We’ve previously reported on why broccoli is so great. Full of nutrients and antioxidants, it can help invigorate so many parts of our bodies. In recent years, one incredible compound found in broccoli, called sulforaphane, has gained a reputation as a super nutrient. Studies even show it is involved in blood sugar control and carries potential anti-cancer properties.
Broccoli contains a large amount of this chemical. Although, unfortunately when we cook the vegetable by boiling or microwaving the amount of sulforaphane we can absorb is seriously depleted. This is due to the super heat-sensitive nature of the compound and the enzymes that control it.
Stir fry that sulforaphane
But have no fear, the best option to get this super nutrient is not to start munching down on raw broccoli florets! A study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, was inspired by another technique to cook this vegetable: stir-frying.
The study stated: “Surprisingly, few methods have reported the sulforaphane concentrations in stir-fried broccoli, and to the best of our knowledge, no report has focused on sulforaphane stability in the stir-frying process.”
The broccoli was cut into two-millimeter pieces to release as much chemical activity as possible before being stir-fried. As the team suspected, this method of cooking was able to keep a much larger amount of sulforaphane intact compared to other cooking techniques.
Patience is key
Scientists also found that due to the stability of the sulforaphane, leaving the florets to sit after cutting them allowed for the highest amount of the compound to be absorbed. “Our results suggest that after cutting broccoli florets into small pieces, they should be left for about 90 minutes before cooking,” the team concluded, adding that they didn’t test it but thought “30 minutes would also be helpful.”
So there you go, with time and a wok you have all you need to get the most out of your broccoli.
Source study: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry – Hydrolysis before Stir-Frying Increases the Isothiocyanate Content of Broccoli