Cruciferous Vegetables

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The best known members of the cruciferous family of vegetables are bok choy, broccoli, broccoli sprouts, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, radishes, turnips, and watercress.

Cruciferous vegetables are considered to be a good source of antioxidants and may be able to activate a key receptor on our intestinal immune cells that helps fight pathogens and toxins. Cruciferous vegetables may boost our liver’s detoxifying enzymes, an effect that can last for weeks. The Harvard Nurse’s study reported that high consumption of cruciferous and green leafy vegetables were related to less cognitive decline.

Cruciferous vegetables are considered one of the top two vegetable families that appear to aid cancer prevention (along with allium family vegetables like garlic and onions). Cruciferous vegetable intake appears to be linked to reduced risk of prostate cancer progression, breast cancer recurrence, and bladder cancer .  Broccoli may help reduce the spread of lung cancer cellsSulforaphane, a dietary component of cruciferous vegetables, may inhibit breast cancer stem cells.

How you prepare cruciferous vegetables may affect the health impact. For example, kale may be more beneficial cooked than raw. When cooking cruciferous vegetables, to maximize levels of sulforaphane (which may protect our brain and eyesight, protect against free radicals, induce our detoxification enzymes, and help to prevent and even treat cancer), it is recommended to either pre-chop the vegetables at least 40 minutes ahead of cooking or add a pinch of mustard powder during the cooking process.

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