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Understanding the Difference Between Broccoli & Broccoli Sprouts

Love it or hate it, it’s no secret that broccoli is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. This dark green vegetable hails from the cabbage family, but it can be consumed in a few different ways.

In this article, we’re taking a look at the differences between broccoli and broccoli sprouts, and why a combination of both is optimal for wellness.

All About Broccoli

Broccoli is packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, protein, fiber, calcium, and potassium. Italian immigrants introduced this vegetable to the U.S., and it started gaining popularity here in the 1920s. It’s easy to find in markets year-around and easy to prepare. You can eat broccoli raw, boil it, steam it, grill it, or add it into casserole, salad, and stir-fry recipes.

Photo credit: Mike Mozart via Flickr

All About Broccoli Sprouts

Broccoli sprouts have gained popularity recently because they contain abundant myrosinase, which is an enzyme required to produce a beneficial component called sulforaphane. Regular broccoli has these components too, but some of them are diminished as the plant ages and get destroyed in the cooking process.

Sprouts are excellent dietary choices because they contain a concentrated precursor source of sulforaphane, which means you don’t need to eat as much mature broccoli to get the same effect. The downside is that broccoli sprouts can be difficult to find in your local supermarket, and also more expensive. Another thing to consider is that sprouts don’t necessarily have all of the vitamins and nutrients of fully matured broccoli. Studies have shown that broccoli sprouts tend to be more easily absorbed in the body, but that a synergistic effect is created when broccoli sprouts and broccoli powder were combined.

Photo credit: Julie Gibbons via Flickr

At Seagate, we offer broccoli sprouts in capsule form that have a 20X concentration of the original raw plant. This means that one 250 mg. capsule is the equivalent of 5 grams of raw broccoli.

We grow organic broccoli in a remote river valley with a very labor-intensive process that requires the transplanting of each individual seedling by hand to our farm after the initial month of growth in our greenhouse. For all of our broccoli, we use well-water for irrigation and fish fertilizer concentrate as the only soil additive.

Seagate’s broccoli sprout greenhouse

Then we harvest our sprouts by hand before they reach maturity to achieve a maximum level of phytonutrients. Using freeze-drying and cryogenic-grinding techniques, we ensure that the powder that goes into these capsules is never exposed to heat in order to retain the maximum amount of nutrients from the raw vegetable.

Other Forms of Broccoli

However, there are even more options available for getting these valuable nutrients than just broccoli and broccoli sprouts. For example, Chinese broccoli is a leafy green vegetable commonly sold at Asian markets and has flat leaves with thick stems.

Broccolini is a newer hybrid vegetable that is a cross between regular broccoli and Chinese broccoli. It has long stalks, small florets, and a milder taste than its parent types. Surprisingly, broccoli rabe is actually related to the turnip family of vegetables and isn’t really broccoli at all. This vegetable has an earthy and bitter taste and is often used in Italian cuisine.

No matter which type of broccoli you prefer, there’s really no unhealthy variety of this vegetable…as long as it’s grown organically and not doused with calorie-heavy sauces. Eating a mix of various types of broccoli is the best way to go, and of course, concentrated capsules can help you conveniently consume more of it on a regular basis.

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