When it comes to eating healthy, we’re always on the hunt for lesser-known powerhouse veggies to incorporate into our diets. We asked neurologist and mbg Collective member David Perlmutter, M.D., what food he wants us all to eat in 2020, and he answered with a resounding (and fairly surprising) vegetable.
“We’ve known for a long time that broccoli is good food for us,” Perlmutter said in an Instagram post. “It helps out the body’s antioxidant function; it helps us reduce inflammation; it helps with detoxification.”
But he’s not pushing regular old broccoli. Rather, Perlmutter wants us to be eating broccoli sprouts.
Broccoli sprouts, at their most basic, are just what they sound like: an immature version of the cruciferous vegetable we all know and love. What makes them different and packs their power is a higher concentration of the necessary components to boost the production of sulforaphane.
In studies, sulforaphane has been linked to fighting against certain carcinogens, and it may support heart health and brain recovery as well. Researchers have also found it can support gut health, rounding out a pretty solid set of benefits that you may be able to attribute to these little sprouts.
Where can you find them?
Broccoli sprouts offer a naturally high concentration of the compounds necessary for boosting sulforaphane naturally, making them a great addition to your 2020 grocery lists. But how do you use them once you have them? While they may not be the same as the more popular bean sprouts that you find more commonly, they can be used in many of the same ways.
Perlmutter pointed out that while you may not see them in your average grocery store, that doesn’t mean you can’t get your hands on broccoli sprouts.
“This is a food you can either grow yourself at home or get in the health food store,” Perlmutter explained in the video. “You can sprout broccoli sprouts yourself in a little sprouting jar.”
What do they taste like, and how do you use them?
Don’t expect to taste broccoli when trying this type of sprout. The less mature form has a strong, slightly spicy flavor that’s more reminiscent of radishes than their grown-up version.
They can be eaten raw in sandwiches and salads or added to dips like hummus and cooked in stir-fries and other dishes. If you do choose to eat them cooked, wait to add them until the end of your recipe so they maintain their crunchy texture
The secret to getting the benefits.
To get all the health benefits of this veggie, be sure you’re chewing.
“The trick here is chewing,” explained Perlmutter. “You’ve got to chew the broccoli sprouts in order to release the enzyme that then liberates, or activates, if you will, the sulforaphane.”
Any other neurologist-approved favorites for 2020?
Perlmutter told mbg that olive oil and fibrous veggies should also make your weekly rotation.
When buying olive oil, it’s important to make sure you’re buying the right kind because some are definitely more healthy than others! And if you’re looking for more veggies to load up on, here’s our cruciferous vegetable guide, plus our ultimate guide to fiber.