5 Benefits of Broccoli Sprouts and Sulforaphane

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

It's clear that broccoli is a nutrient-rich and healthy vegetable. But you may not be aware that broccoli sprouts are significantly more nutritious than regular broccoli. 

Broccoli sprouts are a rich source of health-promoting phytochemicals, including sulforaphane, a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that may significantly lower cancer risk.     

Let's look at the health benefits of broccoli sprouts and find out why you should regularly add broccoli sprouts to your diet.  

Fresh sprouts and mature broccoli

What are broccoli sprouts?

Broccoli sprouts are delicate young microgreens that grow from germinated broccoli seeds. They’re the first step in the growth cycle of mature broccoli plants.

Broccoli sprouts are typically three to five days old and look similar to alfalfa sprouts, with their tiny green leaves and white stems still attached to the seed. 

Because of their distinct earthy and somewhat peppery taste, raw sprouts are an excellent addition to salads, soups, and dressings and work great in your favorite green smoothie recipe. 

Watch the video below to learn why broccoli sprouts are the best form of broccoli. 

Broccoli vs. broccoli sprouts: which is healthier?

While both broccoli and broccoli sprouts are nutrient-rich cruciferous vegetables that you should frequently consume to promote well-being, broccoli sprouts are significantly healthier than broccoli. 

Compared to all other cruciferous veggies, broccoli sprouts contain the highest amounts of sulforaphane, a potent plant chemical that protects delicate broccoli sprout plants from damage. 

Sulforaphane has tremendous benefits for human health, and numerous studies have confirmed its potent anticancer, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.  

Broccoli sprouts are rich sources of vitamins C, A, B1, B2, B3, iron, and calcium—and these nutrients are more bioavailable than the nutrients in broccoli. 

Bioavailability refers to how easy it is for your body to absorb nutrients in food. While only 19 percent of nutrients in broccoli are absorbed, up to 75 percent of the nutrients in broccoli sprouts can enter your circulation.    

And, what's more, broccoli sprouts are on our Keto Food List. They’re low in carbs and highly nutritious, making them an excellent food if you are doing Healthy Keto®.  

Fresh broccoli sprouts are easy to find. Microgreens have become extremely popular, and most health food stores and supermarkets stock raw broccoli sprouts. 

If you can't find fresh sprouts, it's surprisingly easy to grow your own broccoli sprouts, or choose convenient broccoli sprout extract or broccoli sprout supplements.     

Fresh sprouts

Five health benefits of broccoli sprouts

Broccoli sprouts are an exceptional superfood with several benefits for your health and well-being. 

Research suggests that consuming sulforaphane-rich foods, including broccoli sprouts, may lower your risk of cancer and heart disease, promote cognitive health, and support a healthy digestive system.

Here are five reasons why you should eat broccoli sprouts daily.

1. Anticancer

Sulforaphane in broccoli sprouts has been researched extensively for its potential role in cancer prevention. Evidence suggests that sulforaphane may inhibit cancer development by triggering apoptosis, or programmed cell death, of cancer stem cells and blocking tumor growth.  

Sulforaphane has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that protect your cells from free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive metabolic by-products that can cause damage to cellular structures and DNA, increasing the risk of carcinogenesis. 

Frequently consuming foods rich in sulforaphane may significantly lower your lung, prostate, and breast cancer risk. 

2. Detoxification

Eating broccoli sprouts doesn't just boost nutrition. It can help your liver to detoxify toxins, drugs, and other harmful compounds, supporting overall health and well-being.   

Sulforaphane helps to activate a group of liver enzymes called phase 2 enzymes that bind toxins to other compounds, making them more water-soluble and easier to eliminate. 

Effective detoxification lowers your cell's exposure to potential cancer-causing substances and helps to reduce inflammation and oxidation linked to the development of disease and premature aging. 

Brain resting above hand

3. Brain health 

Broccoli sprouts have tremendous benefits for brain health. Evidence suggests that people who frequently consume sulforaphane-rich foods experience slower progression of age-related cognitive decline and have a lower risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases, including dementia and Parkinson's disease. 

