How broccoli can help you absorb caffeine faster

June 11, 2023 0 Comments

According to clinical psychologist and board-certified sleep specialist Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., aka “the sleep doctor,” caffeine has a half-life of six to eight hours. This means that if you stop drinking it at 2:00 p.m., only 50% of it will be out of your body by 10:00 p.m. That’s why Breus recommends avoiding caffeine in the early afternoon if possible.

However, Breus explained during a recent roundtable discussion on the science of sleep, “if you’re drinking caffeine late at night, broccoli can help you absorb it faster.”

It sounds absurd, but stay with me here! According to a 2007 study published in a peer-reviewed journal Current drug metabolism, broccoli caused liver cytochrome P4501 enzymes that helped metabolize caffeine in the participants. For context, they ate 500 grams of broccoli (about five and a half cups of chopped broccoli) and 100 milligrams of caffeine in pill form (that’s about the caffeine in one cup of coffee).

A recent meta-analysis of 23 dietary intervention trials shows that cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, as well as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, radishes, and watercress also support the metabolism of certain substances2. (Also, these cruciferous vegetables are nutrient-dense and therefore stellar for other reasons.) Interestingly, the P450 enzyme particularly affected by these vegetables was CYP1A2, which is also the primary enzyme in the metabolism of caffeine!

“So if you’re having a late-night latte, just order steamed broccoli,” Breus suggests. Eating these steamed cruciferous vegetables limits the likelihood of bloating—something you also want to keep in mind before bed, of course!

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