Broccoli Sprouts vs Broccoli | The Definitive Guide
Broccoli sprouts have shot to popularity, now appearing at health conscious stores and restaurants. With it have come a lot of questions and confusion about the differences between broccoli sprouts and broccoli in particular the health benefits of each and how best to consume them.
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What Are Broccoli Sprouts?
Broccoli sprouts come from sprouting broccoli seeds which quickly grow into shoots. After soaking your seeds and then thoroughly rinsing for 3-4 days the shoots can be picked. Making them an ideal snack, or for adding into your favourite salad.
Broccoli sprouts are fresh and crunchy, with a taste similar to radishes. Often they’re confused with alfalfa sprouts as they look very similar, but are different in source and taste.
What Is Broccoli?
Broccoli is a vegetable that comes from the cabbage family. The heads of which are an extremely popular vegetable worldwide. It’s a versatile food that’s packed with vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and fibre.
What Is The Difference Between Broccoli And Broccoli Sprouts?
There are many differences between broccoli and broccoli sprouts, including the amount of time to grow, taste, and appearance.
Here’s a breakdown of the top three differences:
Time To Grow - Broccoli sprouts only take 3-4 days to go from seed to fully grown. Whereas broccoli takes between 100-150 days to harvest.
Taste - Broccoli sprouts are most often eaten raw, either as a snack, in a salad or sandwich. They’re fresh, crunchy, and have a flavor close to radish. Broccoli is typically eaten steamed, blanched or mixed into a dish.
Appearance - Broccoli sprouts are small, thin with off-white colored stems and green tips. Whereas broccoli is often the size of a fist, green, and containing many florets, with a thick green stem.
Nutrients - Being at different stages of growth, they contain varying concentrations of vitamins, minerals and nutrients - therefore also differing health benefits too.
Are Broccoli Or Broccoli Sprouts Healthier?
Both broccoli and broccoli sprouts are considered very healthy by dieticians and doctors for containing a variety of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Studies show that their nutrients have different effects on humans and can be used to reduce risks and symptoms associated with different health conditions too.
Health Benefits Of Broccoli
Lowers The Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease - Regularly eating steamed broccoli has been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. This is because broccoli reduces levels of cholesterol in the body. For more information you can check the study out here: Science Direct.
Helps To Build Strong Bones - Broccoli contains high levels of vitamins and minerals, specifically vitamin K. Studies have shown that vitamin K improves bone health, and bone density. Source: NCBI.com.
Reduce Constipation - Broccoli contains high amounts of fibre, it has been suggested that it could help prevent bowel disease too. The preliminary study from published by NCBI.
Health Benefits Of Broccoli Sprouts
A lot of the most notable health benefits of broccoli sprouts come from the fact that they contain high amounts of sulforaphane and the associated effect of sulforaphane on humans.
Reduce Symptoms Of Autism - There was a study (link) that shows a link between consuming high levels of sulforaphane and reduced symptoms of autism. Although the study has shown this, autismspeaks a leading autistic charity, warn against taking sulforaphane.
Here’s what they say: “The amount of sulforaphane that was administered in the study is many times higher than you can reasonably get through food.... this was a very small trial – much too small to assure safety. There was actually a potentially worrisome side effect in the study: Two of the 29 boys and men taking sulforaphane had seizures during the study.” For their full analysis of the trial check it out here: AutismSpeaks.org.
Antidepressant - The chemical sulforaphane that has many antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. A recent study on mice found that by taking sulforaphane it reversed anxiety type behaviour in stressed mice. More research needs to be done before it can be confirmed in humans. Full study here: Sulforaphane And Depression.
Protect Against UV Rays - Sulforaphane is thought to have an indirect impact on the effect of UV rays. The study is complicated and quite technical, but worth the read: The Indirect Antioxidant.
For more reading on the health benefits of broccoli sprouts we would recommend heading over to Prohealth.com.
Which Contains More Sulforaphane And Chlorophyll?
Both sulforaphane and chlorophyll are compounds in food that are associated with being “super foods” reportedly having very positive impacts on health. Therefore if you’re trying to get the same benefits we’ve broken them down so you can pick the vegetables for you.
