Anti-Cancer Recipes: Groundbreaking News about Crucifers, Another Bombshell

anti-cancer recipe: broccoli dip with raw radishAt the American Institute of Cancer Research’s 23d annual conference of scientists throughout the world who study the anti-cancer effects of foods, a few plants took top honors:

Broccoli was one of them. (Ok, they really didn’t give out awards, but their presentations on research created lots of buzz.)

Broccoli and broccoli sprouts are the best sources of sulforaphane, a key cancer-fighting compound that’s produced by an enzyme in broccoli. In fact, scientists in the exciting new field of cancer stem cell research have found that sulforaphane targets cancer stem cells.

So how should you eat broccoli to make sure you’re getting the most sulfurophane? Here’s the sulfur-filled bombshell dropped by Dr. Elizabeth Jeffery, professor of food science and nutrition at the University of Illinois:

Broccoli is better when it’s lightly cooked, she says. 

That’s because broccoli is “bi-sulfurous,” so to speak, meaning it can swing either way. (I made up that word.) When its enzyme acts on its sulfur-containing compounds, they can get turned into either sulforophanes, which fight cancer, or nitriles, which don’t. “So every molecule of nitriles formed is a sulforaphane not formed, ” Jeffery says. And just a little heat will keep nitriles from forming. 

But doesn’t heat destroy the enzyme, too? Yes, Jeffery says, so it’s a balancing act. Limit the amount of heat. Steam broccoli for 3 to 4 minutes (using a steam basket so the broccoli doesn’t touch the cooking water) or blanch it for 20 to 30 seconds–until bright green and crispy.   

And to get more of that enzyme, eat broccoli along with a little raw crucifer–a teaspoon or even less of spicy mustard or wasabi, she suggests, or a couple of radishes. Tell me: Would you like to try out our anti-cancer recipe for broccoli dip with raw radishes?  


8 thoughts on “Anti-Cancer Recipes: Groundbreaking News about Crucifers, Another Bombshell

  1. It’s coming soon, Mary, in my soon-to-be released e- book, “Eat and Beat Cancer: Create your Own Anti-Cancer Kitchen.” If you want to try the recipe before the book comes out, let me know. I need some testers.


  2. i have just read that adding a radish, or other raw brassica/arugula maybe, or as suggested here, wasabi or mustard to cooked brassicas will help the enzyme turned to turn back to the better variety. how can that be i wonder? but the researchers said it is so;-)


  3. Looks like I’m batting 1,000 today. I had lightly steamed broccoli in my morning omelette….with a sprinkle of dill, and a few crumbles of goat cheese. Yum! Thanks for supporting my cruciferous veggie habit with such good news.


  4. Pingback: Microgreens, Newborn Perfection | Weeds of Wisdom ®

    • Mustard powder gives you the myrosinase enzymes that activate cancer-fighting sulfur compounds and that are destroyed by heat. Adding it to cooked broccoli will compensate for the myrosinase enzymes lost by heating broccoli.

      Mashing broccoli is not necessary. Cutting the broccoli will break the cell walls, thus releasing myrosinase.

      Mind sending along the source of that statement? Thanks for asking.


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