Understanding the Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables are vegetables of the family Brassicaceae with many genera, species, and cultivars being raised for food production. Such as cauliflower, cabbage, garden cress, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and similar green leafy vegetables.
The cruciferous family of vegetables has generated a lot of interest in the health world due to their cancer-fighting compounds. This leads many gardeners to wonder what are cruciferous vegetables and can I grow them in my garden. Good news! You probably already grow at least one (and likely several) types of cruciferous veggies.
Cruciferous vegetables belong to the Cruciferae family, which mostly contains the Brassica genus, but does include a few other genera. In general, cruciferous vegetables are cool weather vegetables and have flowers that have four petals so that they resemble a cross.
Make Cruciferous Vegetables a Habit
It has been said that one of the basic human needs is variety. I think that holds true in eating, too. And, eating a variety of vegetables is really good for our bodies as well. So, here’s a plan: Let’s try to bring in some new cruciferous vegetables and try an easy squeezy way to make them. We do not want to be in the kitchen for a long time on a beautiful day (unless, of course, you are like my foodie friends who love to do that).
Below is a list of the cruciferous vegetables that are not so common and some of their health benefits. We should be able to find these in a larger grocery store or co-op. Let’s pick one, try it out this week and see how it goes. That sounds like fun and not blah blah blah. I’m going to try to find watercress (thought to help with upper respiratory illnesses) and pop it in our salads this week. Yes to watercress! It would be fun to hear what you try from the list.
Eat Healthily, Stay Healthy!
When the word cruciferous is paired with the word vegetable, it does not sound fun. It sounds like the word crucifies …yikes. I get this picture of a bunch of vegetables marching down a path, each carrying a cross. That would be an interesting VeggieTales movie! Well, the words crucify and cruciferous are a bit related. The prefix, cruc-, has its origin in Latin and means cross.
Cruciferous vegetables have been shown to prevent cancer cell growth . Of all of the various health benefits of cruciferous vegetables, the most common theme among them is their power to protect our bodies against many different types of cancers [2,3]. These cruciferous cronies are also noted for fighting cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and diabetes . All this good stuff sounds like something God would do.
Common Types of Cruciferous Vegetables
There are many different kinds of cruciferous vegetables. Most of us know the more famous ones like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, radishes, and the oh-so-popular-now kale. Yet there are so many others in the cruciferous category. And, now our old friends that we know and love are more available in beautiful colors such as purple, lime green, and orange.
But, here is what happens to me and maybe this sounds familiar to you, too. I get in a rut. I like broccoli, and so does my family. It is easy to find organic broccoli at a store and cook it quickly, too. However, that means it is broccoli, broccoli, broccoli, broccoli, …blah, blah, blah, blah. Or let’s consider kale…or not…I think we are a bit kale-d out over here (and some don’t really kale for it). But, I still sneak it in smoothies.
Here is a list of the cruciferous vegetables:
- Bok Choy
- Brussel Sprouts
- Collard Greens
- Mustard greens
Uncommon Cruciferous Vegetables
A yummy, nutty leafy green, it can be put in salads and is referred to as the “salad rocket” as it adds a kick of flavor. It contains the main Vitamins of A, C, and K.
I like this one in stir fry meals I prepare at home, has a really dark green leaf on a white celery-like stalk. I also use it raw in salads, too. Bok Choi is known to have a high Vitamin C content with one serving providing about 75% of the Recommended Daily Intake.
These are nice in a salad or shredded in a slaw. They are sweeter to me than a traditional red radish. It is thought to help combat viral and bacterial respiratory infections.
I have chopped these up and put them in soups and stews. It can be shredded, too, and put into a salad or slaw. It is known for having over 100% of the RDI for Vitamin C.
These can be spicy green. Probably good in salads or stir-fried in with other vegetables. Also high in Vit K, mustard greens have about 420 micrograms per cup. That is pretty high and a whopping 525% of the RDI.
These can be cut up and roasted with olive oil and garlic, yum. It is a root vegetable and is good for adding minerals into your diets such as magnesium, manganese, and calcium.
Like rutabagas, you can cut them up and roast them, or serve them mashed like a potato. Turnips are similar to rutabaga, but when cut are white, while rutabaga is more yellow inside. Turnip greens are also great as a source of Vitamin K and can be used as a green in salads.
This crucifer green can be used in salads and also stir-fried into things. It is said to also help with respiratory inflammatory diseases such as bronchitis.
In most cases, the leaves or flower buds of cruciferous vegetables are eaten, but there are a few where either the roots or seeds are also eaten.
Cruciferous vegetables are unique because they are rich in sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates which support detoxification and indole-3-carbinol which greatly reduces the risk of breast, colon and lung cancer.
Hope that you enjoyed reading through this Blogs Article from the jmexclusives Team. Moreover, you’ll see other related and resourceful references on Medical Health and Physical Fitness Page. Below are more additional references. Including;
- The Forgiving House; Cruciferous Vegetables: Come to the Table Tuesday.
- Mol. Nutr. Food Res. June 2016; 60(6): 1228-1238. Research on cruciferous vegetables, indole-3-carbinol, and cancer prevention: A tribute to Lee W. Wattenberg. Fujioka, N., Fritz, V., Upadhyaya, P., Kassie, F. and Hecht, S. S.
- Cell Death Differ. 2016 Jun 3. Reactivation of mutant p53 by a dietary-related compound phenethyl isothiocyanate inhibits tumor growth. Aggarwal M, Saxena R, Sinclair E, Fu Y, Jacobs A, Dyba M, Wang X, Cruz I, Berry D, Kallakury B, Mueller SC, Agostino SD, Blandino G, Avantaggiati ML, Chung FL.
- Semin Oncol. 2016 Feb; 43(1):146-53. Frugal chemoprevention: targeting Nrf2 with foods rich in sulforaphane. Yang L, Palliyaguru DL, Kensler TW.
- Food Revolution: 10 Incredible Reasons to Eat Cruciferous Vegetables Regularly.