Combining broccoli with a spicy food which has the enzyme myrosinase can enhance the health benefits of broccoli as well as the cancer-fighting power of each individual food and also makes sure that absorption happens in the upper part of the digestive system where maximum health benefits occur.
To have this effect, broccoli can be spiced up with mustard, broccoli sprouts, wasabi or horseradish.
Researchers showed that if fresh broccoli sprouts were consumed together with broccoli powder, bioactive compounds were measured in the blood 30 minutes later. When these compounds peaked at 3 hours, they were much greater when the foods were eaten together compared to when either food was eaten on its own. The blood results were corroborated with urine samples.
A lot of people cook the health benefits of broccoli right out rather than steaming it lightly for 2 to 4 minutes to protect its healthful properties. But this study demonstrates that even if overcooked, the health benefits of broccoli can still be boosted by combining it with another food which has myrosinase. Myrosinase is the enzyme needed to form the s cancer-preventive component of the vegetable known as sulforaphane.
The broccoli powder doesn’t have myrosinase, but it does have the precursor to sulforaphane. The sprouts were able to provide their myrosinase to the powder when eaten together, and both foods produced sulforaphane and delivered greater anti-cancer benefit.
Other foods which will boost the health benefits of broccoli if they are paired together include cabbage, radishes, watercress, arugula, and Brussels sprouts.
If myrosinase is present, sulforaphane is released in the first part of the digestive system, the ilium. Absorption happens quickly and well there, which is why bioactivity was seen in 30 minutes.
A previous study demonstrated that microbiota can release sulforaphane in the lower gut, but with slower absorption happening in the colon compared to the upper intestine.