Broccoli contains more chlorophyll than broccoli sprouts. Chlorophyll is the pigment that turns vegetables into a leafy green color. Therefore by the appearance you can also tell that broccoli is more dense, than sprouts, in chlorophyll.
Broccoli sprouts contain more sulforaphane than broccoli. To increase the amount of sulforaphane you can freeze your fresh sprouts, which can increase the concentration by up to two times. For more information about increasing the sulforaphane levels we would suggest looking into Dr Rhonada Patrick’s work - Video Explainer.
Broccoli Sprouts vs Broccoli Powder
Broccoli powder is made from dehydrated broccoli which is then ground into powder. Therefore it will be highly concentrated with the nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Whereas broccoli sprouts are concentrated in other types of vitamins and minerals.
Here Are A Few Considerations Before Buying:
Why You’re Buying - If you’re buying to combat a specific health condition or ailment then you need to understand what the specific compound is that you need to take. Sprouts and powder are high in different nutrients so make sure you pick the right one.
Ease Of Use - Although sprouts are incredibly easy to grow and require very little maintenance you can’t leave them for days and will always need to attend to them. If you’re very busy and infrequently at home then broccoli powder may be the most convenient for you. Just scoop out what you’d like to eat and not worry about growing.
Price Per Serving - Sprouts are so cheap to grow, all they require are seeds and a vessel for sprouting - making them ideal if you’re on a budget. Powders cost around $1/ serving whereas sprouts are typically under $0.10.
Broccoli Sprouts vs Microgreens
Sprouts and microgreens are often confused. They both start with seeds that begin to sprout but the method and end results are different.
Grown In Different Mediums - Microgreens use either a thin layer of soil or paper towel to plant seeds into before growing. Whereas sprouting can be done using just a jar and water. Sprouting therefore is cheaper to start and produce food.
Sunlight Requirements - Sprouts have the characteristic off-white color stalks, to keep white they must be kept in darkness. By introducing them to light they would produce chemicals to turn them green. In contrast when growing microgreens they are exposed to direct sunlight or UV lamps which turn them green.
Time To Harvest - Sprouts can be eaten within 3-7 days, as soon as you see the sprouts grow they’re ready. Whereas with microgreens you can expect to take between 10-14 days. To have a constant supply you’ll need to plan ahead!
How They’re Eaten - Microgreens tend to be consumed when they’re dry whereas many choose to snack on wet sprouts.
Do Broccoli Sprouts Grow Into Broccoli?
Yes, they can. When growing broccoli you need to germinate your seeds before transporting and planting them, you can think of sprouting as step 1 in the growing process.
Can I Eat Broccoli Sprouts Everyday?
Yes, you can eat broccoli sprouts everyday. Although if you’re just starting to eat broccoli sprouts it would be suggested to eat small amounts to begin with. Adding to your sandwiches or meals.
Should You Wash Broccoli Sprouts?
Yes broccoli sprouts should be washed before eating, in the same thorough manner as you would wash other vegetables.
Should Broccoli Sprouts Be Cooked?
Sprouts carry a higher risk of food poisoning as they’re sat in water and are damp for long periods of time. Therefore we would always suggest buying from a reputable supplier that guarantees their products.
Do Broccoli Sprouts Get Moldy?
Broccoli sprouts can get moldy. Just like all organic food if left in a warm, damp environment bacteria is likely to grow - and eventually mold. Make sure that you store correctly and if you see mold dispose of the batch immediately.
Can You Eat Too Many Broccoli Sprouts?
Similarly to any food, you can eat too many broccoli sprouts. If you’re new to eating sprouts we would not recommend eating more than one serving per day.
Does Cooking Broccoli Sprouts Destroy Nutrients?
Researchers have found that the best way to heat broccoli sprouts to kill bacteria whilst maintaining nutrient levels is to pressure cook them. For the full article check it out here: Science Daily.
When Are Broccoli Sprouts Ready?
Broccoli sprouts should normally be ready within 3-4 days of first soaking them. Regularly washing them twice per day will ensure they’re clean and keep on growing.