“Detox” is a big buzz word in the health community. Prior to pregnancy, it is essential to decrease our exposure to toxic compounds such as mercury, dioxins, and PCBS which will affect your growing baby. I suggest that in the year prior to pregnancy you focus on decreasing exposure and optimizing your body’s detoxification to get rid of those toxins. The major organ involved in the detox process is the liver. There are so many advertised shakes and supplements that can help you up regulate the detoxification enzymes in the liver. Sulforaphane is a compound that is one of the most potent up-regulators of these enzymes. And where do you find sulforaphane? Broccoli, my friends. That’s right, broccoli.

Broccoli is a great source of sulforaphane. However, you have to make sure to chew your broccoli well in order to ingest this amazing compound. Sulforaphane is formed when the enzyme myrosinase mixes with a compound called glucoraphanin. Myrosinase and glucoraphanin are kept in separate parts of the broccoli’s cells. These compounds are brought together when you chew and crush the cell wall of the broccoli, allowing sulforaphane to form. Another reason why you should eat slowly and chew, chew, chew your food! If cooking broccoli, be sure to chop the broccoli first to allow this reaction to happen. Cooking broccoli actually destroys the myrosinase enzyme. Chop, let sit for 40 minutes, and then cook.

One of my go-to soups in medical school? Panera’s broccoli cheddar soup in a bread bowl…..hmmmmm. Now in my non-dairy ways, I have found a substitute. Here is a delicious, vegan version which is my new favorite. Enjoy!!!!

Dr. Jyoti Mathews