Doctor's Note

Is that cool or what?! I love kitchen chemistry. Totally revolutionized my daily greens prep. For those new to the whole enzyme concept I’m sure this is a bit confusing. Make sure to watch the original “chemical flare” video The Best Detox and then the hack and hold strategy in Sometimes the Enzyme Myth is the Truth.

This helps explain the results I presented in Raw Broccoli and Bladder Cancer Survival.

OK, but what’s so great about this sulforaphane stuff? For a taste, see:

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  • Matheo

    This is by far the most awesome video on the page… and I’ve seen all of them! Thanks so much Dr. Greger. This is so practical, healthy and fun at the same time. And it also explaines why sulforaphane increases so much when broccoli is eaten in combination with broccoli sprouts, right?

    Keep up the good work!

    • Ryan

      Yes, great video and information! Ty

      • Toby Fouks

        In the video Dr. Gregor asks ‘who wants to eat raw brussels sprouts?’ Please — shred or cut them finely and add them to veggie slaw — they are delicious! A company in California is now making prepared salads with raw brussels sprouts, kale, radicchio, broccoli — and that’s how I learned to love raw brussels sprouts. Okay .. now back to broccoli …

        • Jacksaid

          Thanks Toby, for the heads up on brussel sprouts. I’ve never eaten them raw, but if the store has them in stock I will be putting them on my salad….Trying to control/rid myself of prostate cancer. have done well for two and a half years without submitting to treatmen. Big Pharma is looking every where except where they might actually create a cure. Will never give a single penny to Cancer, “fool em”, research.s

          What happened to the teenage boy that discovered a way to test for pancreatic caner using a test strip? What happened to the young girl’s discovery of using a heat light to eradicate cancer? I think you will find them living in the lap of luxury after being paid off by “Big Pharma”. Forget the silly notion of researching cancer

          • Aussie

            He patented it :( He’s currently a freshman at Stanford University.

    • Matheo,

      I asked the researcher who discovered this phenomenon in crucifers about whether it also applies to alliums. “It’s a great hypothesis,” she said, but the research has not yet been done.

      Eating a couple of red radishes with your crucifers will also give you myrosinase, she said. And red radishes are one of the few crucifers that don’t produce nitriles, meaning they’re fine to eat raw (unless you have a thyroid problem, of course).

      Here are the others that don’t produce nitriles:

    • Christo Okulian

      hii matheo !! we meet again. am fans of garlic becoz of their all round superb anti i chew it although it taste like… garlic… hahhahahha

    • karl

      I know an herbalist who would just chew them up, but chew them poorly so the two chemicals don’t mix until it’s in the gut. One of those times to not properly chew your food. I do it too. Still not that pleasant. If you want you could make real thin slices and swallow it down with a lot of water… no chewing involved. There is also a time released garlic that is like taking an entire bulb in a simple pill – called “garlinase”.

  • Guest

    Dr. Greger it is so much fun reading and doing some of the food suggestions. For example with the sweet potato suggestion of eating the skin and boiling the potato made the best ever sweet potato butter. I can’t wait to try this method with a broccoli recipe. Thanks a million

    • CarrotBrocante

      Sweet potato butter?

    • Thea

      Guest: I want to know what sweet potato butter is too! And how do you use it?

  • Beetsbeansbutts

    Nice alliteration. Will do this in my cooking now.. Greger and nutritionfacts team are heroes!

  • kabocha

    Dr Greger, what about raw broccoli/ broccoli sprouts and hypothyroidism?

  • David

    You had mentioned that you were doing research, or compiling research done regarding Green Smoothies and that we should watch out for it in the 2013 batch. Looking at your index, I didn’t see anything. Would LOVE to hear more about what you may have found regarding the absorption of nutrients THANK YOU, and keep up the wonder work that you do for ALL of us!!!!!

    • Sarah V Lucas

      I was just thinking the same thing yesterday, David!

  • Darryl

    Mustard seed powder and even prepared mustard condiment has potential benefits in isolation, too:
    Isothiocyanate-containing mustard protects human cells against genotoxins in vitro and in vivo
    Mustard seeds attenuate azoxymethane-induced colon carcinogenesis
    Allyl isothiocyanate-rich mustard seed powder inhibits bladder cancer growth and muscle invasion

    My favorite condiment (I’ve 2 kg container of “extra strong” dijon on the counter). That said, there’s nothing in the literature suggesting the myrosinase activity of dried ground mustard is preserved in prepared mustard condiments.

    • Coacervate

      if you want to maximize the activity, the wiki page says that the enzyme is activated by vitamin c.

      • guest

        really? Wow, I certainly hope so, since that would make it even easier to get the benefits since eating some fruit with anything is second nature to most vegans. :)

        It is amazing how many things seem to benefit from eating them with vit c like green tea and various roots.

  • Armando

    Does blending broccoli into a smoothie and waiting 30 minutes provide the same benefit?

    • Adrien

      Yes. If you damage (meaning chewing or blending) the walls of the broccoli cells, you will produce sulforaphane. Supposing the broccoli is raw.

  • Lark America

    Are there any nutritional equivalents to cruciferous vegetables? I have an underactive thyroid and even a small amount of cruciferous vegetables give me severe symptoms e.g. depression, inability to sleep, painful joints, brain fog, etc. I have been a vegan for over seven years and kept wondering why I felt so bad all of the time even though I ate healthy. It took me six years to discover that I have an underactive thyroid. I take natural supplements and avoid cruciferous vegetables and soy and have never felt better; my hair is even growing back! Anyway, I just continue to read and hear about all of the benefits of cruciferous vegetables and feel like I am missing out.

    • Sunshine

      I did’nt know that. Maybe thats why my thyroid test keep going up and down

    • Olivia

      Lark, love the hamster pic lol Here’s an article by Dr. Furhman you might want to check out, regarding thyroid function and cruciferous vegetables.

