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What is Sulforaphane?

Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash

Posted by: Gina Misra | Date: June 9, 2020


Sulforaphane has been making it's rounds in health news. Health-conscious foodies are wondering if it really does everything that they say it does. Supposedly it's in broccoli. But what is it?

Sulforaphane is not a new discovery. We have known about it at least since the 1990s. It was found in broccoli in a study in 1994, as researchers were looking for possible cancer-fighting molecules in vegetables. It's a phytochemical, which means it's not a vitamin but it is still nutritionally useful.

Does it actually fight cancer? Maybe! Scientists are excited about it because it seems to fight three features of cancer - DNA damage, rapid cell division, and metastasis. That means it helps protect DNA, stops cells that are dividing too fast, and prevents tumor cells from becoming cancer and spreading. Pretty impressive for one molecule. 

You can get sulforaphane in your diet from broccoli and cabbage sprouts. Grown-up vegetables like brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, kale, collards, arugula, kohlrabi, mustard, turnip, radish, watercress, and cabbage are also good sources. There's evidence that broccoli microgreens are a good source, too!
There is no evidence yet that you can eat sulforaphane-rich foods instead of cancer medications, but it can't hurt for anyone to add more of this impressive compound to their diets. GreenSpace can help get you started!


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