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. So, this means, that kales, arugula, and Brussels sprouts have all one thing in common given this plant’s category.
Whereby, aside from being trendy ingredients, they’re all delicious Cruciferous Vegetables and pack a nutritional punch. In fact, the cruciferous family of vegetables has generated a lot of interest in the health world due to their cancer-fighting compounds. But, this leads many gardeners to wonder what are cruciferous vegetables and if can they grow them in their gardens.
Good news! Probably, in your Kitchen Garden, you already grow at least one type of cruciferous veggie. One thing is for sure, it has been said that one of the basic human needs is variety. On the other hand, it’s good to think that it also holds some truth in the eating context too. Meaning, that eating a variety of vegetables is really good for our overall body health 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 foodies who love to do that).
What Are The Cruciferous Vegetables?
Generally, Cruciferous Vegetables are a diverse group that includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, bok choy, arugula, Brussels sprouts, collards, watercress, and radishes. Not forgetting, they are cool-weather vegetables and have flowers that have four petals so that they resemble a cross. They belong to the Cruciferae family, which mostly contains the Brassica genus.
But, does also include a few other genera. Here is a fun fact: The name “cruciferous” is an informal classification for members of the mustard family and comes from the Latin ‘Cruciferae‘ meaning “cross-bearing,” because the four petals resemble a cross. While these veggies grow in all different colors, shapes, and sizes, they share several nutritional benefits.
Most cruciferous vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals such as folate and vitamin K. Dark green cruciferous veggies also are a source of vitamins A and C and contain phytonutrients — plant-based compounds. Essentially, that may help to lower inflammation and reduce the risk of developing cancer. They also are rich in fiber and low in calories.
Specifically, a combination that will help you feel full and satisfied without overeating. With that in mind, it doesn’t take much to reap the benefits. Adults need at least 2½ cups of vegetables a day. One cup of raw and cooked veggies, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, is equivalent to a 1-cup vegetable serving.
The Main Cruciferous Vegetables By Example Types
Talk of two cups of raw leafy vegetables, such as kale and bok choy, they are the equivalent of a 1-cup vegetable serving. By all means, Cruciferous Vegetables have been shown to prevent cancer cell growth. Of all of their various health benefits, the most common theme among them is their power to protect our bodies against many different types of cancers.
These cruciferous cronies are also noted for fighting cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and diabetes. All this good stuff sounds like something God would do. Obviously, that means it is broccoli, broccoli, broccoli, …blah, blah, blah, blah. Or let’s consider kale…or not… It’s like we are a bit kale-d out over here (and some don’t really have kale for it).
But, some of us still sneak it in smoothies, right? That aside, there are many different kinds of cruciferous vegetables. Most of us know the more famous ones like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, radishes, and even kale. Yet there are so many others in the cruciferous category. Our good old friends that we know and love are more available in stores nearby.
With beautiful colors such as purple, lime green, and orange. But, here is what happens to most people, and maybe this sounds familiar to you, too. They get into a rut! The truth is that most of us like broccoli, and so do our family members. Not forgetting, it is easy to find organic broccoli at a store and cook it quickly. What else do you consider part of cruciferous veggies?
1. Arugula + Kales
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. For sure, it contains the main Vitamins of A, C, and K. It’s perfect to accompany a pasta dish or to use as a substitute for basil in a pesto recipe as well. What about kales? Well, it’s hard to go to any restaurant nowadays without seeing its trendy menu.
While it’s slightly more bitter than spinach or lettuce, its nutritional stats are impressive. Sauté it with olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper for a quick side dish, and throw it in a smoothie to sneak in some vitamins and minerals. For a potato chip substitute, bake it in the oven with some seasoning.
2. Bok Choi
Definitely, you too will like this one in stir-fried meals if prepared well at home. Suffice it to say, it has a really dark green leaf on a white celery-like stalk. You can also use it raw in salads, too. In fact, Bok Choi is known to have high Vitamin C content with one serving providing about 75% of the Recommended Daily Intake. On that note, you can try this ginger bok choy soup with noodles to complement your diet plan.
3. Daikon Radish
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. Sometimes, radishes are typically eaten raw. Usually as a garnish on a salad, but there are plenty of other ways to serve them. There are braised radishes with mint and onion or butter-glazed roasted radishes with fresh herbs for you to try.
4. Cauliflower + Kohlrabi
Cauliflower is a versatile veggie that is delicious in many ways beyond steaming. Try roasting florets or “steaks” of cauliflower to release its pleasant flavor. When pureed, it’s a great substitute for cream sauce. Other creative cauliflower options? Mash it into a pizza crust, grate it into a substitute for rice, or pickle it for a low-calorie salty, crunchy snack.
Similarly, you can easily chop Kohlrabi up and then put the chops in soups and stews. It can also be shredded, too, and then put into a salad or slaw. Remarkably, it is known for having over 100% of the RDI for Vitamin C.
