Surprising Food Offers Hope for Schizophrenia

People suffering from schizophrenia may find help in a surprising place: broccoli sprouts. That’s because new research found that one of the compounds found in this highly nutritious food may help to reset the brain chemistry of those suffering from the disease.

Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels and behaves. People with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality. Symptoms usually begin between the ages of 16 and 30 but, in some cases, children under 16 may have schizophrenia. Some of the most common symptoms include: hallucinations, delusions, unusual or dysfunctional ways of thinking, agitated body movements, reduced expression of emotions through facial expression or tone of voice, reduced feelings of pleasure in life, difficulty beginning and sustaining activities, and reduced speaking.

Johns Hopkins University conducted a series of studies, ultimately discovering that broccoli sprouts contain a powerful substance known as sulforaphane, which can reset brain chemistry imbalance linked to schizophrenia. Broccoli microgreens and full-size broccoli also contain this potent nutrient.

In the study, the researchers found that those suffering from schizophrenia may have imbalances in the brain linked to glutamate, which can be altered by administering sulforaphane from broccoli sprouts. The researchers hope that supplementing with broccoli sprout extract may eventually allow those people suffering from schizophrenia to reduce the antipsychotic medications needed to control the disease.

Glutamate is involved in sending messages between brain cells and is linked to schizophrenia as well as depression. Discovering that broccoli sprouts can alter glutamate levels offers hope for both people with schizophrenia as well as those suffering from depression. While more research is necessary to determine how much broccoli sprout extract may be needed to control the condition, the sprouts and microgreens are so delicious and easy to obtain that it is worth adding them to your diet.

In addition to their potential brain health benefits, there are other great reasons to eat broccoli sprouts or broccoli microgreens: In a study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry researchers at the University of Maryland found that microgreens contained up to forty times as many nutrients as their full-grown vegetable counterparts. The study found that microgreen leaves can contain up to 40 times more nutrients like vitamin C, carotenoids (beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin), and vitamin E, than their mature counterparts.

Broccoli sprouts and microgreens, like their full-grown counterparts are also high in vitamin K, which is an antioxidant that helps to destroy harmful free radicals linked to aging or disease. It is also critical to building strong bones and is also involved in healthy blood clotting because it is required to make blood-clotting factors in your body. If you bleed excessively, you may be deficient in vitamin K. The nutrient is also involved in preventing heart disease—insufficient vitamin K may cause the blood vessels to become hard and narrowed with deposits. Vitamin K also has anticancer properties, making it useful in the prevention or treatment of the disease.

Another way broccoli sprouts or microgreens may exert their beneficial effect on schizophrenia may be through the gut. Research shows that the health of your gut is significantly influenced by what you eat. A study assessed 15096 fecal samples provided by 11336 people, published in the journal of the American Society for Microbiology, found some exciting facts about gut health and the microbiome, which is the total of all the microbes in a living being. We each have a microbiome and no two microbiomes are alike, although there can be some similarities between them. The microbiome is a sort of microbial fingerprint. And, thanks to the new research, we have greater insight into the effect of diet on our microbiome and how it may impact brain diseases like schizophrenia.

The research found that the gut bacteria of people suffering from mental health issues like schizophrenia were more similar to others suffering from mental disorders than to those who do not suffer from mental disorders. While the scientists conducting the study did not draw any conclusions, there may be a possible connection between gut health and mental health. Certainly, other research suggests that is indeed the case.

As an added bonus, eating more broccoli sprouts or microgreens will likely boost your eye health, too. That’s because broccoli sprouts and microgreens are rich in a wide range of vision-protecting nutrients, including: alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, rutin and zeaxanthin.

 

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM shares her food growing, cooking, preserving, and other food self-sufficiency adventures at FoodHouseProject.com. She is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: The Cultured Cook: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight & Extend Your Life. Follow her work.

 

 

46 comments

hELEN hEARFIELD
hELEN hEARFIELD17 days ago

tyfs

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Mary T
Mary T22 days ago

interesting subject matter. might have to grow some broccoli sprouts

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Peter B
Peter B27 days ago

TYFS

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Thomas M
Thomas Mabout a month ago

thank you

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Diane E
Diane Eabout a month ago

Interesting.

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Danuta W
Danuta Watolaabout a month ago

Thanks for sharing

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Richard E Cooley
Richard E Cooleyabout a month ago

Thank you.

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JoAnn P
JoAnn Parisabout a month ago

Thank you for this very interesting article.

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Paulo Reeson
Paulo Rabout a month ago

ty

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Muriel S
Muriel Servaegeabout a month ago

Thank you!

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