Sulforaphane is a fat-soluble substance that can enter brain tissue. This study summarizes that sulforaphane’s potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties can protect the fatty acids in brain tissue from oxidation, lower nerve inflammation, and promote neuronal health.

4. Anti-inflammatory 

Broccoli sprouts can help your body fight inflammation, explaining why people that regularly eat cruciferous vegetables have a lower risk of inflammatory conditions, including arthritis, heart disease, asthma, or metabolic syndrome. 

Not only is sulforaphane a potent anti-inflammatory compound. It also promotes the release of Nrf2 proteins, a group of genetic transcription factors that regulates the expression of a wide range of genes involved in anti-inflammatory pathways. Activity of these genes is linked to a lower risk of chronic inflammatory conditions and faster recovery time after illness, injury, or surgery. 

5. Digestive health 

If you suffer from digestive issues or stomach ulcers, broccoli sprouts are an excellent choice to support your digestive health. 

Sulforaphane is a potent antimicrobial substance that can directly inhibit the growth and survival of H. pylori, gastric bacteria that cause gastritis and stomach ulcers and may trigger symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).  

Regularly eating broccoli sprouts has been found to promote healthy bowel movements and may prevent constipation. Healthy bowel movements promote the diversity of beneficial gut bacteria linked to lower colon cancer risk, improved immune system function, and healthy detoxification. 

Brain resting above hand

Key takeaways

Broccoli sprouts are a superfood that supports digestive health, stimulates detoxification, and may significantly lower the risk of prostate, breast, and lung cancer.

These impressive health benefits are due to broccoli sprout's incredibly high amounts of sulforaphane, a health-promoting phytochemical with potent anticancer, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Broccoli sprouts are a tasty and versatile ingredient that works well in salads, smoothies, dressings, and stir-fries. Most supermarkets stock these microgreens, but it also is surprisingly easy to grow broccoli sprouts at home.


1. Are broccoli sprouts a superfood?

Yes, broccoli sprouts are a superfood. They contain vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids and are one of the richest sources of sulforaphane on the planet. 

Eating broccoli sprouts may lower your cancer risk, support brain health, and promote a healthy digestive system. 

2. Can I eat broccoli sprouts every day?

Yes, it’s safe to eat broccoli sprouts daily. Research confirms that daily consumption of broccoli sprouts is generally well tolerated, causes no adverse health effects, and is an excellent source of nutrition. 

Broccoli sprouts can be eaten raw, lightly steamed, or sauteed and are a tasty addition to green smoothies.    

3. Are broccoli sprouts healthier than broccoli?

Broccoli sprouts contain up to 50 times more sulforaphane than broccoli and Brussels sprouts. 

Broccoli sprouts also have a higher bioavailability, meaning that up to 75 percent of their nutrients are absorbed. In contrast, only around 19 percent of broccoli’s nutrient content enters the circulation.     

4. Are broccoli sprouts dangerous to eat raw? 

Eating raw sprouts isn’t dangerous, but it’s recommended to rinse broccoli sprouts thoroughly to avoid food poisoning. 

Sprouting requires humidity and warm temperatures. Unfortunately, these conditions also are a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, including listeria and salmonella.

5. Are broccoli sprouts Healthy Keto®-approved?

Yes. Broccoli sprouts are low-carb and highly nutritious, making them an excellent food if you are doing Healthy Keto.


6. Should I eat broccoli sprouts cooked or raw?

You can enjoy broccoli sprouts raw or lightly cooked. Light steaming or sauteing is best and won’t destroy heat-sensitive nutrients, including sulforaphane. 


7. How many carbs are in broccoli sprouts?

A typical three-ounce serving of broccoli sprouts contains 1 gram of net carbs, making broccoli sprouts a keto-approved superfood.  


8. What are the health benefits of broccoli sprouts?

Regularly eating broccoli sprouts can significantly lower your risk of breast and prostate cancer, supports cognitive health, helps your liver to detoxify, and promotes a healthy digestive system. 

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