5. Mustard Greens
These can be spicy green. Probably good in salads or stir-fried 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.
In reality, these can be cut up and roasted with olive oil and garlic, yum. It is a root vegetable and is good for adding minerals to your diet such as magnesium, manganese, and calcium.
This root vegetable is similar to a potato in texture, but it has a much more distinct flavor. They have a slightly peppery flavor and purple skin, but they can be used as a substitute for potatoes. You can try this turnip au gratin recipe. Then again, just like rutabagas, you can cut them up and roast them, or serve them mashed like a potato. Equally, turnips are similar to rutabaga.
But when cut, they are white, while rutabaga is more yellow inside. And by the same token, turnip greens are also great as a source of Vitamin K and can be used as a green in salads.
8. Watercress + Cabbage
This crucifer green can be used in salads and also stir-fried into things. For your information, it is said to also help with respiratory inflammatory diseases such as bronchitis. Besides Watercress, Cabbage is yet one of the most cost-effective vegetables you can buy, since it is quite stomach-filling and easy to cook. Try it in a side dish with beans and potatoes in your next dish.
When it comes to Broccoli, most of us may prefer to eat it raw in salads or with dip as a quick snack. Try steaming it and topping it with shredded cheese or roasting it in the oven with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Or, try this parmesan cheesy broccoli casserole with crispy breadcrumbs if you don’t love the taste of broccoli.
10. Brussels Sprouts
Generally, these have a very distinct taste and a reputation for being disliked by kids across the globe. An easy way to eat them is to roast them in the oven. Not to mention, you can also try this recipe topped with balsamic vinegar and honey.
How Cruciferous Vegetables Benefit Our Health (Glutathione)
Among the other Cruciferous Vegetables, it’s worth mentioning that kales are some of the richest food sources of Glutathione which scientists have dubbed as the body’s “master antioxidant”. It’s synthesized in the body from three different amino acids: L-cysteine, L-glutamic acid, and glycine. Although it exists in every cell, the vast majority of Glutathione is in the liver.
It helps to neutralize toxins in the body, fight the oxidation of circulating fats in the bloodstream, eliminate dangerous free radicals, synthesize and repair DNA, detoxify the liver, and support the overall functioning of the immune system. In addition, it helps with the regeneration and recycling of other important antioxidants, including vitamin C and vitamin E.
As the major detoxifying agent in the body, it chemically transforms carcinogens, toxins, and drugs into unreactive, harmless compounds that can be eliminated without damaging cell DNA. In the case of heavy metals such as mercury and lead, it neutralizes them by binding with them. Glutathione is produced naturally by the body – but levels can drop.
Aging and overconsumption of heavily-processed foods, along with environmental toxins, drugs, illness, infections, and stress can impact the body’s natural levels. Low glutathione levels inhibit cellular function allowing dangerous free radicals to cause oxidative damage which is at the root of many chronic health symptoms.
Why You Should Consider Clean Eating In Your Diet Plan
By all means, when the word cruciferous is paired with the word vegetable, it does not sound fun, right? It sounds like the word crucifies …yikes. You can picture a bunch of vegetables marching down a path, each carrying a cross. That would be an interesting Veggie Tales movie! Well, the words crucify and cruciferous are a bit related.
The prefix, cruc-, has its origin in Latin and means cross. In recent times, clean eating has become more than the norm. For one thing, people are trying to keep up with their dietary plans outlook. Edging out causes and culprits affiliated with unhealthy, unbalanced, and junk food eating behaviors. In that case, clean eating is the only savior that we can consider here…
Clearly, a clean and healthy eating lifestyle has some other good points when it comes to our overall physical and fitness plan. It’s a balanced diet that focuses on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and protein. Whereas, diet plans range from 1200-1800 calories. And, which is the low end of calories to sustain energy, satisfy hunger, and help weight loss.
After all, clean and healthy eating can not only boost your health but also help you appreciate foods’ natural flavors. In addition, it supports sustainable agriculture and environmentally sound food practices. Having said that, you can read and learn more about the Benefits of Clean Eating to gather more resourceful details.
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. It supports detoxification and indole-3-carbinol which greatly reduces the risk of breast, colon, and lung cancer.
Generally speaking, clean eating doesn’t have anything to do with food being clean or dirty. Or even, it doesn’t conclude the fact that your house is neither in order nor you are not equally clean. It is also, important to realize, that it simply involves choosing minimally processed, real foods that provide maximal nutritional benefits. More so, in their most natural form.
In other words, selecting ethical and sustainable foods is also a part of clean eating. The main idea is to consume foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. And whatever the case, don’t also forget to consume enough water.
Other More Related Resource References:
- Maca Root Benefits | Capsule Dosage & Potential Risks
- Fruits and Vegetables that You Should be Eating Everyday
- Asparagus Health Benefits & Simple Homemade Recipes
- Healthy Eating Top Secrets To Keep Up With Your Busy Life
- Dietary Fiber | 7 Health Benefits you Should know
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