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This Combination May Boost Benefits of Broccoli

A new study from the University of Illinois found that a combination of broccoli powder and broccoli sprouts may increase our body's absorption of a compound in broccoli called sulforaphane. The study was published in the January 2011 issue of the journal Nutrition and Cancer.

Sulforaphane is a natural compound that is associated with anti-cancer and anti-diabetic benefits. It is produced when our bodies metabolize active plant chemicals called glucosinolates. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts contain high levels of glucosinolates.

For the study the researchers had four subjects consume four dry cereal and yogurt meals. Each meal was supplemented with either 2 grams of broccoli sprouts, 2 grams of broccoli powder, a combination of both or neither.

The meals were consumed on different days with a 2-3 day washout period between each meal. The researchers found that the combination meal resulted in the fastest absorption of sulforaphane and the highest total absorption overall.

These findings suggest that combining broccoli sprouts and broccoli powder may be a way to increase the level of sulforaphane in the body, providing more of the health benefits associated with it.

These benefits include protection against diabetes, supporting the immune system and reducing the risk of certain cancers including prostate and breast cancer.

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