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Biggest Nutrition Bang for Your Buck

Growing your own broccoli sprouts is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve one’s diet.

March 22, 2012 |
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Transcript

A few years ago in an analysis of antioxidants per unit cost, I concluded that red cabbage—purple cabbage was the most nutrition you could get for your money. Yes, there are healthier foods out there, but not healthier foods for the same amount of money. I encouraged everyone to always make sure they have a purple cabbage in their crisper and slice off shreds for whatever need, lasts for weeks, cheap convenient and one of the healthiest thigns on the planet. All still absolutely true. My new calculations, though, suggest they just got one-upped by… DIY broccoli sprouts, do it yourself.
Broccoli sprout seeds start out like this, you can buy them online or at your local healthfood store in bulk for about 20 bucks a pound, but that makes about 75 cups of spouts so it comes out to be about 25 cents a cup. And as we saw before, in terms of sulphuraphane content, that’s equivalent to eating about 27 cups of broccoli, so that’s like going to the store and buying broccoli for a penny a cup. Even purple cabbage has got to give it up for broccoli sprouts.
Start with a mason jar with some kind of screen top. Tablespon of seeds, soak over night, drain in the morning, and then rinse twice a day. So day two, day 3, day 4 and only then can you enjoy the bounty—1 tablespoon of seeds makes about two cups of sprouts. Sometimes I’ll have 5 jars in constant rotation. Can be the middle of winter and I’m growing my own salad. Every day, you get cups of fresh produce without ever having to go to the store.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

To help out on the site please email volunteer@nutritionfacts.org

Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Superfood Bargains is the video I refer to that previously held up purple cabbage as the most one could get for one's money. Another good cost-saving tip can be found in Are Goji Berries Good For You?. For why broccoli sprouts are so good for you, check out my videos Broccoli Versus Breast Cancer Stem Cells,Sulforaphane: From Broccoli to Breast, and The Best Detox. My other recipes can be found in these videos and check out the topic word cloud for hundreds of other videos on more than a thousand subjects.

For some context, please check out my associated blog posts: The Best DetoxAre Microgreens Healthier?Uric Acid From Meat and Sugar, and Best Nutrition Bang for Your Buck

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

    Superfood Bargains is the video I refer to that previously held up purple cabbage as the most one could get for one’s money. Another good cost-saving tip can be found in Are Goji Berries Good For You?. For why broccoli sprouts are so good for you, check out my videos Broccoli Versus Breast Cancer Stem Cells, Sulforaphane: From Broccoli to Breast, and The Best Detox. My other recipes can be found in these videos and check out the topic word cloud for hundreds of other videos on more than a thousand subjects.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/KarenLaVine/ Karen LaVine

    I sure want to try this, but I’m concerned about possible contamination of the seeds like what can happen to alfalfa sprouts. Why are broccoli seeds safe to sprout but not alfalfa seeds?

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/jessica/ Jessica

      I avoid sprouts generally because of risk of salmonella and e. coli contamination, and I had the same question. Based on your previous videos, I don’t think that cooking the broccoli sprouts is probably an ideal solution. Do you have other suggestions?

      • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

        Please see my response to stacy7272 below

        • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/PatrickMcNerthney/ Patrick McNerthney

          What about home sprouted Clover seeds?

        • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/maybush1/ maybush1

          My broccoli sprouts became very moldy with white cobwebby-like filaments all over the bottle after about 4-5 days of sprouting. I made sure I rinsed and drained properly and 2 times a day, but no luck! What could possibly be wrong? And is this mold harmful? I’m worried now about other batches I have!! No mention was given about refrigerating or how quickly to consume, so I’m at a loss…

          • maybush1

            I’m not sure why it had happened, but everything is working out fine now. I’ve been adding 1Tbsp of seed to the jar now, instead of 2Tbsp. I’m not sure if that helps.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/hemodynamic/ HemoDynamic

    Fantastic Useful video!! Cheap, easy, tasty!

