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Broccoli Sprouts Fighting Air Pollutants

This is my third post now touting the health benefits of sprouts, and inspired by a recent study published in the Journal of Cancer Prevention Research.

291 participants were recruited from the Yangtze River delta region of China which is exposed to substantial levels of airborne pollutants. During this 12-week randomized clinical trial, participants drank a broccoli sprout beverage ever day while the control group drank a pineapple and lime beverage.

Results of the study: Participants that drank the broccoli sprout beverage experienced increased levels of excretion of benzene and acrolein- two known air pollutants and lung irritants- compared to those consuming the pineapple beverage. It was also noted that these levels were sustained over a long-period of time which is promising for cancer prevention research.

How does this work? Broccoli sprouts as well as other cruciferous vegetables contain glucoraphanin which produces sulforophane- an effective anti-carcinogen. In other words, when you consume these foods, you are helping your body collect and expunge harmful air pollutants such as benzene and acrolein which could otherwise accumulate and increase your risk for cancer. Yay for sprouts!

Potential sources of these air pollutants:

  • Car exhaust
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Emissions from coal and oil combustion
  • Gas stations

Foods to include: Broccoli, brussels sprouts and cabbage are great sources of glucoraphanin so it would be beneficial to include these into a well-balanced diet.

Sprouting is an easy way to include more of these phytonutrients into your diet. Sprouts are delicious in salads, sandwiches, wraps, pitas, stir-fries, smoothies and other beverages! All you need to start sprouting is a jar, sprouting lid, and seeds (broccoli, alfalfa, mung beans, etc.).

Check out my previous blog post, Steps for Successful Sprouting at Home for step-by-step guidance, a photo slideshow of Day 1-4 of the process and other resources for your viewing pleasure.

Today’s post was written by Kristin Bogdonas, MPH. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist and Nutrition & Wellness Educator covering Mercer, Henry, Rock Island and Stark Counties. She specializes in local foods, seasonal eating, program planning, and food safety/preservation.

Source: Rapid and Sustainable Detoxication of Airborne Pollutants by Broccoli Sprout Beverage: Results of a Randomized Clinical Trial in China. Cancer Prev Res canprevres.0103.2014; Published OnlineFirst June 9, 2014; doi:10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-14-0103.