Updated: Jul 20, 2020
Who knew that these green guys could destroy cancer cells? Not me. Broccoli and broccoli spouts soon became vegetables I wouldn't live without (did I really say that and not chocolate cake?) Why? Their high levels of sulforaphane.
Sulforaphane is a natural compound found in broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy and brussels sprouts. The highest levels are in raw vegetables. Sulforaphane is activated when the vegetables are cut and chewed. To put it simply: sulforaphane has been found to kill cancer cells (not just breast cancer) and prevents new tumors from forming.
"Sulforaphane, a dietary component of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, has been shown to suppress the ability of breast cancer stem cells to form tumors. This means, if you are currently in remission, eating lots of broccoli could theoretically keep your cancer from returning." How Not to Die by Michael Gregor M.D.
As life would have it, a month before I found out I had cancer, I "randomly" came across the book, How Not to Die by Michael Gregor M.D. Aside from the jaw-dropping title (and one not to leave out if you are expecting company), Dr. Gregor heralds the food-fighting power in healing and preventing disease. I originally bought the book for someone I knew who was gorging on high fat and desserts. Little did I know the book would be for me (and now all of you!). Read the Amazon customer reviews. A life-changer.
It was through this marvelous book that I learned of broccoli's cancer fighting power. During my recovery, I ate broccoli almost every day, and it's still a frequent part of my diet as a preventative: the sulforaphane kills cancer stem cells. Stem cells are an important part of the body's repair system-growing skin, bone and muscle. Stem cells in the breast are used for creating milk glands during pregnancy. However, if they turn cancerous they can build tumors. What shocked me the most, was the fact that these stem cells can remain in the breast, even when the tumors are gone.
Even so, there were days I dreaded gnawing raw broccoli. And to force yourself to eat something defeats the purpose. The food is absorbed differently. As I mentioned in an earlier post, digestion takes a tremendous amount of he body's energy-particularly with raw foods. As important as raw foods are, I alternated back and forth with cooked vegetables. Easier to digest.
Remember! In order to reap the benefits of the sulforaphane, the broccoli must be prepared differently when cooked or steamed. Cut the broccoli 45 minutes ahead of time and let it sit. This allows the sulforaphane to kick in before being heated.
And now to those little, but mighty....
In the book, Cancer Free with Food, broccoli sprouts are listed as the #1 Cancer Healing Food. Why? Broccoli sprouts are "incredibly potent killers of cancer because of their unusually high sulforaphane content." 3 day old broccoli sprouts have 20-50x the amount in mature broccoli heads. Broccoli sprouts are good for all cancers, especially stomach, colon, prostate, bladder, breast, liver and brain.
Broccoli spouts are still part of my regime. I eat them raw, but you can also juice them or add to salads, soups or smoothies. Make sure you wash any vegetable first! You can also grow sprouts as seen in this article by Katie Wells. Inside you'll find more information on the benefits of broccoli sprouts, growing, and fantastic photographs too!
According to the aforementioned book, the broccoli sprout recommendation:
To Heal Cancer: 2.5 ounces of sprouts per day (I didn't eat that much)
To Prevent Cancer: 2.5 ounces every third day.
For those with cancer, in my experience many transfusion nurses will talk more about diet (if you ask) than doctors. I met a wonderful transfusion nurse, a breast cancer survivor, who was a firm believer in the Power of the Sprouts. She recommended the Youtube videos by Dr. Rhonda Patrick. Dr. Patrick is also mentioned in the sprouts article link above.
Below is an excellent video by Magdalena Wszelaki, the founder of Hormones Balance, which shows you how to triple the sulforaphane content by freezing spouts.
As we are in the height of the COVID 19 crisis, I know getting grocery isn't easy. Start with growing your own broccoli sprouts. They will stay fresher and potent longer. Lots of mail order kits out there!