The more commonly known cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, and kale, but there are many others in this family, such as collard greens, watercress, bok choy, kohlrabi, rutabaga, turnips, arugula, radishes (including horseradish), wasabi, and all types of cabbage.
Cruciferous vegetables can potentially prevent DNA damage and metastatic cancer spread, activate defenses against pathogens and pollutants, help to prevent lymphoma, boost your liver detox enzymes, target breast cancer stem cells, and reduce the risk of prostate cancer progression. The component responsible for these benefits is thought to be sulforaphane, which is formed almost exclusively in cruciferous vegetables.
Beyond being a promising anticancer agent, sulforaphane may also help protect your brain and your eyesight, reduce nasal allergy inflammation, manage type 2 diabetes, and was recently found to successfully help treat autism. A placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized trial of boys with autism found that about two to three cruciferous vegetable servings’ worth of sulforaphane a day improves social interaction, abnormal behavior, and verbal communication within a matter of weeks. The researchers, primarily from Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University, suggest that the effect might be due to sulforaphane’s role as a “detoxicant.”
For all these reasons, cruciferous vegetables get their own spot on my Daily Dozen, which recommends at least one serving of cruciferous vegetables and at least two additional servings of other vegetables a day, cruciferous or otherwise.
Indeed, if you were to add only one thing to your diet, consider cruciferous vegetables. Less than a single serving a day of broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, or kale may cut the risk of cancer progression by more than half.
The information on this page has been compiled from Dr. Greger’s research. Sources for each video listed can be found by going to the video’s page and clicking on the Sources Cited tab. References may also be found at the back of his books.
Image Credit: Pixabay. This image has been modified.
Popular Videos for Cruciferous Vegetables
All Videos for Cruciferous Vegetables
The Food That Can Downregulate a Metastatic Cancer Gene
Women with breast cancer should include the “liberal culinary use of cruciferous vegetables.”
Does Pressure Cooking Preserve Nutrients?
How Dr. Greger pressure steams his greens.
Recipe: Veggie Mac & Cheese
A cruciferous spin on macaroni and cheese, this recipe takes comfort food to a whole new level, and is a tasty way to check off a few servings on the Daily Dozen checklist. This recipe comes from Kristina, our Social Media Director.
How to Cook Greens
Dark green leafy vegetables are the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. What’s the best way to prepare them?
Best Way to Cook Vegetables
Boiling, steaming, microwaving, air frying, and sous vide cooking are put to the test for nutrient retention.
Best Brain Foods: Berries & Nuts Put to the Test
Randomized controlled studies put nuts, berries, and grape juice to the test for cognitive function.
Benefits of Cabbage Leaves for Relief of Engorged Breasts
Cabbage is put to the test in a randomized controlled trial.
How to Win the War on Cancer
How effective is chemotherapy for colon, lung, breast, and prostate cancers?
Benefits of Cabbage Leaves on the Knee for Osteoarthritis
Unbelievably, a randomized controlled trial of cabbage leaf wraps for arthritis was published.
The Benefits of Kale & Cabbage for Cholesterol
Dinosaur kale and red cabbage are put to the test.
Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen Checklist
In my book How Not to Die, I center my recommendations around a Daily Dozen checklist of everything I try to fit into my daily routine.
Autism & Casein from Cow’s Milk
Casomorphins—breakdown products of casein, a milk protein, with opiate-like activity—may help explain why autism symptoms sometimes improve with a dairy-free diet.