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What is the healthy way to cook broccoli according to science?

What is the healthy way to cook broccoli according to science?

Broccoli, which some love and others don't so much, contains a compound called sulforaphane that has many powers: it's an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and can even prevent cancer. The problem is that once cooked, this special substance is lost.

From this standpoint, Chinese researchers had the idea of ​​finding the ideal way to prepare food and preserve sulforaphane. This technique works, but can require work.

Production and loss of sulforaphane

When threatened, the plant attempts to protect itself by activating the enzyme myrosinase, which is involved in the process of converting glucosinolates to sulforaphane. In other words, the more damage you do to broccoli, the more sulforaphane you have. Well, actually, that's not quite the case.

When broccoli is cooked, especially using methods such as boiling and microwave cooking, there is a significant reduction in the amount of glucosinolates found in the vegetable. Furthermore, myrosinase is also very sensitive to heat, which results in it losing its ability to convert glucosinolates to sulforaphane.

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How to cook broccoli and preserve its compound?

  • Chinese researchers decided to replace the cooking process with frying (due to the lack of studies on this preparation method).
  • After thinking about the damage, they crushed the broccoli and cut it into 2-millimeter pieces to produce more sulforaphane.
  • They then divided the samples into three groups: raw, fried for four minutes immediately after cutting, and fried 90 minutes after spraying.
  • When they measured the levels of sulforaphane in each group, they found that the last group contained 2.8 times more of the compound than those that were cooked immediately after cutting.
Image: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

Details of the study were published in Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry In 2018.

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Write the recipe!

That's all, for broccoli to be healthier, you need to cut it to millimeters, leave it for 90 minutes and then fry it for four minutes. But if you don't want to do all that work, you can eat your vegetables the way you always have. Even with a smaller amount of the special compound, it will still benefit you.

There is also the option of supplementary grains, but according to a 2011 survey, the greatest amount of sulforaphane available in broccoli is obtained when eaten raw – so at your own risk!