      • Lark America

        Thanks, Olivia; I read the article, however, someone said something similar, and I decided to eat kale. The very next day my depression symptoms returned and were so bad I felt like killing myself. The problem with thyroid functioning and test is that the tests comes back in the normal ranges but some people still have hypothyroid symptoms. One doctor theorized that different people may need different levels of thyroid hormones so what is normal for one person may not be normal for another. The compound people with hypothyroid need to avoid are goitrogens which are found in soy, cruciferous vegetables, and some other foods. I literally felt bad for years and after eliminating those foods and taking supplements feel like a new woman. After that brief disastrous foray back into cruciferous vegetables with the kale, I am completely terrified of trying it again.

        • Veganrunner

          No question about it. Every body has a different level of energy they are comfortable with.

        • Olivia

          Thanks, Lark. I will definitely do more research about goitrogens. It sounds really interesting. I’m glad that you finally figured out what was ailing you all those years and now feel much better!

      • Veganrunner

        I just posted that article above. I am hypothyroid, vegan, and I eat cruciferous vegetables. Going vegan has cut my meds in half.

        • Olivia

          Oh, please pardon me on that. I didn’t see it. I guess it doesn’t hurt to post it twice lol

          • Veganrunner

            Oh no I was saying more like ” great minds think alike!”

  • Renee

    Hi, right now my local farmers mkt is overflowing with fresh veggies like broccoli & kale. What do you think about dehydrating kale? Would that kill all of its benefits?

    • Heather

      Dehydrating kale can be an excellent method. Just trim and wash it very thoroughly. Then, just blanch them and dry them. You will know they are ready when they are crisp.
      1. Calorie content: does not change, but is concentrated into a smaller mass as moisture is removed.
      2. Fiber: no change.
      3. Vitamin A: fairly well retained under controlled heat methods.
      4. Vitamin C: mostly destroyed during blanching and drying of vegetables.
      5. Thiamin, riboflavin, niacin: some loss during blanching but fairly good retention if the water used to rehydrate also is consumed.
      6. Minerals: some may be lost during rehydration if soaking water is not used. Iron is not destroyed by drying.
      There is a lot more information about kale on this website, but this is one of my favorite videos.

  • Tobias Brown

    This type of food preparation seems too technical and quite beyond what should be necessary for perfectly healthy eating. What’s the big benefit from making this extra effort again? Doesn’t eating a good plant-based diet already cover us for the issues mentioned here (better eye sight, high anti-oxident etc)?

    • The Dude

      Sprinkling a little mustard seed powder, wasabi powder, horse radish and /or adding some fresh green to it at the end is easy. We sprinkle things on our food all the time.

    • Just stock some red radishes. That, too, will do the trick!

    • Peep Matts

      I have been a big fan of mustard and horseradish forever. I always add it to my salad dressing. There is nothing technical about it. It is simply delicious.

  • Ginger C

    I love this stuff! You are so cool to seek out research, synthesize it, and explain it for all of us. Mustard is yummy. Thank you thank you thank you!!!!

  • Raven

    I am stunned by this information! I’ve learned to much since I’ve started watching your videos, Dr. Greger and I spread the info out to all my family and friends. Fun with food and science…what’s not to love!

  • Vegg-E

    So it looks like I’ll be going to buy some mustard powder today. =)

  • sage

    great information! i’ve never liked broccoli but i eat frozen broc constantly for health…i’m going to try swapping my lemon & garlic flavor diguise for a homemade mustard vinaigrette. no point eating it and not cashing in on the full benefits!

    • jendiggity

      I was never a big broccoli fan, either, but I discovered a recipe for (vegan fat free) broccoli soup that I am addicted to now. It makes it really easy to get healthy broccoli in and I just buy bags of organic frozen from the discount store so it’s CHEAP, too!

      • Thea

        Please do share! What is the broccoli soup recipe? Thanks!

  • drew4021

    really great information Dr. I use a masticating juicer -that essentially crushes up the broccoli leaves for example and extracts all of the juice and pulp after several passes and separates out an almost dry fibrous material. My question is -if I were to let this pulpy juice stand for a bit -would it serve the same purpose of allowing the endogenous myrosinase to do its thing?

  • Cathy

    We do a lot of Indian cooking. Would whole black mustard seed, a common ingredient, have the same beneficial effects?

    • Darryl

      I frequently cook with rai , but I’d expect the usual tadka (“tempering” in hot oil) would quite effectively inactivate the myrosinase.

  • Clara Delding

    Dear Dr. Greger,

    First and foremost we would like to thank you for your excellent videos on nutrition research on youtube. We are grateful to have access to such sound and comprehensible information on vegan nutrition, it really makes following a plant based lifestyle a lot easier. So kudos for that!

    If you don’t mind, we would like to ask your opinion about an experiment of ours. We are two women in our early 20s in the mindst of our university education and feel it would be nice to minimize time spent on food, both preparing and consuming. So we decided to come up with our own meal replacements consisting of a base of cooked then dried lentils and beans with the addition of powdered greens and sprouts. The idea is that this would make up a powder to be mixed with hot or cold water and perhaps some fresh fruit. We would love to hear your opinion on powdered greens, since it seems to be an easy way to ensure adequate vitamins and some minerals without the bulk of actual vegetables.

    Also, we would like to ask you, if this “lentil/bean-powder” were to be produced somehow, do you think the absorption of nutrients would still be as good as simply cooked pulses? Having a powder which could be mixed with water at any time would surely be a lot simpler than carrying litres of lentil-concoction around.

    We both work out a lot and are concerned with getting adequate calories and nutrients. Also, we both feel our best eating a fairly low fat diet, but also feel a slightly higher percentage of protein makes us feel most satiatied (about 15 to 20 % calories form protein and between 5 and 10 % from fat). We would therefore like to avoid adding nut butters and oils to our blend.

    Do you have any suggestions for the execution of this experiment of ours?
    We are grareful for any reply.

    Best regards,
    Clara and Sofia

    • Psych MD

      You might want to watch his video on whole broccoli vs. dehydrated broccoli powder. The benefits disappeared in the process. That may not be the case for all fruits and vegetables but since you have no way of knowing why risk it? It seems like the time and effort of creating your concoction and reconstituting is hardly worth it, not to mention completely sacrificing the pleasure of eating delicious food. There are lots of green drink powders on the market that contain a far more comprehensive list of ingredients than an individual could compile. Are they good? Who knows? Where are the studies? I have whole-heartedly adopted Dr. Greger’s whole food approach and enjoy plants in their native form.

