Arugula, Bok Choy, Kale, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collards Greens, Horseradish, Kohlrabi, Mustard Greens, Radishes, Rutabaga, Turnip Greens, Turnips, Watercress
Are any these veggies your friends? If not, you might want to cozy up to these amazing plants! Even though all natural plant foods contain phytochemicals, which are simply a name for natural chemicals found in plants, the class of veggies called cruciferous have chemical compounds that are extremely powerful for your body. Researchers have been studying them for their apparent ability to prevent cancer and also for the possibility that these natural compounds can also enhance survival after cancer has been diagnosed. People who eat generous amounts of these vegetables have REMARKABLY LOW CANCER RATES, and researchers have dedicated a great deal of effort to isolating the compounds that are responsible for their anticancer effects.
Broccoli, for example, contains sulforaphane, a compound that augments the liver’s ability to rid the body of toxic chemicals and EXCRETE carcinogenic compounds. Additional phytochemicals in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables have demonstrated the ability to arrest the growth of cancer cells!
Cruciferous vegetables also affect the hormones that INFLUENCE the progression of HORMONE-DEPENDENT CANCERS, such as breast cancer. In particular, these vegetables actually change the way estrogens are broken down and eliminated.
Should I cook them?
You may be wondering if cooking knocks out their protective effects. Studies show that, while cooking over a minute or two does indeed reduce the amount of phytochemicals in vegetables, it does not eliminate them and the methods below ENHANCE the nutritional benefits of cooked veggies. Cruciferous vegetables are shown to be TWICE as powerful as other vegetables in reducing cancer rates, so protecting their nutrition is important!
Dr. Michael Greger of NutritionFacts.org has some great information on the best methods for consuming these powerhouses. Subscribe to his daily video blogs!
Reactivate those Cruciferous Enzymes!
Admittedly many of us enjoy cooked cruciferous veggies, over having them completely raw. Dr. Greger’s nutritionfacts.org videos on this subject explain that raw is healthier because some of the required enzymes that activate the phytochemicals are killed during the cooking process. This video details a few tricky “work arounds” that can help reactivate and maintain them, including these methods: Hack and Hold, Adding Raw to Cooked & Add Other Crucifers. Check this link for details, but mustard powder could become your next best friend!
To learn about this subject and more, please come to Veg-Appeal's Food for Life: How Foods Fight Cancer series starting September 29th! See below for more details! Click here for more information on the nationwide, Food for Life:Cancer curriculum from PCRM.