Vegetables such as kale, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower, and kohlrabi are all members of the cabbage family – otherwise known as Cruciferae. Interestingly enough, this word is a Latins derivative signifying how the leaves of the vegetable resemble a cross. Each of these vegetables contains phytochemicals, minerals, vitamins, and fiber in various amounts that help in keeping our body healthy.
All health professionals strongly recommend a daily serving of cruciferous vegetables along with our diet to adequately supplement the nutrient requirements of our body.
Several studies suggest that components present in cruciferous vegetables have been proven to reduce the risk of different types of cancer. They can potentially reduce the growth of cancer-inducing cells in many parts of the body such as the tissue of the breast, the lining of the uterus, cervical canal, bladder, liver, and lungs.
Additionally, some research reveals a significantly lower risk of prostate cancer in those who regularly incorporate cruciferous vegetables in their diet.
This group of vegetables is also known as Brassicaceae, and they display anti-inflammatory properties due to certain chemicals present in them. They also serve to detoxify enzymes that show carcinogenic properties and eliminate cancer cells. Incorporating a serving of these vegetables around twice or thrice weekly into our diets substantially reduces the chances of the occurrence of any form of cancer in our bodies.
Several studies have shown that the optimum way to ward off cancer and its causative agents is through the modification of dietary habits. Incorporation of cruciferous vegetables which are enhanced with various nutrients work together to block off the different paths that cancer cells take to manifest. The consumption of such vegetables and the bioactive compounds that they contain points towards a significant decrease and prevention of the uncontrolled growth of cells which leads to cancerous tumors.
The consumption of these vegetables is beneficial in the sense that they serve to not only prevent cancer but also many other detrimental biological processes.
These vegetables also benefit us by reducing oxidative stress – which is the accumulation of harmful free radicals that are generated by our body. Reducing oxidative stress ultimately leads to the lowering of the risk of many types of cancers.
Cruciferous vegetables are growing more and more popular due to the fact that there is substantial evidence on how they help in the betterment of health and in the reduction of various chronic disorders
It is best to consume these vegetables uncooked or slightly steamed to retain the bioactive compounds that make cruciferous vegetables so beneficial in terms of health.
Diets rich in vegetables such as cruciferous and those which are colored dark-yellow also have been proven to help to protect against many types of cardiovascular disease. A recent study found that a diet supplemented with such vegetables was linked to lower levels of inflammation in the body. These markers, when present, often signal an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Among the cruciferous veggies, kale is known to have the highest content of vitamin A, broccoli of vitamin C and Brussel sprouts contain high amounts of folic acid and vitamin E. Broccoli and Brussel sprouts also have a significant amount of healthy omega 3 fatty acids – all of which fall into the category of the daily recommended nutrition value intake
Here are some tips to enjoy your cruciferous veggies and derive optimum amounts of nutrition!
- Try not to overcook your cruciferous vegetables. They contain strong sulfur compounds that get broken down and produce an odour and that makes them unappealing.
- You can find several types of cruciferous vegetables in almost every supermarket or grocery store – you can buy them fresh or frozen as you would like
- No raw veggie platter is complete without dark green broccoli or snowy white cauliflower florets – the contrast in colours is not only a visually appealing factor but also a nutrient-lending one!
- The addition of raw broccoli or cauliflower florets to your green salad gives it a big boost of nutrients
- You can add these veggies to soups, salads, pasta, bakes, and casseroles
- When you are buying fresh broccoli, look for firm florets with a purple, dark green, or bluish hue on the top. They’re likely to contain more of the bioactive compounds like beta-carotene and vitamin C than florets with tops that are a lighter shade of green. If it has yellow in it or is limp and bends easily, the broccoli is old and you should refrain from buying it.
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Written by: Jahnabee Adhikari
Jahnabee is a part-time blogger, full-time dog lover. She believes that writing actually possesses the potential to change the world. She can be often found fantasizing about poetry or buried nose-deep in a Sudha Murthy novel.