      • Psych MD

        Actually his video was on broccoli sprouts vs. dehydrated broccoli. Re: mustard greens/seeds: has all these seeds and more for the sprouting and is where I buy mine. Prior to viewing this video I wasn’t aware of the wonders of mustard. The following, taken from their website, describes my next sprout adventure :
        “Long Life Sprout Mix
        Broccoli, Red & Green Cabbage, Radish, Mustard, Arugula, Cress, Mizuna & Tatsoi Many Brassicas come together beautifully in a symbiotic blend of delicious nutrition! “

        • Clara Delding

          Thanks for the reply! :) We’ll watch the video, sorry about commenting before watching…

  • HemoDynamic, M.D.

    I have to admit this is my favorite type of video too because it gives me strategies to make sure that I can get the healthiest food in my own home.

    The very first part of this video reminded me about a professor I had that used to give patients “Obecalp.” It helped patients reduce their pain when they had aches and helped them get better when they were sick. What is this mysterious medicine that he said helped patient’s so much?

    Spell the word backwards and you see it spells placebo. Yes, they just gave them sugar pills. This is not ethical anymore but back in the day when they didn’t have anything left to use that could help a patient they could use Obecalp and people got better.

    I’m glad “iloccorB”, however, is not Obecalp!

    • Dommy

      Dr. Carleton Fredericks used to humorously say that the best medicine for weight loss is “sulfa control.”

  • MT

    I blend spinach and brussel sprouts with water and grape juice then reblend with lemons limes and ginger and frozen cranberries and other frozen fruit, will the chemicals still work?

  • Ariel Gail MacLean

    Brilliant focus for this common connundrum! Another Dr. Greger idea for intentional good habit formation! I would like to make this suggestion about mustard greens…since as you point out, mustard seems to be a key Synergy Activist Food, capable of unlocking otherwise unavailable nutritional medicine potential, I have now placed mustard greens on my top tier survival-foods-grown-anywhere-anytime list. These are the reasons: 1) mustard seed is cheap and will last for 6+ years if properly protected so look for online bulk supplies for $10# – this is a cost-effective Survival Food Real Asset worth investing in! 2) since relatively small amount of mustard leaf is harvested for your daily dose, and because mustards can be grown densely and will provide a cut-and-come-again supply, they are ideal for growing in flats like I grow microgreens which also require shallow soil depth; suddenly this little Green becomes a feasible, flexible, powerful fresh food production option which is suitable for camping, cabin, RV, apartment living, indoors with any light; 3) mustards come in literally hundreds of sizes, shapes, flavors, and colors (inc. ones with high levels of anthocyanin purples) and you could easily support your own food needs with sale to or trade as wampum with those conscious eater around you; mustard and all greens which are eaten weeks from seeding, need non-synthetic fertilizers such as fish emulsion and/or kitchen compost and always wash your foliar-fed greens/microgreens. My one comment is that since we keep finding out how essential it is to consume as many of the high phytochemical foods as well as at least one Synergy Activator Food (let’s call it the phyto-medicine activator), all at the same time so as to potentiate the fullest mix of phyto-medicines, it seems we are constructing a Bible Of Food Pairings. For the last almost year, in developing my intense Cancer Treatment Diet, I have found myself half-consciously always finding a way to include at high levels in every dish, one of the following medicinal “flavorings” for whatever I was fixing : garlic, red pepper, ginger, cinnamon, sage-oregano-cilantro-thyme-basil, and now, added to this essential list of what I am starting to think of as Synergy Activator Foods that needs to go in everything I eat, I am going to add mustard in some form.
    Thank you Dr. Greger for again making important nutritional information grounded in fact and meaningful to the everyday eater!

  • robert

    I would recommend using organically certified mustard seeds as this provides some assurance that they haven’t been irradiated. While there is some controversy over the degree of enzyme degradation from irradiation, it makes sense to use organic for health and environmental reasons.

    • jilltheveggiequeen

      I agree with you wholeheartedly. I highly recommend buying only organic herbs and spices. They are full of phytochemicals and antioxidants so buying them as clean as possible is the way to go.

  • George

    Wow! this solves a big problem. I consume a lot of broccoli, but I’m not fond of raw broccoli, so I eat it steamed (Dr. Weils site says that if you steam broccoli for less than four minutes, a significant amount of the enzyme remains intact.) or juiced. But I don’t know if juicing is effective in creating sulforaphane quickly because juicing uses/creates a lot of liquid diluting the mixture. Now it’ll be steamed broccoli with home-made mustard dressing. Thank you Dr. Gregor.

  • Karl Young

    Thanks for the, as usual, great video. Though a vegan I’m not a strictly raw type (though I enjoy raw food places and do eat a significant amount of my cruciferous vegetables raw). But I love that one of the arguments raw food types make, that cooking kills enzymes, tarred by “skeptics” as “magical thinking” via their favorite logical fallacy that absence of evidence is evidence of absence, turns out to actually be important in this case. Sure, making scientific claims requires, at a minimum, a double blind clinical trial, but the “skeptics” are nowhere to be found at this point; rather than reevaluating their views in the light of evidence, they’re off on another junior g-man of science debunking mission.

    • Not the same enzyme raw foodists are referring to. They are usually talking about enzymes needed for digestion, if I’m not mistaken, which our body gratefully provides on its own.

  • Ariel Gail MacLean

    Me, and everyone around me right now (65-80 years old), is having strokes, TIA’s, and with the rest of us, our “stroke warning lights” are on.

    Please Dr. Greger, will you put together an update on specific herbs/roots/barks, medicine vegetables, nutrients/plants, which are specifically reported to make a difference in the brain center of our neuro-cardiovascular system. Many of us have had our mind on heart disease and cancer prevention data coming at us in ever-increasing volume and detail, and have not a clue about Eating For Stroke Management and Prevention.

