What are cruciferous vegetables?
Cruciferous vegetables are a group of vegetables known to possess certain vitamins, minerals and compounds that have been found to have positive health outcomes. Think cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, turnips, and kale – all those vegetables your parents always tried to get you to eat!
They are rich in many of the nutrients necessary for a healthy diet:
- Carotenoids (an antioxidant)
- Lutein (another antioxidant)
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
They are also an excellent source of fiber.
What are the health benefits?
Cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates, which are broken down during digestion into biologically-active compounds that have been shown to have anti-cancer effects. This is unique to cruciferous vegetables.
These compounds have been linked to stopping cancer development in mice and rats. The animal studies suggest several ways in which cancer is prevented; including protecting cells from DNA damage, anti-inflammatory effects, and preventing tumor formation and migration.
Studies have also linked eating cruciferous vegetable to preventing several forms of cancer, including breast, colorectal, prostate, and lung.
Conclusion: Your Parents Were Right!
Eat up because these vegetables may have anti-cancer effects and they are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. So, try a new recipe today. I think you will soon see that these veggies are as tasty as they are healthy.
Olivia Johnson is student in the University of Vermont Master of Science in Dietetics program. She is completing her foodservice practicum in Nutrition Services at the University of Vermont Medical Center.