Broccoli sprouts come from 3-4 day old broccoli plants and resemble alfalfa sprouts. They should always be eaten fresh with other salad vegetables, not cooked, and have a most pleasant tangy flavor. Although, it is important to note that broccoli sprouts may be contaminated with E. coli or salmonella and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires commercial farmers to follow seed sanitation protocols.
Scientists at Johns Hopkins Medical School published a study in 1997, "Broccoli sprouts: An exceptionally rich source of enzymes that protect against chemical carcinogens," reinforcing what mothers have known for generations -- broccoli is a very important food. Uncertainty remains on exactly how much of the plant enzyme is needed long term for true cancer protection.1
Broccoli and broccoli sprouts contain vitamin K and therefore may affect your INR. One has to assume that broccoli sprouts have a similar amount of vitamin K as their adult counterparts or 200-270 mcgs per 3 ½ oz serving which should raise the flag to eat this vegetable in moderation. Patients should be cautious and have their INR checked at regular intervals.
- Brennan P, et al. Effect of cruciferous vegetables on lung cancer in patients stratified by genetic status: a mendelian randomisation approach Lancet. 2005 Oct 29-Nov 4;366(9496):1558-60.