    • Coacervate

      Ariel, I don’t think it will happen. The message here is about the “symphony”. If you’re brain vasculature is sick then all of your tubing is so afflicted. The exciting idea that took root was that whole categories of veg and fruit contribute to our health in their own way. Put it all together and you heal. Just my opinion of course. The reasoning is radical (and difficult for many of us to “get”) compared to the path modern science took during the 50’s and 60’s when dedicated scientists worked hard to tease out the biochemistry we now understand so well. We can predict the fate of any food we eat…but the lesson we didn’t get was that a reductionist approach won’t give the big picture. We’ve come a long way since then…So I don’t think the Team will go off message to focus on specific plants to prevent stroke. Dr. Oz seems to have a magical miracle cure for everything. Stroke… I’ll bet he’s got it on youtube somewhere.

      The one other thing that I noticed personally was a distinct lifting of the “fog”. I thought that I’d lost the ability to hold a string of thoughts together but my confidence is back and I’m back at work. Thats what FOK and 3 years WFPB did for me. I hope you find similar results. Best wishes and good luck to you. As Dr. King put it, “we may have come here in different ships, but we are all int he same boat now ” : )

      • Ariel Gail MacLean

        I would be very interested in interacting with you via personal email which is my name without the caps or spaces at yahoo.
        You have misunderstood what I said and I think, gone off message for your own point of view as well.
        please consider contacting me off site.
        Ariel Gail MacLean

    • Jim Felder

      Ariel, A diet that reverses atherosclerosis, like that tested in clinical trials by Drs. Ornish and Esselstyn for reversing heart disease, is the same diet that reverse all sclerotic plaque vascular diseases like ischemic stroke. So I would point you to Dr. Esselstyn’s book “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease”. The wonderful thing is that this is exactly the same diet that prevents and reverses a lot of other diseases. I would highly recommend that you watch Dr. Greger’s summary video “Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death” to see what the research is saying about the effect of a whole-food/plant-based diet on the 15 leading causes of premature death in this country.

  • Misterimpatient

    Okay, I’ve watched this video a couple of times now and I am missing something very basic. I don’t understand what happens when the broccoli is chopped in preparation for steaming. For years I have purchased heads of broccoli, chopped to my normal bit sizes, washed and stored until used. Usually I steam it but some of the smaller bits get tossed in salad.

    Exactly what is is about chopping up the broccoli that helps to produce the sulforaphane? Is it the simple act of “trauma” to the vegetable that produces this? Could you bang it on a table and get the same result?

    • Coacervate

      The enzyme is stored in a “compartment” inside the cell that is separate from the sulfur-containing raw material. When you chop chop chop you break open the compartments and the two mix and the reaction proceeds. Banging won’t work but “trauma” is the word!

      I’ve read that this is intended to deter insects from chomping through my broccoli patch by releasing the bitter sulforane compound only when under attack but i wish someone would tell those dang white butterflies about that.

      • Misterimpatient

        Thanks for that. It seems to me there are orders of magnitude more compartment breaking when I chew raw broccoli than when I simply take a head and make a few well placed cuts. I like the mustard idea as a “supplement”. Now to figure out a nice mustard power spice mix as a dressing.

    • Thea

      Misterimpatient: I think the following video is where Dr. Greger explains this concept:

      See if that video helps to answer your question–if Coacervates very nice reply didn’t do it for you.

      I remember another NutritionFacts video out there were Dr. Greger talks about his chop method for broccoli. But I couldn’t find it. (Maybe if you decided to be Mister-patient for a bit, you might find that video yourself. ;-) )

      Sounds like you have been prepping your broccoli for maximum cancer fighting already. I’m most jealous.

      • Misterimpatient

        The origin of the misterimpatient handle are lost in the mists of time. Thanks for the pointer to the video. I’ve been doing t his prep for years. I do it to broccoli, cauliflower and purple and green cabbage approximately weekly. It makes meal prep very easy. I use a sharp knife for the broccoli and cauliflower and a food processor for the cabbage. I note that the video you referenced made no mention of the issue of temperature and enzyme destruction. I guess that research result came later.

        I appreciated your swift reply very much. Thanks again.

  • Florence

    Loved the information about iloccorb. Thank you for breaking it down for the non MD’s in your readershiip.

  • 7in1

    whats making you people play all this games, just eat all raw! raw is the law

  • Delbert Parkinson

    I still want to share my cancer research with your group, because I have discovered the main cause for most unexplained cancers. Del..

  • Dommy

    Instead of mustard seeds what about simply adding to your broccoli a tablespoon of horseradish mustard you can buy off the shelf? This has myrosinase, doesn’t it?

  • Mmmeat

    With regards to pre-chopping. How small?

    • Ariel Gail MacLean

      with regards to quality of cilantro seed (“coriander” is the seed stage of the coriander plant)…..
      of course organic where possible when you seek/buy seeds but did you know “Certified Organic” seed production may have been subjected to as much as 200+ “allowables” – chemicals which are harmful but due to industry pressure and the fact that the US government (USDA) oversees Organic Certification, are continually being added to The List. Two solutions to this: seek/buy seeds stated suitable for Sprouting – if bought through the independent ethical seed supplier such as Johnny’s, and if asked, will give you better option in terms of fungacides commonly found on Certified Organic (for instance). Certified Organic can also include sprouting suppression chemicals on seed potatotes. The other way to get Mustard Seed, Coriander Seed, etc. is to grow this “crop” in flats year-round in any sheltered position….after you cut-and-come-again harvest several times, let them go to seed and collect your own seed – verified safe. Due to the consolidation of seed sources in the world into essentially two conglomerates who now own a majority of the world’s seed stock, we are all vulnerable and need to consider seed production of whatever we can.

  • Psych MD

    Following Dr. Greger’s recommendation to eat greens, beans, and berries every day, a great way to address this current topic is daily consumption of Kirkland (Costco) Organic No-Salt Seasoning. In addition to mustard seed it contains virtually his entire spice hall of fame: marjoram, cumin, garlic, onion, red bell pepper, cayenne pepper, black pepper, oregano, coriander, rosemary….Since it contains no salt it is almost impossible to overseason. As he said in one of his smoothie videos, the more you use the healthier it is.