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/bethjohnson/ BethJohnson

    Is it best to chop them up and let sit awhile to allow enzymes time to activate the Sulforaphane?

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/thea/ Thea

      BethJohnson: I may not understand correctly, but if I do, then the answer to your question is: if you are going to eat the sprouts raw, then you don’t have to chop them up and wait before eating. However, if you plan on cooking them, then you do–IF you care about the anti-cancer fighting.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/cbaileymd/ CBaileyMD

    Great motivational reminder to get my sprouting stuff out and use it! Love the stats.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/thea/ Thea

    I’m going to do it too!

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/stacy7272/ stacy7272

    I, too, have the question about contamination. I never buy sprouts because they might be contaminated. I actuallly have purchased many seeds to sprout already and then I read that sometimes the contamination happens to the seed. Is there the same risk of conatmination when you grow your own sprouts? Are all sprouts equally suseptible to contamination or is alfalfa more suseptible?

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/auntyval/ AuntyVal

    I’ve read that seeds should be rinsed with bleach before sprouting to kill the bacteria. I don’t want to do that, therefore I have lots of unused seeds. Do you know of a safer alternative?

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/jms/ jms

    Broccoli sprouts are more cost effective than amla?

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/elvin/ Elvin

    I seek confirmation for my hope that cooking does not elmiminate the antioxidants in purple cabbage. That’s how I eat it, cooked, about 100 grams of it mixed with other things that are steamed.

    (I’m glad it’s so cheap in the US; that is not necessarily the case elsewhere.)

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/toxins/ Toxins

      The antixodiants will not be eliminated, but many will be reduced. The myrosonaise enzyme though will be completely deactivated. Perhaps you can try shredding it in your salads?

      • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/elvin/ Elvin

        Dr Greger, be so good as to comment on Toxin’s reply regarding purple cabbage.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/ghulstyle/ ghulstyle

    where can you find broccoli sprouts for sprouting?

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/toxins/ Toxins
      • Joe

        The Amazon link in this thread leads to a product that costs over $30/pound. Anyone find something closer to (and also high-quality) the $20/pound that the video says is the market rate (including shipping)?

    • http://www.facebook.com/Betrand.Russell Russell Monsurate

      Online is the best place and the best bang for your buck….otherwise locally already sprouted and read to consume..

    • bennetthall

      we bought some at Rainbow in San Francisco for $15.99/lb a few days ago – excellent store if you are in the area – that price was also on line various locations. We use Sproutamos to solve the mold/drainage problem

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/elvin/ Elvin

    Dr Greger be so kind as to comment on this.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/elvin/ Elvin

    Dr Greger, be so good as to comment on Toxin’s reply regarding purple cabbage.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/maybush1/ maybush1

    My broccoli sprouts became very moldy with white cobwebby-like filaments all over the bottle after about 4-5 days of sprouting. I made sure I rinsed and drained properly and 2 times a day, but no luck! What could possibly be wrong? And is this mold harmful? I’m worried now about other batches I have!! No mention was given about refrigerating or how quickly to consume, so I’m at a loss…

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/thea/ Thea

      maybush1: After seeing this series of videos, I decided to try to grow my own broccoli sprouts for the first time. To get me on the right path, I purchased a couple of books on growing sprouts. One of the books did not recommend using the jar for growing greens sprouts like broccoli. (It *may* be OK for sprouting beans.) In fact, there was a whole section called something like “Why Not The Jar”.

      The book recommends a couple alternative methods to the jar, one of which I tried. I harvested my first batch of broccoli sprouts this last weekend, and they were great! I used the hemp bag method, which guarantees a lot of air circulation. There was no mold. Just to be clear though, the book actually says that the bag is not super ideal for greens either. But it does work and the air circulation point really sold me.

