What are cruciferous vegetables?
Cruciferous vegetables are a quite controversial topic in the world of nutrition and nutritional food. While some claim that these vegetables can kill cancer cells and balance hormones, others argue that they are hard on your digestive system and can disrupt thyroid function. Let’s have a look at them and see what we need to know about cruciferous vegetables.
Cruciferous vegetables are vegetables of the family Brassicaceae (also called crucifera) and they contain phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals, and fiber that are important to our health. In fact, health professionals recommend that we eat several servings per week of cruciferous vegetables – and for good reason.
They are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They also contain indole-3-carbinol (I3C) and other important natural phytochemicals. These elements change the way estrogen is metabolized and may prevent estrogen-driven cancers. They also provide tremendous support to the liver for detoxification. Chopping or chewing cruciferous vegetables results in the formation of these bio-active products.
Reasons to eat cruciferous vegetables
Lower risk of cancer
Various components in cruciferous vegetables have been linked to lower cancer risks. Some have shown the ability to stop the growth of cancer cells for tumors of the breasts, uterine lining, lung, colon, liver and cervix (according to the American Institute for Cancer Research).
Reduce oxidative stress and inflammation
Another very important way these vegetables protect against cancer is by reducing the oxidative stress in the cells. Oxidative stress is tghe overload of harmful free radicals, which are generated by the body. Reducing these will hel reduce the risk of different cancers.
Diets rich in wild fatty fish and cruciferous vegetables are known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by reducing the levels of markesr of inflammation in the body.
Regulate blood sugar
Cruciferous vegetables supply a high amount of dietary fiber and fiber it is known to slow the absorbtion of sugar in the bloodstream, preventing spikes and crashes in blood sugar.
Promote wight loss
Because of their low caloric content and the high amount of dietary fibre, they can support weight loss and reduction of body fat.
As we all know, too much estrogen in women (especially during menopause), not only can disrupt your balance of hormones but it is also the main factor causing symptoms like bloating, irregular menstrual periods, decreased sex drive but also anxiety.
Side effects of cruciferous vegetables
One common concern is the association between cruciferous vegetables and flatulence (gas). It is recommended to increase the fiber intake slowly, chew food thoroughly and increase the intake of water.
Another major concern is the relation between cruciferous vegetables and thyroid health. When eaten raw, the digestion of cruciferous vegetables in the intestine releases goitrogens, which can cause damage to the thyroid. If you have thyroid issues, it is best to eat only vegetables that have been cooked and limit your intake of cruciferous vegetables to 1-2 servings a day.
Tips for enjoying cruciferous vegetables
- Eating these vegetables either raw, lightly sautéed, quickly stir-fried, or steamed is best to retain the full array of nutrients. But the most important thing is to eat more of them!
- Individuals with thyroid function concerns should consume these vegetables mostly cooked (vs. raw).
- There are many to choose from, so if you’re choosing these wonderfully nutritious vegetables as a regular part of your diet, be sure to keep up the variety.
- If you wish to experiment with them raw, try juicing, fresh salads, marinated salads, and adding sprouts or greens to your sandwiches.
- If you’re cooking them, try steaming, sautéing, stir-frying, and roasting. In all cases, try to avoid microwaving vegetables in plastic bags, as the process may destroy more nutrients in foods and can transfer harmful compounds from the plastic.
- Don’t overcook cruciferous vegetables. hey develop a strong sulfur odor and become unappealing.arugula
- When buying fresh broccoli, look for firm florets with a purple, dark green, or blueisch hue on the top. They are likely to contain more beta-carotene and vitamin C then the lighter green ones. If your broccoli has yellow in it and is bendable, the broccoli is old, don’t buy it.
- Add raw broccoli or cauliflower florets to your salads to boost nutrient density.
Top 16 cruciferous vegetables
- bok choy
- brussels sprouts
- chinese cabbage
- garden cress
- mustard greens