    • Thea

      Psych MD: Nice tip!!! There are all sorts of versions of salt-free seasonings out there. It is nice to get a reference from someone who found on that they really like – and that is probably pretty affordable too.

      Thanks for taking the time to post this. I’m excited to give this a try myself to see if I like it better than the one I am using now.

  • marty

    Maybe radish sprouts instead?

  • Michael

    Hi, thanks for your efforts. And, I have a question: is the 40 minutes of waiting a guesstimate, or is it indicated by specific studies? I can’t find any such studies (that are open to the public, at least) via Google. Thanks in advance for your guidance.

  • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

    Actually I like broccoli so much that I sometimes eat it raw at breakfast. Raw, broccoli, some fruit and a cup of coffee and then of to work.

    • Veganrunner

      Raw broccoli for breakfast? You crazy man!

      • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

        Where I live it is soon kale-season, so within a couple of days, it will be raw kale, fruit and coffee :-)

  • Dean

    I buy broccoli sprouts which are easier to eat. Are they healthier? Eating them raw gives the most benefit?

  • Calvin Leman

    I grind the leaves of broccoli, kale, etc. in a blender and drink the raw chopped leaves, with an apple or other fruit to flavor the drink. This is my fresh vegetable intake for a couple of years now. Now I see that I am getting what Dr. Greger explains in this video.

  • Anisa Marie

    Everyone knows how we keep spices in small jars in the pantry for months and longer. For instance, Mustard powder. Until this minute, I did not know to use it on broccoli to make active our sulphurophanes. Dr Greger, will you please do a video on pantry-kept spices to let us know about bioavailability and long-kept shelf-life of our spices? Perhaps our Mustard Powder is “dead” by now ??? My clove powder and whole cloves have been sitting around more than two years !!

  • guest

    this is wonderful news!! I know a lot of older people or even young people with bad teeth cannot chew well so this allows us to still able to get our greens with the benefits!

  • Anisa Marie

    As for the method of Mustard Powder on broccoli, is it; -steam broccoli for 8 minutes, right after chopping, then sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder over 2 cups of steamed broccoli on your plate, and simply the tiny amount of powder activates the sulphuraphanes in your stomach when both get there ? Did I get this correct ?

  • Gail

    I watched this video 4 times because it is soooo significant. (I like to eat my broccoli cooked) About the hack and hold technique:
    Do you recommend we cover the veges after we hack them?
    Should we put the hacked veges in the refrigerator or leave them at room temperature?
    Does finer smaller pieces make hack and hold more effective?
    Does this hack and hold work on other veges as well???
    Many thanks for your dedication!!!

  • Jerry Taylor

    I buy tons of fresh cruciferous, get home, chop’m up… bag’m… and toss’m in the freezer. Enzymes have done their work. In the AM I throw ingredients of choice into vitamix with a chunked off gob of frozen cruciferous… voila

  • CarrotBrocante

    You are reading my mind! I was just thinking that it would be great if I didn’t have to prechop, yesterday when I did the chopping of the broccoli for today – exactly as you teached me ;)
    Thanx a lot for sharing!
    don’t know though if I like raw daikon of mustard powder with my broccoli, have to try this.

  • Ray Tajoma

    I eat chopped boiled (for less than 3 minutes) potatoes with broccoli carrots, etc. Broccoli also is loaded with protein and extreme heat (or cold) will affect the complex protein molecules as well. I think the length of time it is boiled should matter too (3 vs. 30 minutes). Also the temperature (boiled 212F vs. oven 350F). Obviously nothing trumps raw, but who wants to eat raw potatoes with raw broccoli!

  • Todd

    This is fascinating! But I’m curious if the enzyme is guaranteed to be available in mustard seed or powder. Some processors seem to denature it before packaging to extend its shelf life. How can we choose a good one?

  • cmh

    Great video! Would naturally fermented sauerkraut or other naturally fermented cruciferous veggies provide the needed enzymes?

  • Geoff

    this is so interesting – traditional japanese cooking which leads to macrobiotic techniques includes using raw or pickled daikon with cooked food. amazing how these traditions look so incredible looked upon from a modern scientific standpoint, but… how did they know??

    • cmh

      Exactly, I am constantly amazed at how science keeps confirming macrobiotic principles.

  • Christo Okulian


  • Guest

    Dear Doc and NF teams. Kindly enlighten me. i read this and found that table 2: total bile acids mg/day in Vegan is lowest which is in line with conclusion (below probiotic intervention) that “However, it appears that individuals on vegetarian diets might excrete less mutagenic feces and that probiotics might have a potential in decreasing fecal mutagenicity” but am confuse with this… that this study show vegetarian GC bile binding is lower than others but the GCDC bile binding higher than others.. this result doesnt in line with the table 3 and 4 that shown cholic and chenodeoxycholic of vegetarian are both relatively higher than others diet. correct me if i am wrong, may be i miss some details . Last question.. why there are primary and secondary bile acids what differentiate them ?which part of bile acids responsible for mutagenicity ?primary ?secondary ?or both ?thx much for liberate me from confusion.

  • Nelson

    Are we ok to assume that the sulforaphane has been created when we purchase the illocorB since it has been cut?

    • Val

      Good question…I was wondering about the lovely bag of fresh organic broccoli florets sold at Trader Joe’s…since it’s already a cut, should we cut it again? And I will buy an entire head of organic broccoli if it’s close to $3, so I know to chop that up. I use the leaves AND the stems…nothing goes to waste.

  • Mom’s kitchen

    How finely chopped does the broccoli have to be in preparation to receive maximum benefit?

  • b00mer

    More often than not, I like to eat steamed broccoli with my lunch. I chop it in the morning, bring it in a tupperware to work, and at lunch microwave it in a glass bowl with glass lid (not air tight; I keep it at work) with a drizzle of water for 4 minutes. Perfectly steamed, and by then the myrosinase has had about 5 or 6 hours to do its thing.

