Sorting out the Value of Cruciferous Sprouts as Sources of Bioactive Compounds for Nutrition and Health.

Nutrients. 2019;11(2)

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Plain language summary

Vegetable sprouts are naturally rich in nutrients and other beneficial compounds. The sprouts of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, radish and pak choi, stand out due to their high contents of glucosinolates and phenolic compounds. The aim of this review was to compile and update the available knowledge on the production, nutritional composition, and health benefits of cruciferous sprouts. A number of studies have found that compounds found in cruciferous sprouts have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant capacities. Consumption of cruciferous sprouts contributes to healthy glucose, insulin and fat levels in the blood, and may be beneficial for the treatment of some metabolic disorders, such as type 2 diabetes. There is evidence that compounds in cruciferous sprouts are a useful tool for enhancing phase II enzymes in the liver, and benefit levels of interleukine-6, C-reactive protein, and tumour necrosis factor-α, and inhibition of NF-κB, among others. The active compounds in these sprouts have an influence on several cardiovascular processes, potentially reducing the risk of several diseases. The lack of consistency between studies with regard to sampling schedules, doses, sample size, etc. means that it is not possible at this time to state the effective dose of sprouts or their active compounds needed in order to achieve health benefits. Further research is needed in this area.


Edible sprouts with germinating seeds of a few days of age are naturally rich in nutrients and other bioactive compounds. Among them, the cruciferous (Brassicaceae) sprouts stand out due to their high contents of glucosinolates (GLSs) and phenolic compounds. In order to obtain sprouts enriched in these phytochemicals, elicitation is being increasing used as a sustainable practice. Besides, the evidence regarding the bioavailability and the biological activity of these compounds after their dietary intake has also attracted growing interest in recent years, supporting the intake of the natural food instead of enriched ingredients or extracts. Also, there is a growing interest regarding their uses, consumption, and applications for health and wellbeing, in different industrial sectors. In this context, the present review aims to compile and update the available knowledge on the fundamental aspects of production, enrichment in composition, and the benefits upon consumption of diverse edible cruciferous sprouts, which are sources of phenolic compounds and glucosinolates, as well as the evidence on their biological actions in diverse pathophysiological situations and the molecular pathways involved.

Lifestyle medicine

Patient Centred Factors : Mediators/Cruciferous sprouts
Environmental Inputs : Nutrients
Personal Lifestyle Factors : Nutrition
Functional Laboratory Testing : Not applicable
Bioactive Substances : Phytochemicals ; Glucosinolates ; Antioxidants

Methodological quality

Allocation concealment : Not applicable
Publication Type : Journal Article ; Review