While many of us are concerned about the damaging effects of the sun, being outdoors in natural sunlight is usually a way of life that’s difficult to avoid. Yes, we can apply sunscreen, wear hats and spend more time inside – but is there more we can do?
Actually, there may be.
Studies have shown that nutrients in certain foods may be able to reduce skin tumor formation. In addition, these same nutrients have demonstrated the potential to prevent tumors from progressing into cancerous growths.
I’m talking about a cancer-fighting phytochemical called glucoraphanin, which is the precursor to sulforaphane. Without getting too technical and confusing, these nutrients essentially help cells defend themselves against otherwise damaging effects of the environment, including skin tumors and other cancers. Source.
Although broccoli sprouts eventually grow into mature broccoli plants that you buy at the grocery store, they contain completely different nutritional benefits. In fact, full-grown broccoli is known for being more nutritious.
That said, the 5-day-old sprout version contains 20 times as much sulforaphane, which is the cancer-fighting nutrient we want if we spend a lot of time in the sun or have skin damage resulting from UV rays.
Furthermore, broccoli sprout extract has shown to reduce redness and swelling due to UV rays and sunburns. Dr. Paul Talalay of Johns Hopkins University conducted a study on this specifically. The researchers concluded that in high doses, the extract could actually protect against ultra violet radiation, which could be particularly beneficial to people with compromised immune systems. Source.
Now you might be wondering… “If sulforaphane can help human cells fight cancer in skin tumors, can it also help prevent cancer growth in other parts of the body as well?”
Currently, there are many studies currently going on studying the prevention of several different varieties of this disease, including stomach cancer, beast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, bladder cancer – plus several other ailments. In most cases, the effects of broccoli sprout consumption are positive.
The fact that broccoli sprout seeds are cheap to buy and the plants are easy to grow makes the idea of starting your own kitchen-counter broccoli sprout garden a no-brainer.
By incorporating a small handful daily into your regular meals (sandwiches, salads, smoothies, etc..), you can be getting a big dose of immune-boosting nutrition without having to buy expensive medications, skin creams or even change your diet much. On top of that, it’s a simple way to get more greens into your diet, along with fiber.
However, if you have no interest in starting your own sprout garden or have the time to tend to it, you can buy broccoli sprout extract in capsule form. There was a study conducted in a highly polluted area of China where people where given a tea containing a freeze-dried broccoli sprout powder. The study showed that people who drank the tea during the 3-month time period excreted far higher levels of carcinogens than the control group in the study who did not consume the broccoli sprout powder. Source.
Another option – apply this antioxidant topically. Dr Sally Dickinson, PhD at the Pharmacology Department at the University of Arizona is studying the effects of broccoli ointments containing sulforaphane. It has shown to be safe to use topically as well as effective as blocking sunburns.