Cruciferous vegetables probably aren’t your favorite food to eat. They include things like broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower – things that most people just don’t enjoy eating (or smelling!)
But the truth is, if you’re looking to get healthier or lose weight in the near future, cruciferous vegetables should play a major role in your diet. In fact, they can offer dozens of health benefits that can greatly improve your life – from fighting off cancer and tumors to detoxifying the blood and organs.
Take a minute to learn about these powerful veggies now.
How Can Cruciferous Vegetables Benefit Me?
There are dozens of ways cruciferous vegetables can improve your life. They can reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, they can help boost collagen production and joint flexibility, they can lower your chances of arthritis, and they can even keep your skin looking clean, clear and youthful.
Cruciferous vegetables are also known to aid in weight loss. They’re extremely low in calories, so you can eat a large serving of them without consuming too many calories. They’re also full of fiber, which aids your digestive system and keeps you feeling fuller longer, so you don’t have cravings or overeat throughout the day.
They’re also linked to lower rates of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, and they can help control your cholesterol, keep your blood sugar levels in check and slow the absorption of carbs into your bloodstream. Cruciferous vegetables can also:
- Boost brain health – Because these veggies are high in folate, they help your body produce more serotonin. This wards off depression, boosts your mood and improves cognitive function. It can also help create more dopamine, which can fight PMS symptoms when the time comes.
- Fight off inflammation – Cruciferous veggies are also great at lowering inflammation throughout the body. They’re full of powerful, protective compounds that decrease bloating and aches and pains caused by inflammatory foods, diseases and conditions.
- Reduce the risk of osteoporosis – Particularly important for women, cruciferous veggies can actually help reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Thanks to their high calcium levels, they help keep your bones and teeth healthy, and they can even help prevent and managed osteoporosis pain.
- Prevent tissue damage – With high levels of beta-carotene, cruciferous vegetables can help your body’s cells grow and repair after damage. This beta-carotene is also converted into vitamin A, which can help your bone, liver and neural systems.
Aside from these benefits, cruciferous vegetables are also full of important vitamins and minerals that your body needs to operate properly. They should be a vital part of any person’s diet, no matter how healthy you may or may not be.
Cruciferous Veggies Can Fight Cancer
According to research by the Journal of the America Dietetic Association, 70 percent of all studies analyzed showed a significant link between cruciferous vegetables and protection from cancer. In fact, it even went so far as to say that people with diets high in cruciferous vegetables actually have a lower rate of prostate cancer than those who do not.
There are a number of reasons this link could exists, but the biggest one is that cruciferous veggies have been known to slow and even stop the growth of cancer cells, particularly in the breast, uterus, lungs, colon, cervix and liver. Cruciferous vegetables also help to rid the body of carcinogens and toxins, and help prevent normal cells from transforming into cancer cells.
Thanks to their high antioxidant qualities, cruciferous veggies also reduce oxidative stress and prevent cells from getting overwhelmed with free radicals. Just one more benefit to add to the list!
Which Vegetables are Cruciferous?
Broccoli is probably the most well-known cruciferous vegetable, but it’s not the only one by any means. In fact, there are dozens of other cruciferous options to choose from, if you only know where to look.
Here are just a few of the veggies that fall into the cruciferous category:
- Broccoli rabe
- Brussels sprouts
- Collard greens
- Bok choy
- Mustard greens
- Shepherd’s purse
- Chinese cabbage
- Land cress
Cruciferous vegetables can be eaten raw, steamed, roasted or boiled, though the best way to get the full nutritional impact is to eat them raw or only slightly roasted (when there’s still a little crunch left.)
My favorite way to eat a cruciferous veggie is roasted – especially broccoli, Brussels sprouts and bok choy. You simply preheat your oven to 450, toss your veggies in olive oil, sea salt and some red pepper flakes, and you lay on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Then you pop the sheet in, cook for about 30 minutes (or until crispy) and you serve hot. It’s a nice, crunchy, delicious way to get the vegetables your body needs.
What are you favorite cruciferous vegetables? What are the best ways to eat or cook them? Share your favorite recipes with me in the comments.