Cruciferous Vegetables Rock!

Cabbages of all kinds (green, Napa, red, bok choy, daikon)……mustard, collard, & turnip greens…..broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kohlrabi, kale, horseradish………

These are the cruciferous vegetables.  When these plants go to seed and flower, they all produce a cross-like, four-petal design.  Crucifer is the Latin word for “cross-bearer”.

This family of vegetables can be quite pungent, but they can be prepared in ways that really please the palate.  Think tasty coleslaw, roasted Brussels sprouts & cauliflower (scoot on over to Recipes!), broccoli & raisin salad, greens in soups and stews, etc.

Aside from taste, cruciferous vegetables rock as cancer prevention foods.  Sulfur-containing compounds are found in these vegetables, as well as other beneficial substances made from the sulfur compounds.

*Indole-3-Carbinol (a substance made from a sulfur-containing compound) encourages beneficial estrogens, and opposes dangerous estrogens, that are metabolized in the liver.  This decreases the risk of developing estrogen-dependent cancers of the uterus and breast.

*Sulforaphane (a sulfur-containing compound) has been studied extensively as a cancer preventative.  It has been found to be protective against stomach cancer.

*Enzymes found in cruciferous vegetables (such as glutathione transferase) aid in liver detoxification.  Even if we are exposed to toxic substances, these vegetables can assist our bodies in detoxifying and eliminating them.

This is a great time of the year to enjoy these hearty, cold-weather veggies.  They can make a great “focus dish” or subtle, nutrient-dense additions to soups, stews, and casseroles.

Rock on!

Source:  The World’s Healthiest Foods by George Mateljan

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