      I’m sure these bags are sold several places. The following link is just to show you what I mean by the bag. The other link is to the book that I liked the best.

      http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/tools/kitchen.php#to_kt_s_bag

      http://www.amazon.com/Sprouts-The-Miracle-Food-Sprouting/dp/1878736043/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1334173635&sr=8-2

      I know that lots of people successfully use jars. I’m not saying that you can’t use a jar. In fact, I’m going to try that method too just to see what I like better. I just thought you would want to know that there are affordable alternatives to the jar method and which may work better for you.

      I’ll be curious to know if you get an answer to why you had such bad luck with your effort. The book I have says that most failed sprouting projects are due to bad seed. That doesn’t mean you have bad seed. I’m just wondering…

      Good luck!

      • maybush1

        Thanks Thea! 
        I’m not sure why it had happened, but everything is working out fine now. I’ve been adding 1Tbsp of seed to the jar now, instead of 2Tbsp. I’m not sure if that helps.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/lebepotter/ lebepotter

    maybush1: The directions for broccoli sprouts that came with my seeds from sproutpeople.org say to expect them “to look moldy when you go to rinse them starting on day 2 or 3 – that in NOT mold – it is millions of microscopic roots. They will disappear when you Rinse.” I’m only on my third batch of broccoli sprouts, but I have found this to be true; it’s amazing how much the tiny root hairs look like white mold, but they’re not mold, and they do rinse right off.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/maybush1/ maybush1

    Ok, thanks. I’ve been reading that elsewhere as well. However, I’ve now noticed…and this is what’s really worrying me now…that the sprouts in the jars are stinking “to high heaven” like a dead animal! It’s absolutely NOT a mild sulphurous smell (that I’ve also read is normal), but is instead a noxious throw-you-across-the-room smell that is nowhere near mild. This is after about 5 days. Is THAT normal? I wonder what it could possibly be and, more importantly, if there’s something I should be doing to prevent it (like drying, bagging, refrigerating, etc. at some point?? Thanks again.

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/toxins/ Toxins

      Food smelling like a carcass doesn’t sound normal to me! We find these smells repulsive for a reason.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/lebepotter/ lebepotter

    maybush1– Parts of your sprouts have rotted. You’d get a strong sulfur compound smell, same as forgotten broccoli rotting at the back of a refrigerator. What I’ve read suggests broccoli sprouts are not as easy as, say, mung beans: the broccoli sprouts may be touchier about staying too wet for too long, or drying out too much, or not being well aerated. I’d suggest you read the directions for broccoli and other salad type sprouts at sproutpeople.org. I’m using their EasySprout sprouters for broccoli sprouts because they seem to offer better drainage and aeration than the jar method. Jars have never given me any trouble for mung bean sprouts or kasha sprouts; and I gather that Dr. Greger uses jars for his broccoli sprouts– you might manage with jars if you’re careful enough; but it seems just easier to go with the EasySprouts. Our local health food store carries the EasySprout sprouters. I got mine along with the broccoli seeds, from the sproutpeople.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/leronb/ leronb

    Dr. Gregor, has anyone done any studies on when in the sprouting process the nutrition is the highest? Does Sulforiphane fall off as the sprouts get older?

    I’ve been sprouting for thirty years and mason jars are my go to method of sprouting. All brassicas produce a lot of root hairs so beginners be advised not to freak out because it’s not mold.

  • LynnCS

    Awsome, awsome, awsome, Awwwwwwwwsum!!!

  • LynnCS

    Wondering how the sprouts affect the thyroid as raw broccoli is said to do?

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    For some context, please check out my associated blog post The Best Detox!

  • The Bunny

    Can you replace all leafy green consumption with sprouts instead and not compromise on nutrients?

    • Siobhan

      No

  • David Stewart

    What’s cool about this is that it’s like putting a huge garden of vegetable garden production in the space of a pickle jar.

    What other vegetable foods are nearly as powerful and can be grown in such tiny spaces? Any other suggestions?

  • http://www.facebook.com/Betrand.Russell Russell Monsurate

    Dear Dr. Mike Greger<

    Thank you so much for the wisdom you share with us and for free!

