If you as a consumer want the full health benefits of broccoli avoid the frozen variety or check that was heated at only 76C, as new research says frozen broccoli lacks cancer-fighting properties.
A team of U.S. scientists has found that blanching or cooking the vegetable at high heat — part of the flash-freezing process — zapped the broccoli of myrosinase, a key enzyme needed to produce sulforaphane, the powerful cancer-preventive compound.
Sulforaphane is formed when fresh broccoli is chopped or chewed, a process that puts glucoraphanin and myrosinase into contact with one another.
Scientists from the University of Illinois noted after a series of experiments that blanching the vegetables at a slightly lower temperature than the current industry standard could help preserve most of the enzyme myrosinase without compromising food safety and quality. Instead of 86C, scientists recommend heating the broccoli at 76C.
But not all is lost when it comes to frozen broccoli. The cancer-fighting compound can be unlocked in both its frozen and cooked state when paired with other foods that contain myrosinase.
For example, team frozen broccoli with raw radishes, cabbage, arugula, watercress, horseradish, spicy mustard or wasabi to give the bioactive compounds a kickstart, scientists say.
As little as three to five servings of broccoli a week has been shown to have a cancer-protective benefit.
The full study was published in the Journal of Food Science and can be found at http://bit.ly/1erOG3W.