Cruciferous1-505x336Cruciferous (Brassica) vegetables include: arugula, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, radish, rutabaga, turnips, wasabi, and watercress.

Cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates (compounds that contain sulfur) and have pungent aromas and a somewhat bitter taste. Chewing these vegetables form biologically active compounds, which are beneficial.

Researchers have found that glucosinolate hydrolysis products aid the elimination of carcinogens before they damage DNA and help prevent normal cells from being transformed into cancer cells.  Other benefits include: antiviral and antibacterial effects; anti-inflammatory effects; the inhibition of tumor blood vessel formation (angiogenesis) and tumor cell migration (needed for metastasis); and aid in programmed cell death (apoptosis).

Studies have also found that eating more than three weekly servings of cruciferous vegetables is associated with a significant reduction of the risk for lung cancer. These vegetables may also lead to a reduction of the risk of colorectal cancer.

The National Cancer Institute indicates that Cruciferous vegetables are rich in nutrients, including several carotenoids, beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin; vitamins C, E, and K; folate; and minerals. In addition, they are a good source of fiber.  The National Cancer Institute recommends that you consume five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day and a healthy dose of cruciferous vegetables is probably a good idea.

Dr. Fuhrman

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