect on slowing down the aging process. This can be manifested in many different way from cellular aging and vascular functioning to cosmetic factors like wrinkles and hair loss. A study on beetles showed that when they were given a treatment of sulforaphane, it extended their lifespan up to 30% longer. A different study showed promise in helping bald mice regrow fur after sulforaphane supplementation. .
Broccoli sprouts are much higher in sulforaphane content than any other cruciferous vegetable. It is important to know that to create the active form, the foods must be crushed or chewed so the myrosinase is released to facilitate the necessary reaction. The problem with broccoli sprouts is that they are truly the worst food I have ever eaten.