Did you know that broccoli sprouts are a potent natural detoxifier? We are all exposed to environment toxins on a daily basis. The air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink and the products we use in our home and on our bodies all contain potentially harmful toxins. From heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium and arsenic and chemicals such as BPA and flame retardants to pesticides and tens of thousands of other chemicals in our environment—we are exposed to many of them on a regular basis.
Our bodies have a natural way of detoxifying many toxins and usually work well as long as the natural building blocks are in place to run the detox machinery. Vitamins, minerals, amino acids, phytochemicals and other nutritional compounds are essential to nourishing our detoxification abilities.
Certain nutrients/compounds can enhance this process specifically—one of them is sulforaphane. This compound is derived from certain cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kale and most potently—broccoli sprouts.
One study found consuming a broccoli-sprout beverage containing sulforaphane increased the detoxification and excretion of the chemicals benzene (61% increase in excretion) and acrolein (23% increase in excretion).
Benzene is in the top 20 chemicals for production volume. Exposure sources can be car exhaust, cigarette smoke (big one), forest fires and all sorts of industrial products. Acrolein is found in cigarette smoke, vehicle exhaust and is produced in the heating of fats.
Including broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower and especially broccoli sprouts in your regular diet is a low cost way of seriously ramping up your natural detoxification pathways. (The best way to obtain broccoli sprouts is to make your own.)
For more information on detoxification and how to optimize your health, check out my newly updated and revised edition of Body: The Essentials of Health and Wellness. I recommend it to all my patients.