How You Prep Your Veggies Can Boost Nutrients

How You Prep Your Veggies Can Boost Nutrients

Did you know that how you prepare your vegetables determines how available the nutrients in them are to your body?

It’s true! This is due to the way sulforaphane is formed.
But what is sulforaphane?
Sulforaphane is a sulfur-rich compound found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, arugula, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts. It has powerful health benefits–one of which is to help detoxify the body and even help in the prevention and treatment of cancer.
Sulforaphane, however, is only formed when its precursor–glucoraphanin–mixes with the enzyme myrosinase.
Myrosinase is released from the vegetable when you chew, chop, or cut it. The only thing is–myrosinase is destroyed by heat, and without myrosinase, there is no sulforaphane.
The good news is that glucoraphanin, the precursor, and sulforaphane itself are resistant to heat so they are not destroyed in the process of cooking.
Now, we can do a few things to help boost sulforaphane before myrosinase is formed.

Have you heard of the “hack and hold” technique?

This is how you do it: Just cut or chop the veggies first and wait for about 40 minutes before cooking them. Cutting or chopping releases the myrosinase and 40 minutes is enough time to mix it with glucoraphanin and form sulforaphane.
Since sulforaphane is already formed, you no longer need myrosinase, thus you can cook the veggies the way you want it or how long you want it.
But what if you’re using frozen veggies? Well, frozen ones, such as frozen broccoli, no longer have their myrosinase enzyme. This is because the vegetables are blanched first before they are frozen to destroy the enzymes and prolong their shelf life. Good thing, though, that they still have the precursor (since the precursor is heat resistant).
So what can you do to boost the nutrients in frozen veggies?
Since myrosinase is found in all cruciferous vegetables, we can use the enzyme to add to frozen veggies. One of the best sources of the enzyme is mustard seed powder. Researchers found out that it significantly increases the amount of sulforaphane in boiled broccoli so that it’s like eating the broccoli raw!
So whenever you prepare your cruciferous vegetables, don’t forget to help form sulforaphane: Do the “hack and hold” or add some mustard seed powder.
It’s nice to enjoy your food knowing that you’re getting all the health benefits it can give.
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