Photo of fresh wasbi
Wasabi is just one of a number of spicy foods that can boost the cancer-fighting properties of broccoli [Image: ZAC - Wikimedia Commons]

Spice up your broccoli for a healthy bonus

13 September, 2011

Spicing up your broccoli can boost its already impressive cancer-fighting properties.

In a study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, teaming broccoli with a food that contains an cancer-fighting enzyme called myrosinase – which can be found in spicy things like  mustard, horseradish or wasabi – significantly enhances each food’s individual cancer-fighting power. It also ensures that absorption takes place in the upper part of the digestive system where you’ll get the maximum health benefit.

Scientists say that as little as three to five servings of broccoli a week provide a cancer-protective benefit. But say the researchers, the more spicy you can make them, the more benefit you will get – and the benefits can be measures in your blood within 30 minutes of eating.

Many of us steam broccoli lightly for two to four minutes to protect its healthful properties, but in his study even if broccoli was overcooked, pairing it with another food that contains myrosinase amplified it’s benefits.

Other foods that will boost broccoli’s benefits if they are paired together include raw broccoli sprouts, radishes, cabbage, arugula, watercress, and Brussels sprouts.