    • Thea

      b00mer: Thanks for sharing this tip!

      Question: do you eat the broccoli plain or do you season or sauce it? Just curious.

      • b00mer

        If I’m eating it by itself, it’s usually a squeeze of lemon, pepper, and salt. My favorite way to eat broccoli! Never get tired of it.

        Though if I’m eating it together with a main dish that has a saucy element e.g. marinara, hummus, etc, I don’t bother with anything if it’s all gonna be on the fork together.

        Also btw, the bowl I use is an anchor hocking “bake ‘n’ store”. I’ve seen them at walmart, though I got mine online. I have them at home too in various sizes; I almost never steam on the stovetop. Microwave is faster and easier imo.

        • Thea

          b00mer: You don’t have to sell me on the microwave. I’m a HUGE fan! Cooking veggies, including onions and mushrooms, is one of my favorite uses for the microwave.

          The anchor tip is really appreciated. I have a couple anchor bowls with some nice spill proof lids. But the spill proof lids can’t be used in the microwave. The idea of a glass lid is really great. I don’t shop at wallmart, but I’m going to check into that online option or see if I can find them around town.


  • sf_jeff

    I am interested in sulforaphane levels of broccoli vs broccoli sprouts.

  • broccoli bob

    I love this video! I wish nutritionfacts would make a “cheat sheet” on the top vegetables and fruits *including* best practice for preparation (cook, not cook, combine with mustard powder, and so on). I would gladly pay for a small poster to put on my fridge.

  • Derrek

    What powdered foods can you add besides mustard powder? And does it matter if you cook the powder? Can I get more info on the specifications?

  • Susie

    Does prepared mustard have the same enzyme benefit as powdered mustard seed?

  • Derrek

    Is kelp ok? I found a good deal on iodine, and it is a supplement of kelp . 270mcg. Is that too much per day? Where can you find mustard powder?

  • Jane’s Addiction

    I was really excited about this video, until I tasted my greens and broccoli with mustard powder added. Maybe it’s just me, but I found the taste unpalatable. I was amazed at how potent the taste was, since I added maybe 1/16 teaspoon of powder to a bowl of steamed greens and broccoli, but nevertheless it gave the whole bowl of food a sharp metallic taste, and I just couldn’t eat it. Maybe I’ll try horseradish or wasabi, although I’ve heard that those are pretty stout too. Anyone have any advice for me on how to make the taste a little better? I really appreciate it!

    • KWD

      I’ve been adding mustard powder to my greens (with fresh lemon juice too) since this video came out and have not had any metallic flavors, just a nice spicy bite. Wondering how you prepared the greens? Sometimes metal pans can impart tastes when acids are involved (e.g. preparing tomato sauce) or if cooked food is left in a metal pan for too long.

    • Thea

      Like KWD said, I too notice a “spicy bite” (which I don’t particularly like myself). Maybe your taste buds interpret that taste as metallic.

      Some ideas that I have tried: I don’t eat the broccoli plain, but in other foods. So, then I really don’t taste it. That bite disappears. For example, I made a noodle dish from the “Better Than Vegan” cookbook. At the end, I thawed out my frozen broccoli. Then I sprinkled on some mustard powder. And then mixed it into the noodle dish. I didn’t taste the spicy bite at all that time.

      Another idea: Someone below wrote that prepared mustard would also work. I copied b00mer’s idea (I think it was b00mer) of making a little sauce with prepared mustard, miso, and nutritional yeast. I also often add some ginger powder, water and ketchup. I put that on my broccoli instead of the mustard powder. I like really this combo – and cross my fingers that there is enough prepared mustard to make my body a cancer fighting bio-machine.

      Those are my ideas. I’d be interested to hear what ideas other people have.

    • Jane’s Addiction

      Thank you both for the replies. As far as my cooking methods, I’m afraid they’re pretty plain: I have chronic fatigue syndrome and I’m unable to do much in the way of what’s thought of as normal cooking. So all of my veggies get steamed and that’s it. After I steam my greens, I splash on a bit of vegetable broth to give them some flavor and volume, and that’s usually all I do. I don’t know, maybe I’m just sensitive to mustard spice more than most people are. (I’ve always hated mustard the condiment anyway.)

  • gretel hastwell

    That is so good! I am so astounded with this stuff and know it works the raw enzyme in a raw brussel sprout taken together with no added sugar grape juice, works fabulous as a relaxant for me. I love the science behind it all is a tually backed up by real results and everything works naturally to unify the body back to its original state of health. Some how

  • gretel hastwell

    If anyone has the courage to or are feeling adventurous, and they are feeling a bit on the drab side, try a raw brussel sprout it doesnt taste too good but boy does it make me feel great later on. Also that mustard idea for your kcooked veges is a great idea, I understand the principle it holds the mustard seeds have that thing they do and plus they add flavour to a an array of veges with that enzyme in them brought out through the adding of the mustard., I think its fantastic and just great! ;-)

  • Brock Leham

    “But who wants to eat raw brussels sprouts?”

    Just throw a few in a green smoothing — they blend nice and you can’t taste em!

  • Stacey Stokes

    I put raw broccoli in the blender with raw onions and just a little carrot juice, add mustard or Indian spices and blend on high for a few minutes until it gets warm. Then for the next few days I heat it up for a hot soup.
    Raw broccoli soup with all the benefits Dr. Gregor is talking about in minutes, no waiting!

  • tc247

    does mustard also work?

  • Chris Castiglione

    Does this only apply to foods with sulforaphane like Broccoli and Brussel Sprouts? Or is it all vegetables like red peppers and potatoes as well?

  • Dave

    I didn’t watch the whole video, end up sprinkling a whole tablespoon of mustard seed on my broccoli mix.


  • judy

    Should we also be chopping up all other cruciferous veggies for sulphurophane to occur – cabbage, kale etc? of does this just apply to broccoli? what about the allium family – Dr Fuhrman recommends chopping up onions and waiting – is this the same principle?

