Sulforaphane is a compound that has been found to have several health benefits, including powerful anti-cancer properties. All of the foods that contain sulforaphane are cruciferous vegetables, members of the Brassicaceae family, which means that they are goitrogenic. This means that they may worsen hypothyroidism symptoms in people prone to that disorder. If your thyroid is healthy you should not be concerned about consuming cruciferous vegetables as long as you are not eating massive amounts.
Here are 10 foods that contain sulforaphane.
Broccoli sprouts, the immature seedlings of the broccoli plant, contain more sulforaphane than any other vegetables, inluding full grown broccoli. Research has found that they contain anywhere from 10 to 100 times more of the compound than broccoli. Cooking vegetables containing sulforaphane reduces the amount of sulforaphane they contain, which is another reason why broccoli sprouts are a great way to get it – they are usually eaten raw, while many of the other foods on this list are eaten cooked and often boiled, which is the worst way to cook vegetables if you want to preserve nutrients.
Broccoli isn’t as high in sulforaphane as its sprouts, but it’s still one of the top on the list. Eat it raw or lightly steamed for maximum benefit. Boiling it negates most of the nutrition.
Cauliflower is often thought of as broccoli’s bland, white brother. However, it is high in nutrients, including sulforaphane, and it doesn’t have to be boring if you are creative. It is also a versatile vegetable that is often used by raw foodists and low carbers as a food subsitute. It makes a good faux rice that is delicious raw or cooked. (See Riced Cauliflower as a Rice Substitute)
Brussels sprouts are a great source of sulforaphane. However, most people eat them cooked and, as mentioned above, this reduces the level of sulforaphane they contain. Instead of boiling them as many people do, lightly steam them or saute them in order to retain the most benefits.
Savoy cabbage contains high levels of sulforaphane. As with everything else on this list, the less you cook it, the better. Unlike other types of cabbage, Savoy doesn’t have the sulfur smell that so many people find unpleasant about cooked cabbage.
Red cabbage contains lower levels of sulphoraphane than Savoy cabbage, but has almost as much. Red cabbage is great raw in salads and coleslaw, but can also be lightly cooked in stir fries and other recipes.
Kohlrabi, another type of cabbage, is also a great source. It tastes great raw and is a great addition to raw vegetable platters with dips.
Kale is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat, and one reason is its sulforaphane content. Try adding raw kale to green smoothies, lightly saute it, or steam it.
Collards are also a good source of sulforaphane. Add raw collards to a green smoothie along with a banana and some kale or use a raw collard leaf as a sandwich or burrito wrap. It’s delicious! (See Collard Greens as Sandwich Wraps)
Many people don’t realize that horseradish is a Brassicaceae like the vegetables listed above and contains sulforaphane just like they do. Add a bit of horseradish to your recipes and you’ll get a health boost along with a health boost.