In the medical journal Cancer Prevention Research, Jed Fahey, a nutritional biochemist at the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Cancer Chemoprotection Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, described the benefits of baby broccoli sprouts to the stomach.
Fahey and colleagues showed that in 25 Japanese patients infected with the Baby broccoli sprouts , eating two and a half ounces of broccoli sprouts a day for two months helped reduce, but not eradicate, the H. pylori infection.
Helicobacter pylori is a Bacteria that Causes Stomach Ulcers and Cancer
H. pylori is a known culprit in stomach ulcers (peptic ulcer disease), stomach cancer and lymphoma of the stomach. There is a particularly high infection rate of H. pylori infection in Japan. Interestingly, eating alfalfa sprouts did not show the same benefit.
Sulforaphanes in Broccoli Sprouts Promote Formation of Antioxidants
Fahey theorizes that the ingredient sulforaphane found in baby broccoli sprouts encourages the formation of natural antioxidants in the stomach which fight H. pylori. The risk of stomach ulcers and possibly stomach cancer is reduced when H. pylori is eradicated from the stomach. Fahey cautions that his study does not show direct evidence that broccoli sprouts eliminated H. pylori infection or prevented stomach cancers. The levels of H. pylori in the stomach returned to pre-treatment levels when the test patients stopped eating broccoli sprouts.
Alfalfa Sprouts and Adult Broccoli are Less Effective Than Broccoli Sprouts
Alfalfa sprouts do notcontain sulforaphane. Adult broccoli has much less sulforaphane than broccoli sprouts. So there is a tantalizing possibility that future studies may indeed show positive effects of broccoli sprouts on preventing ulcers and stomach cancer.
Another reason to consider adding broccoli sprouts to your diet: other studies have shown that these sprouts contain isothyiocyanates, which have cancer fighting action against bladder cancer.
Hmmm, broccoli sprout tea, broccoli sprout smoothies, broccoli sprout salad, broccoli sprout cheeseballs, broccoli sprout guacamole, broccoli sprout hummus…the possibilities are endless!
Akinori Yanaka, Jed W. Fahey, Atsushi Fukumoto, Mari Nakayama, Souta Inoue, Songhua Zhang, Masafumi Tauchi, Hideo Suzuki, Ichinosuke Hyodo, and Masayuki Yamamoto. Dietary Sulforaphane-Rich Broccoli Sprouts Reduce Colonization and Attenuate Gastritis in Helicobacter pylori-Infected Mice and Humans. Cancer Prevention Research, 2009; 2 (4): 353 DOI: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-08-0192