  • marcoquaresma1979

    What if instead of blanched the frozen veggies are just deep-frozen (not boiled). Do you think the enzymes will still be active?

  • Vaishali

    Hello Dr. Greg,

    First of all thank you for providing such a useful information on the plant base diet.
    My question is will the mustard seeds sputtered in oil have the same qualities as raw mustard? Will it play the same role when added on cooked cruciferous vegetables. In indian cooking we usually add mustard seeds to the oil while preparing most of the vegetables, so wanted to know if that would help.

  • George K

    So if I use frozen broccoli in my (cold) smoothies, does adding mustard powder help? Or is all this about cooked broccoli, initially frozen or fresh?

  • Blaice

    Ah, this is my favorite video. Mainly because I am obsessed with mustard seed (buy pounds at a time and grind with a coffee grinder). I put it on everything, so broccoli was getting drenched in it months before I saw this video :)

  • Bruce Cropley

    So my understanding is that we can get the same effect by eating some raw Arugula (=Roquette), Mustard Greens or Broccoli sprouts with any of these cooked cruciferous vegetables? (Kale, Broccoli, Cauliflower etc.) Cool :)

  • melliforte

    The video states that using mustard powder will allow you to recoup the myrosinase using mustard powder if one’s broccoli is frozen. My question is – Does this mean that one can use mustard? For example, . . could I make a lovely dijon honey-mustard sauce over my cooked broccoli or does the mustard have to be uncooked itself as well?

  • Moneybags

    Why does microwaved broccoli still seem to be ok if the enzyme is destroyed by heat?

    • Sheian

      I would stay far away from microwaves in general.

  • john tiffany

    I don’t have mustard powder; will stone ground mustard also contain myrosinase and do just as well or is it inactivated?

  • john tiffany

    I would like to ask the doctor First, thanks muchly for your
    excellent videos and articles. You have mentioned about how smashed
    up broccoli is better than intact broccoli especially if cooked, and
    i think there was some speculation as to wheether such might apply to
    alliums—data was lacking. Could it be that other plants may also be
    beetter if under stress? For example, could wilted spinach be more
    healthful than fresh spinach?
    Oh, and are lambsquarters as good as domesticated spinach?
    John tiffany

  • Tabitha Hyatt

    Oh my goodness! Thank you!!!

  • Sheian

    Does this apply for carrots too?

  • Alex Sumray

    I usually very finely dice a head of broccoli and or whatever veg I am using and add to my cook dish, in the hope I’m getting the best of both worlds.
    So, if I do this 40 minutes earlier I can cook it all and still be eating raw?!


  • I’m also a huge fan of this video, especially the broccoli in a super-hero cape! The research shared inspired me to create a recipe for mustard vinaigrette recipe. Drizzle over steamed crucifers to boost sulfurophane production! I’m never without it.

  • Although this is mentioned in the posts, I would like to double check and ask for a little more specificity. Do prepared mustards work? How much prepared mustard does it take for a 1 cup serving of steamed broccoli?

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Wow thanks for reaching out to the companies! I really think the enzyme is kills in the mustard making process so the only thing that works is mustard powder, or some daikon radish, or horseradish, or wasabi.

  • I wrote to a number of mustrt companies to find a mustard in which the enzyme is active. Yea Eden. They wrote

    Hi Jeff,

    Thank you for contacting Eden Foods.

    The only heat would come from the friction during our milling process. The De-activation temperature of this enzyme is 186.8 degrees F… 168.8 degrees F will leave 82 % of the enzyme active. The enzyme is purported to be a cancer fighting compound. The maximum temperature out of the mills is 135 degrees.

    Thank you,

    Tessa Sarapo
    Customer Service
    Eden Foods
    701 Tecumseh Road
    Clinton, MI 49236

  • But, then I received the message below from Maison Orphee. So, now I need an expert. Keeping the heat below 135F helps keep the enzyme active. But, can someone help me understand: how active is the enzyme after the process that produces the isothiocyanates?

    Hi Jeff,

    Thank you for your inquiry. Our three (3) prepared mustards – Curcuma, Old-Fashioned & Dijon – are all raw. i.e. not heated; the exothermal reaction produces heat but the temperature does not reach over ±35oC during the process. However, as you sure understand, the myrosinase enzyme reacts with glucosinates during the hydrolysis (mainly either sinigrine and/or sinalbine according to mustard seeds used) producing isothiocyanates, so I would no longer qualify the enzyme as “active” in the finish product.

    I hope it does answer your question; please feel free to contact me for any additional information.


    Michel Ouellet, chimiste
    TÉL.: (418) 681-1530, x318

  • doycekolbsr

    I don’t like the taste of mustard powder on greens. Could I just take a couple of mustard powder capsules before I eat the cooked broccoli?

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.


    • Harriet Sugar Miller

      Dr. Elizabeth Jeffery, the University of Illinois scientist who discovered the synergistic effect of raw with cooked crucifers, says that eating just a small amount of raw crucifer in the same meal will work. I heard her speak at the 2013 American Institute of Cancer Research’s annual conference, which I covered as a journalist. She also suggested eating a couple of raw radishes alongside the cooked broccoli.

  • Jeffery

    Would Guldans spicy brown mustard have the same affect as plain mustard powder?

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      No I don’t think so since the process for making mustard heats it up and kills the enzyme. You have to use mustard powder or as Dr. G says “Or some daikon radish, or horseradish, or wasabi”

  • Nasser AbuJaber

    Quick question, your video mentions to add mustard seed powder at the end; but can it be added at the start of cooking? Like adding it to other spices in hot oil before the veggies are added, or would doing so compromise this benefit for some reason?

  • Jenna

    If you sprinkle mustard powder in your cooked broccoli soup and mix it around will that work?

  • Does sulforaphane lose its effectiveness when broccoli is cooked?

    • Wade Patton

      no. it’s quite clear from the cartoon graphic in the video @ 1:54

  • sustainability

    What about freezing? Can you hack and hold and then put it in the freezer for later use?

    • Wade Patton


  • snowmoonelk

    Can I apply ready-made English mustard to the broccoli, or does it have to be the powdered stuff?

