Cruciferous vegetables are part of the Brassicaceae family (cabbage family) of vegetables, which include broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and bok choy – to name a few. These vegetables are extremely nutritious as they are high in phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Eating them raw or lightly steamed helps to maintain their highly nutritious quality.
Some of the vitamins contained in cruciferous vegetables are: vitamins E and C (anti-oxidants), vitamin K (necessary for proper blood clotting), vitamin B-1 and vitamin A. Many studies have been done which indicate that regularly eating cruciferous vegetables can help lower the risk of cancer, particularly breast cancer and prostate cancer, mostly due to the high level of phytochemicals. The anti-inflammatory qualities of cruciferous vegetables are very important, as recent medical science findings indicate that many of today’s common degenerative diseases are linked to inflammation.
The top 3 cruciferous vegetables:
- Broccoli contains a long list of vitamins and minerals including high amounts of vitamins C, K, A and folate. It is also very good for the digestive system, as it contains a good amount of fiber. The phytonutrients in broccoli can protect the health of our stomach lining by helping to prevent excess bacteria from building up on the walls of the stomach. Broccoli also has anti-inflammatory properties, which add to its value as a super healthy veggie.
- Cabbage also has a long list of vitamins and minerals. There are many different varieties of cabbage, and each one contains varying amounts of these nutrients. Cabbage has been shown to help lower cholesterol (particularly if it is lightly steamed), help support the lining of the stomach and intestines, and reduce inflammation.
- Cauliflower is perhaps not as popular as broccoli and cabbage, but has many of the same wonderful nutrients and qualities: anti-inflammatory, contains high fiber and supports the digestive system. Cauliflower also has antioxidant qualities, which fight free radicals, and it is detoxifying, which can help us avoid disease.
Science is showing that eating green vegetables can be very beneficial for us by protecting our DNA, stimulating the natural defense system in our cells, reducing free radicals and decreasing inflammation. On his website, Dr. Joel Fuhrman discusses very specifically how the phytochemicals in cruciferous vegetables can lower the risk of cancer (visit Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Website here). He states that cruciferous vegetables have phytochemicals with unique properties and superior benefits. They can modify human hormones, detoxify, and by preventing the toxins from attaching to human DNA, they prevent cell damage that can lead to cancer. In Dr. Fuhrman’s words: “Eating a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables is your best defense for fighting and preventing cancer”.
When you shop for groceries – don’t overlook those marvelous super healthy cruciferous veggies! They can be one of your best allies in maintaining great health. The versatility of these vegetables is terrific – they can be eaten raw without any fancy preparation; lightly steamed; made into marvelous salads; lightly cooked into a stir-fry with your favorite meat, seafood, tempeh or nuts; juiced; or added to your favorite green smoothie (try kale)! There are many other benefits to buying cruciferous veggies: the cost is usually very economical, they are always low glycemic (keeps blood sugar balanced) and gluten free, there’s no added sugar or fat, and there’s no ingredients list to decipher! With kale – there are many terrific recipes for Kale Chips that can be made using either a dehydrator or the lowest setting of the oven. A great nutritious snack!
Are you overwhelmed with all the marketing information about food? Are you interested in learning more about which foods are the most nutrient dense, and the healthiest? Contact me – let’s work together to take your health to the next level!
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