Broccoli Has Properties That Make It a Special Brain Food


Broccoli is a beneficial nutritional treasure for the entire organism and especially for the brain, as it protects it against inflammation and oxidation and improves the connection between neurons.

Only good things are said about broccoli, and more good things can always be said about it. If you cut broccoli in half, what you see will surely remind you of a brain, and it turns out that the properties of the most peculiar compound in broccoli, sulforaphane, especially benefit our gray matter.

Improve the Connection between Neurons

Sulforaphane stimulates the development of “heat shock proteins,” which improves coordination between neurons through synapses.

This property of sulforaphane has contributed to studies into its potential application in treating autism since when certain proteins are activated, the behavior of people with the condition changes. In particular, the four sulforaphane properties discussed in this article are indicated in the

Protect the Brain from Oxidation

Oxidative free radical stress in all organs in the body including the brain causes inflammation, disease, and degeneration. The body has its antioxidant resources, but food contains many compounds that help fight radicals.

Sulforaphane is one of them, but it’s no longer like vitamins C and E, minerals like selenium, or plant compounds like beta-carotene. Sulforaphane is the natural molecule with the greatest ability to increase Nrf2 levels, a signal that triggers the antioxidant response in the body.

Nrf2 is considered to be the main regulator of the body’s response to environmental stressors. It increases the activity of all types of protective genes in cells, which deactivates free radicals and facilitates the repair of proteins and DNA.

Start the Mitochondria

Mitochondria are organelles in cells whose function is to produce energy from glucose, fatty acids, or proteins. If you feel tired, it could be one of the reasons that your mitochondria are not working optimally.

Here, too, sulforaphane can increase the number and improve the function of the mitochondria, thereby balancing the metabolism. This property is particularly interesting for the brain, the organ that uses the most energy.

Also Read: Is It OK To Eat Beets Everyday

Reduce Inflammation

Neuroinflammation, or inflammation of the brain, is the cause of many degenerative diseases that can affect this organ. People with excessive inflammation have high levels of a protein called NF-kappa-beta. Of course, thanks to sulforaphane, broccoli reduces the protein NF-kappa-beta and thus inflammation.


Sulforaphane is an isothiocyanate deriving from glucoraphanin that is abundant in cruciferous vegetables, especially broccoli.

Sulforaphane is activating as glucoraphanin interacts with myrosinase, a family of enzymes involved in plant protection. Its intake has been linking to a reduced risk of myocardial infarction and cancer. Furthermore, its effect


Broccoli (and especially broccoli sprouts) is the most common source of sulforaphane, but it can also be found in other foods:

  • cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage, both purple and white
  • Bok Choy
  • Watercress
  • Arugula

Raw vegetables have the highest sulforaphane content: raw broccoli contains ten times more sulforaphane than cooked broccoli.

The best way to cook broccoli is to steam and only for 1 to 3 minutes. If you heat broccoli above 140 ° C, you lose a lot of glucoraphanin, the precursor to sulforaphane.

For this reason, it’s best to avoid microwave cooking or heating cruciferous vegetables. To get the most sulforaphane out of them, eat them raw or gently steamed.

To encourage the formation of sulforaphane, broccoli can be seasoned with mustard, as it is very rich in myrosinase.

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