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Try-It Tuesday: Cruciferous Vegetables

Written by Cindi Lockhart, RD – Weight Loss Coaching Program Manager

What are Cruciferous Vegetables?

They are vegetables of the Cruciferae (or Brassicaceae)  family,  which is Latin for “cross-bearing”.  The flowers of these plants have four petals that resemble a cross.  The vegetables in this family include cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, and bok choy.

Why Cruciferous Vegetables should be consumed:

  1. The bitter-tasting substances in cruciferous vegetables such as DIM (diindolylmethane) and sulphoraphane have been found to be protective against cancer.  DIM assists in estrogen metabolism and detoxification by way of the digestive tract, helping to decrease the risk for hormonally-based cancers like breast and prostate.  Sulphoraphane has been shown to activate enzymes that detoxify carcinogens before they can damage the body’s cells.
  2. Cruciferous vegetables are powerful stimulators of the Cytochrome P450 enzyme system, which is critical for proper liver detoxification.  All Americans are exposed daily to toxins within their normal environment – air they breathe, water they drink, food they eat, and products they use in home and office.  It’s imperative to assist the body in eliminating these metabolism and health-disrupting toxins.
  3. These nutrient powerhouse vegetables are chock full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phyochemicals that help decrease oxidative stress on cells, neutralizing the damage from free radicals and therefore improving long-term health.

How Cruciferous Vegetables should be prepared:

To retain the most nutritional value, it is best to eat vegetables raw or lightly steamed.  However, if the bitter taste of cruciferous vegetables turns you off don’t forgo them altogether.  The health benefits far outweigh the risk of complete avoidance.  Roasted varieties are easy and quite flavorful!  Just set the oven for 400°, place the cruciferous vegetables in a glass baking dish and coat with extra virgin olive oil and Celtic or Himalayan sea salt.  Roast for at least 20-30 minutes or until slightly browned.  My favorite is to use frozen baby Brussels sprouts and coat with olive oil and sea salt.  It takes on a whole new rich flavor and my husband and I split the whole bag’s worth!

Post comments or share your favorite way to prepare these nutritious foods below.

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.

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Reader Comments (2)

I love roasted broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts!! Also asparagus!
Thanks for the good info!

January 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTracie Tipton

Vegetables of the family Brassicaceae (also called Cruciferae) are called cruciferous vegetables. The vegetables are widely cultivated, with many genera, species, and cultivars being raised for food production such as cauliflower, cabbage, cress, bok choy, broccoli and similar green leaf vegetables. The family takes its alternate name (Cruciferae, New Latin for "cross-bearing") from the shape of their flowers, whose four petals resemble a cross.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKamagra

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