Did you know that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has recently classified air pollution as carcinogenic to humans? Air pollution is also the underlying cause of other health problems, including pulmonary disease and chronic respiratory conditions.
According to a new clinical trial, broccoli sprouts can neutralize some of the harmful effects of air pollution. In this study, researchers from Johns Hopkins University, and other institutions in the U.S. and China, tested the benefits of broccoli sprouts in protecting people from air pollutants. They conducted a randomized, placebo-controlled study of 291 Chinese adults in the Jiangsu province of China, which suffers from very high levels of air pollution. Half of the participants were asked to consume about half a cup of a drink made from broccoli sprouts every day for 12 weeks. The other half drank pineapple and lime juice.
Throughout the study period, participants consuming the broccoli sprout drink were seen to increase their rate of excretion of benzene by 61%. Benzene is a known carcinogen. In the U.S., benzene exposure is mainly because of car and truck exhaust, emissions from coal and oil combustion, and evaporation from industrial sites and gas stations. Smoking is another source of benzene exposure.
Study participants taking the broccoli sprout drink were seen to also increase their excretion of acrolein by 23%. Smoking, second-hand smoke, as well as burning fuels like gasoline and oil, are all known sources of acrolein. Known to be toxic to humans, acrolein inhalation can lead to upper respiratory tract irritation and congestion.
How do broccoli sprouts help to detoxify our body?
Cruciferous vegetables like kale, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts contain a compound called glucoraphanin. Animal studies show when glucoraphanin is chewed or swallowed, it produces a cancer-protective compound called sulphoraphane, which activates enzymes in the body that flush out pollutants.
In the present study, the researchers were pleasantly surprised at how quickly sulphoraphane cleared toxins from the body. They noted that broccoli’s anti-pollution actions remained highly effective throughout the entire 12 weeks of therapy.
This study shows that sulphoraphane in broccoli sprouts enhances detoxification of some airborne pollutants. Sulphoraphane also improves the liver's ability to detoxify carcinogens. At 5-6 days old, broccoli sprouts contain over one hundred times more sulphoraphane per gram than the mature plant does.
Broccoli sprouts can be eaten raw. They are great on sandwiches, in wraps or as a salad topping; and can also be added to smoothies and vegetable juices.
Given their ability to get rid of body toxins, why not add broccoli sprouts to your diet today?