In this post, you’ll learn about cruciferous vegetables and get the list of foods you can add to your meals.
Cruciferous vegetables are classified under “dark-green vegetables” for the leafy greens and the “other vegetables” for non-leafy varieties.
These nutritious vegetables are low in calories and rich in vitamins. For example, vitamins C, E, and K, and carotenoids. They also contain flavonols, folate, dietary fiber, and minerals!
What are cruciferous vegetables?
Cruciferous vegetables are under the Brassica genus of the plant kingdom. It is derived from the Latin word “Cruciferae.” This refers to its four-petals that similarly looks like a cross.
They possess a sulfur-containing chemical called glucosinates. This makes it taste bitter with a pungent aroma.
A few examples of these vegetables are: arugula, broccoli, Brussels sprout sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, horseradish and rutabaga.
Benefits of cruciferous vegetables
Glucosinates are processed during food preparation, chewing, and digestion. Then, it produces indoles, nitriles, thiocyanates, and isothiocyanates.
The biologically active compounds indole (Indole-3-carbinol) and isothiocyanate (sulforaphane) have anti-cancer properties. That is how unique cruciferous vegetables are.
In animal studies, these biologically-active compounds delay cancer cells’ development in various organs of the body. For example, the colon, bladder, breast, lung, liver, and stomach.
Indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane play several roles in fighting cancer, as it:
- Contains antioxidants, antiviral and antibacterial properties.
- Hinders or stops angiogenesis and metastatic activities.
- Provides extra protection to our cells to prevent DNA damage.
- Prevents apoptosis (cell suicide)
- Detoxifies and inactivates the activity of carcinogens (cancer-causing substances)
Here’s the thing: no one on Earth wants to live with cancer. This disease has caused millions of deaths worldwide due to lifestyle, behavioral, or dietary factors.
And besides that it can threaten your life, living with this disease is so expensive. For many years, finding a natural cure is one of the most significant challenges for researchers.
Lately, plant sources that were believed to have anti-cancer properties have caught these researchers’ attention studying cancer prevention.
Such discovery was narrowed down to a classification called cruciferous vegetables. Research revealed that cruciferous vegetables have the potential to reduce oxidative stress in the body.
Oxidative stress is the production of free radicals that are deemed harmful for your body, increasing your risk of having cancer.
According to experts, the glucosinates found in cruciferous vegetables can prevent or stop cancer cells’ growth in the breast, lung, cervix, uterine lining, colon, and liver.
Another study revealed that men whose diet is high in cruciferous vegetables have a lower risk of developing prostate cancer.
Learn more: 10 health benefits of cruciferous vegetables.
Nutritional properties of cruciferous vegetables
Here are more reasons to appreciate cruciferous vegetables and their potential for fighting cancer.
Otherwise, known as ascorbic acid, protects the cells’ DNA from oxidative stress and carcinogenic activities.
Commonly called tocopherol or Alpha-tocopherol, this vitamin is an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals to prevent cell damage.
Are antioxidants that prevent cell damage caused by free radicals.
Is a naturally-occurring form of vitamin B9 that helps maintain the health of the DNAs in the body.
Dietary fiber aids in nutrient absorption in the digestive system. And it helps alters toxic compounds to make it less harmful for the body. It also helps to sweep cancer-causing compounds out of the gut.
These are phytochemical compounds that influence gene expression. But that’s not all. They also increase antioxidants’ production, anti-inflammatory, and carcinogen-deactivating enzymes in the cell.
As per dietary recommendations, adults need a daily amount of vegetables for at least 2½ cups.
Two cups of raw leafy cruciferous vegetables are equivalent to 1-cup vegetable servings. One cup of raw and cooked non-leafy cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower is equal to 1-cup vegetable serving.
Your overall vegetable intake should not be limited to only cruciferous vegetables.
However, it is encouraged that you would want to have it incorporated into your daily diet to get the maximum health benefits.
Remember to follow the basic principles of consuming a healthy diet: Balance, Variety, and Moderation are the keys!
Cruciferous vegetables list: 55 foods
|Branching bush kale|
|Marrow stem kale|
Cruciferous vegetables are known for their potential to fight against different types of cancers and lower your risk of getting cancer.
Nutritionally, cruciferous vegetables are low in calories and packed with antioxidants.
Adding these foods to your diet is an excellent way to maximize their healthful benefits. Provided with the list of cruciferous vegetables above, you will indeed have a lot to choose from!