Broccoli is already one of the most nutrient-rich foods you can eat, but if you mix it with certain spicy foods it gets even better! That’s because its cancer-fighting abilities are boosted.
“To get this effect, spice up your broccoli with broccoli sprouts, mustard, horseradish, or wasabi. The spicier, the better; that means it’s being effective,” said Elizabeth Jeffery, a University of Illinois professor of nutrition.
According to a study from the University of Illinois, the cancer-fighting boost comes from the enzyme myrosinase in spicy food. It enhances each food’s ability to fight cancer, but it also ensures that the nutrients are absorbed in the upper part of the digestive system where it’s most beneficial.
The researchers were able to measure bioactive compounds in the blood of study participants 30 minutes after they ate a combination of broccoli sprouts and broccoli powder. During their peak three hours later, the compounds were much higher when they were eaten together than when eaten alone. While most people over-steam broccoli (more than just a few minutes gives you diminished returns), there are still benefits to be had form the combination.
Jenna Cramer, lead author of the study, suggests some creative ways of incorporating broccoli sprouts into your diet, such as sandwiches (remember sprouts aren’t as bulky), or putting them on a pizza after it’s cooked.
Other foods that will boost the benefits of broccoli include radishes, cabbage, arugula, watercress, and Brussels sprouts.