Broccoli May Help Prevent Cancer—But Only If You Prepare It Like This

Broccoli is already a super nutrient-dense veggie, but new research shows that it may help prevent cancer when prepared in this highly specific way.

BroccoliPhoto: Shutterstock / Sea Wave

Broccoli has a wide range of benefits including detoxifying the body, aiding digestion and boosting heart health. New research has even shown that it might be able to prevent cancer—but only if prepared a certain way.

The study found that chopping broccoli into small pieces before cooking it helped maintain its levels of sulforaphane, a phytochemical shown to protect you from cancer. Why? Chopping, thus creating more surface area, allows air to activate an enzyme that promotes the production of sulforaphane. Cooking, on the other hand, damages this helpful enzyme, which can lower the amount of cancer-preventing sulforaphane you’ll consume.

It was advised in this study to allow your freshly chopped broccoli to sit for at least 90 minutes before cooking it. If you’re strapped for time, 40 minutes should give the same benefits, according to Dr. Ayesha Sherzai, co-director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Program at Loma Linda University in California.

“The important message in this particular paper is that if you cut broccoli into small pieces, the enzyme will come into contact with myrosinase. The smaller the pieces the better,” said Sherzai.

Broccoli soup can be a great way to consume lots of veggies in a comforting and cancer-fighting way, and to get a solid dose of other vitamins and minerals. Eating broccoli raw is best, but doing a quick steam or stir-fry after a solid chop and breathing session seems to be too good to pass up.

Even your picky kids or veggie-averse friends will love these broccoli recipes.

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Jacqueline Weiss
Jacqueline is a blogger and writer, passionate about sharing the latest in helpful tips and trends in food and cooking. In her spare time, you’ll find her trying new restaurants and experimenting in the kitchen.