    Dr. Mike, I looked up the list of antioxidants on Nutrition Journal 2010 that you referenced in on of your videos and found that it a bit daunting a task to sift thru 138 pages of data on what would have the highest rating in terms of anti oxidant ratings. Can you kindly give us a clue?

    Namaste,

    Thanks again, and a very Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!

    Russ Vancouver, Canada

  • albert

    what do you think about sprouting lentils – they are so nutritionally packed even in a form of grains – should be supercharged after sprouting, I guess. shouldn’t it be a great solution for smoothies??

  • Ronald Chavin

    Red radishes and radish sprouts, which are sometimes sold as “sango sprouts,” might be even healthier for us to eat than broccoli and broccoli sprouts. The reason is that red radishes, radish sprouts, giant white turnips, and turnip sprouts don’t contain a chemical called, epithiospecifier protein (ESP), which partly blocks the benefit from glucosinolates. Broccoli and all other cabbage family vegetables contain this glucosinolate-blocking chemical:
    http://www.sproutnet.com/Radish-Sprouts-Versus-Broccoli

    Here’s an interesting study from Poland in which radishes and onions were the 2 most protective foods against stomach cancer:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1873452

  • Geoffrey Levens, L.Ac.

    Seems to me there is big confusion here about the contamination issue. What has been tested and found to be contaminated or not, is commercially pre-grown, packaged, market purchased sprouts, NOT home grown. The E. coli has often been traced to cattle “run off” or possibly poor hygien by workers in factory. If you grow your own, using fresh tap water and wash yer hands after using the toilet fer crying out loud, all will be well with any sort of sprouts. The white stuff, mold, fungi, etc is a different matter. Hydrogen peroxide cleaning of equipment and uick pre-soak for couple minutes in very dilute food grade hydrogen peroxide should eliminate that. (Drug store H2O2 contains preservatives you do not want to be eating!)

  • Untoured

    I’d be interested to hear a more detailed story about brassica sprouts in general. Glucisolinates are the primary agent behind the high antioxidant rating, yes, but how much do these increase on sprouting in broccoli, and are other sprouted brassica vegetables of comparable power? One reason to be interested in this more general topic is that while broccoli seed for sprouting is quoted at $20/lb. in the video, mustard seed is a standard commodity spice and can be had for around $3.50/lb, with the price for organic or otherwise certified seed probably not too far above.

  • Ana Guardia

    Can I sprout chia seeds or spinach?

    • Toxins

      You can sprout chia seeds but I am unsure that you would be able to sprout spinach. Check out this video regarding sprouting.
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/antioxidants-sprouting-up/

      • Ana Guardia

        Thank you Toxins, maybe I’ll run my own experiment :0)

        I had seen that video, that’s why now I want to sprout everything, this is site a great resource thank you for adding to it. Cheers!

  • Bret Iron

    how much do you suggest eating daily? 1 cup?

  • barrhon
  • liz

    Do broccoli sprouts need to be cut prior to consumption (as whole broccoli does?)
    And secondly, when cutting broccoli- does every floret need to be cut- or just the stalk?
    Thanks, Liz

  • Tejka007

    Are the sprouts also considered goitrous foods that Hashimoto sufferers should avoid? Thank you!

  • Linda

    How much vit. K is in broccoli sprouts vs. broccoli. I grow and eat sprouts but he has been instructed to limit intake of K rich foods due to atrial fibrillation (for which he is on aspirin therapy). The concern is that since the sulphoraphane content is so high, the K content may be high also.

  • Susan

    It depends what you define as a serving. If a serving is 1/2 cup chopped or diced, the Vitamin K level of broccoli is 44.7 mcg or 56% of your daily values “for adults or children aged 4 or older, and are based on a 2,000
    calorie reference diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.”
    Read More
    http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2356/2
    For broccoli sprouts, read the transcript at http://nutritionfacts.org/video/broccoli-sprouts/