Yes, it is well-known that broccoli, especially broccoli sprouts, have compounds that are highly effective in fighting certain cancers and inflammation. However, did you ever wonder if broccoli would make a good sunscreen? The fact is, it very well may. According to research, there is a specific component of broccoli that is extremely beneficial in preventing sun-induced skin damage.
In a small study conducted by researchers from John Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, broccoli extract applied topically to the skin reduced redness and inflammation from UVB rays by an average of 37 percent—ranging anywhere between 8 percent and 78 percent depending on the person. The protective component in broccoli—sulforaphane, which may also show promise in treating autism—is absorbed directly into the cells and continues to protect the skin for multiple days, unlike conventional sunscreen. Granted, this study was extremely limited, but the results are promising. This technique would work by encouraging the activation of the body’s own cancer-fighting mechanisms, rather than blocking the sun’s rays—along with important vitamin D production.
Researcher Sally Dickinson leads the way in further sulforaphane research, testing broccoli extract on humans with wider spectrums of light. One word of caution: simply smearing a puree of broccoli sprouts over your skin isn’t going to do it. The compound needs to first be activated, so smothering yourself with broccoli, while fun, will offer no sun protection.
Although the science hasn’t fully backed broccoli-based sun protection just yet, eating broccoli and broccoli sprouts confers plenty of anticancer benefits. But in the future, we may be protecting our skin inside and out with the power of broccoli.
So what do you think? Along with eating your greens, are you on board with wearing them as well.