Eat your sprouts! And here’s why


The cruciferous vegetables — broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale — are known to contain some very potent anti-cancer factors called glucosinolates, sulforophane and glucoraphanin, as well as having many nutritional enzymes.

But what if you learned that there are other vegetables that contain even greater amounts of these same anticarcinogens?

There are.

What if I told you that you could grow these super vegetables in your own kitchen without soil, sprays or chemicals of any kind — and without even soil? They could be grown in any climate, any season of the year and be ready to eat in about five days. They are the sprouts from the seeds of these same vegetables.

Sprouts are amazing! According to, broccoli sprouts contain up to 50 times more cancer fighting factors than broccoli alone.

When we study facts about sprouts, we learn some very fascinating things.

During World War II, considerable interest in sprouts was sparked in the United States by an article written by Dr. Clive M. McKay, professor of nutrition at Cornell University. He and a team of nutritionists had spent years researching the properties of sprouted soy beans. They and other researchers at the universities of Pennsylvania and Minnesota, Yale and McGill have found that sprouts retain and even exceed the amount of many of the B vitamins by as much as 200 to 300 percent over the amount of those vitamins present in the original seed. They also show a big jump in Vitamin A and an almost unbelievable amount of vitamin C over that present in unsprouted seeds.

While some nutritionists point out that this high vitamin content is gained at the expense of some protein loss, the figures are impressive: an average 300 percent increase in Vitamin A and a 500 to 600 percent increase in vitamin C. In addition, in the sprouting process starches are converted to simple sugars, thus making sprouts easily digested and delicious..

You may remember in our column several weeks ago we mentioned the importance of vitamin D in protecting our DNA. Here also we find similar results.

Epidemiological and animal studies have shown that diets high in cruciferous sprouts result in less instances of certain cancers, especially lung, colon, breast and ovarian cancer, while the study suggests the veggies may also benefit prostates.

Writing in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers from Canada and the U.S. reported that an increased intake of cruciferous vegetables was associated with a 40 percent reduction in prostate cancer risk, with broccoli and cauliflower sprouts singled out as offering most protection.

“High intake of cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli and cauliflower, may be associated with reduced risk of aggressive prostate cancer,” wrote lead author Victoria Kirsh with Cancer Care Ontario, a government of Ontario agency. Sprouts are the most potent stage of a plants life. Indeed they have many times the amount of sulforaphane as mature plants.

Apparently the maximum amounts of glucosinolates were found in seeds germinated for only three days.

But let’s look at some figures of the super nutrition of various sprouts.

Let’s take dry beans as an example:

When sprouted:

Vitamin A content increased 285 percent

Vitamin B1 increased 208 percent

Riboflavin (B2) increased 515 percent

Niacin increased 256 percent

Vitamin C increased almost 1,000 percent

Additional similar figures come from the March 1992 compendium of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

NASA will soon be looking for ways to sustain our astronauts during long interstellar travel. If we want to send superfoods with our astronauts to the planet Mars or beyond, to my way of thinking the ideal food to send would be sproutable seeds.

They would need no soil, require minimal space, minimal water and supply our astronauts with unbeatably nutritious fresh vegetables.

Next week let’s learn just how simple it is to grow these wonderful foods.

Retired chiropractic doctor Francis Trapani’s background includes 41 years of practice plus doing investigative reporting and fitness programs for broadcast media in Hawaii. He has written three books and is working on a yoga self-help manual “The Doctor Prescribes Yoga.” For more information, go to


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