The benefits of cruciferous vegetables-your body's detox powerhouse!
- 1 Minute Read
Cruciferous vegetables rank high in the nutrition world for all their benefits. Learn what these nutrition powerhouses can do for you.
In nutrition circles, cruciferous vegetables hold a lofty ranking. Okay, unless you have studied nutrition or botany, you may wonder, "What on earth is a cruciferous vegetable?" A member of the cabbage family, a cruciferous vegetable gets its name from the plant's four-petaled flowers that resemble a cross or crucifer. Some of the most common cruciferous veggies include arugula, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, radishes, rutabagas, and turnips.
One reason cruciferous veggies are such nutrition superstars is the sulfur-containing compounds known as glucosinolates. The pungent sulfur compounds may be smelly but also may lower cancer risk. Both lab and population studies have shown links between cruciferous vegetable consumption and protection against colon, prostate, breast, and lung cancers. As with any population study looking at nutrition, it is difficult to make firm conclusions about food intake and disease risk. People who eat more cruciferous veggies often practice other healthy habits to lower disease risk.
In any case, there are other reasons for including cruciferous vegetables in your diet. They are loaded with nutrients, including beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, folic acid, minerals, and vitamins C, E, and K. For example, a cup of cooked Brussels sprouts has 97 mg vitamin C (108% RDA) and two cups of chopped kale has 522 mcg vitamin K (435% RDA). These powerful veggies are also excellent fiber sources. In addition to potentially lowering your cancer risk, you may also benefit from the anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce heart disease and diabetes. Finally, for the calorie-counters out there, the calories are way low! For example, one cup of steamed cauliflower has only 29 calories. Because of these powerhouse vegetables' potency, health agencies advise including several servings of cruciferous vegetables per week.
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