    • Thea

      snowmoonelk: Joseph recently answered a similar question. He raised a good point. Prepared mustard probably won’t work if any heat/cooking is part of the process of making the end product. Too bad, because I could get behind using prepared mustard myself.
      I remember someone else mentioning that you could use radishes if you didn’t like mustard powder. I haven’t looked into that idea myself, but you may want to do that. I’m not that into the powdery stuff myself in terms of just sprinkling it on broccoli plain. So, I think the idea of finding alternatives like raw radishes is attractive.

      • snowmoonelk

        Thanks, Thea; I must have missed that bit!

        Oh well, what I did last night was to blitz broccoli in food processor 40 mins beforehand (always thought nutrients were lost in this way) and stirred half of it into my vegetable stew where it disappeared, then sprinkled some raw broccoli “rice” over the top. Delicious!

        • Thea

          Clever ideas. Good for you!

  • nk2164

    Sir, if i am understanding this correct, Do we we need to add the mustard power after cooking ? Is it ok to add it while its cooking too ? The reason i ask is that in India we make a lot of curries with these veggies …i am just wondering if its as simple as making sure i add the mustard powder along with other spices . Thank you.

    • Wade Patton

      Before, during, or after. You are replacing the heat-senstive enzyme. It only needs mixing and time to create sulforaphane. Before or after works-do it the way that you like to eat it best.

  • Lida

    How long do these enzymes remain viable in the vegetables after purchase? I find myself losing track of when I buy and wondering if they become too old to be of any value.

  • Suzanne Foley

    Can you use prepared mustard in place of powdered mustard? to activate the enzyme not found in cooked frozen broccoli?

    • Thea

      Maybe not – since prepared mustard is cooked. What do you think?

  • shail

    how about mustard seeds ,do they work as same as mustard powder

  • Barbara

    So can I make broccoli soup for example and add the mustard powder at the end or as a condiment? Thanks

  • Franzi

    Hey Dr. Greger, can I grind mustard seeds and make my own mustard powder? :)

  • Bat Marty

    Dear Dr Greger, I was wondering: for how long after having cut them, Broccoli produce sulphoraphane? I sometimes cut them and them put them in my refrigerator..then I remember to eat them after several days…are they still protective? Also, is it true that cruciferous vegetables inhibit calcium absorption ? (I am wondering for my kid..) thank you!!

    • Thea

      Bat Marty: I can address the second question based on the book Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina, RDs who have been featured here on NutritionFacts. Their book is an awesome reference books for questions like this. They have list of foods that are relatively good sources of calcium and that list includes foods like broccoli and cauliflower. So, the general statement that cruciferous veggies inhibit calcium absorption appears to be untrue.
      What they do warn against, and I have seen elsewhere, is that the following four foods, while apparently high in calcium, are *not* good sources of calcium for humans: spinach, swiss chard, beet greens, and rhubarb. These foods are especially high in oxalates which bind up the calcium, meaning your body does not absorb all that calcium from the spinach.
      But NOTE, I have heard Brenda clarify that this does not mean that say spinach is binding up calcium in your body. Nor that spinach would even effect the calcium in say the broccoli that you eat in the same bit or meal. The oxalate in spinach is only binding up the calcium in the spinach. AND it is equally important to note that spinach is known to have many healthful qualities. So, there is no reason not to make spinach a part of your healthy diet. It just means that you won’t be relying on spinach (and swiss chard, etc) for your calcium.
      Does that help?

  • edwindjb

    I love this video too. I don’t understand why the precursor and the enzyme don’t form the sulforaphane until the broccoli is chopped. Does it need a third thing, like oxygen, to form the sulforaphane? Thank you for your time.

  • Amanda Victoria

    Would the enzymes still be present and preserved if I chopped and waited 40 minutes, and froze the broccoli/kale?

  • Jacob Groß

    Will adding mustard powder to broccoli when microwaving have the same effect as daikon radish? What do you think?

  • Liz Perez-Daple

    Is there any data about whether myrosinase from mustard seed gets broken down in the microwave? I put mustard powder, oregano, and garlic salt on my frozen broccoli in the morning, and then microwave it at lunch.

  • Levon

    How much chopping are we talking about? Is cutting up in florets enough. Or does it have to be food processor chopped?

  • Ernie

    Funny thing is, the Dutch traditional dish: ‘boerenkoolstampot’ = kale mashed patato dish is served with mustard :)

    The kale is not cooked, but heated by the cooked patato btw.

    • Thea

      Ernie: Interesting!

    • Thea

      Ernie: Interesting!

  • Ernie

    Funny thing is, the Dutch traditional dish: ‘boerenkoolstampot’ = kale mashed patato dish is served with mustard :)

    The kale is not cooked, but heated by the cooked patato btw.

  • jamesKelly

    But as this study showed unfortunately chopipng and leaving it for 6 hours results in a 75 perscent loss of glucosinolate ….the precursor for sulforafan

    Vegetables shredded finely showed a marked decline of glucosinolate level with post-shredding dwell time – up to 75% over 6 hours

  • Therese Hughes

    I know in his book Dr. Greger recommends cooking Cruciferous vegetables on the lowest temperature for the shortest amount of time, but how does he feel about roasting vegetables?

  • Bill Gabbert

    To get the highest amount of Sulforaphane you need to deactivate
    (myrosinase)..Heat in oven @ 150 for 10 min …Then chop to activate the
    enzyme. , that produces the Sulforaphane. See>

  • Bill Gabbert

    See You Tube Video ” How To Increase Sulforaphane in Broccoli Sprouts by ~3.5-fold”

  • Letizia

    Should I be concerned about goitrogenic foods consumption and my thyroid? What conclusion should I draw from this article?

    Nutr Rev. 2016 Apr;74(4):248-58. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuv110. Epub 2016 Mar 5.
    Concentrations of thiocyanate and goitrin in human plasma, their precursor concentrations in brassica vegetables, and associated potential risk for hypothyroidism.
    Felker P1, Bunch R2, Leung AM2.