Broccoli: keep it raw for best health benefits

Broccoli may be better for you if left uncookedRaw broccoli may be better for your health than a cooked version of the vegetable, according to new research.

A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry suggests that when broccoli is cooked, it reduces the amount of sulforaphane absorbed by the body, reports.

Sulforaphane is an anti-carcinogen which some researchers believe can help prevent cancer.

Dutch scientists compared the sulforaphane content in raw and cooked broccoli and found that the raw vegetable offered 37 percent bioavailability, compared with 3.4 percent after cooking.

They measured bioavailability by feeding broccoli to a group of participants, then measuring the levels of sulforaphane in their blood and urine.

“Consumption of raw broccoli resulted in faster absorption, higher bioavailability, and higher peak plasma amounts of sulforaphane, compared to cooked broccoli,” the team wrote, according to the news provider.

In 2005, research published in the journal Phytochemistry suggested that the healthiest way to prepare broccoli was to steam it lightly for three to four minutes. This method was found to maximize sulforaphane release from the vegetable.