Published By: Ishani Karmakar

The Super-Veggies: Cruciferous Vegetables

How are broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and bok choy comparable?

All these vegetables are members of the cabbage or cruciferous family. And all of them include health-promoting vitamins, phytochemicals, minerals, and fibre.

In fact, health agencies recommend weekly consumption of numerous portions of cruciferous vegetables, and for a valid reason.

Decreased Risk of Malignant Diseases

Malignant disease prevention is one of the most compelling arguments for consuming cruciferous vegetables.

At least seventy percent of the research evaluated in the October 1996 edition of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association demonstrated a connection between cruciferous vegetables and malignant-disease prevention.

Many cruciferous vegetables have been linked to lower malignancy risks. According to AICR or the American Institute for Cancer Research, some compounds impede the formation of tumour cells in uterine lining, lung, liver, colon, and cervical malignancies. And research examining the diets of people over time have shown diets containing plenty of cruciferous vegetables are related with lower prostate issues.

According to Matthew Wallig, DVM, PhD, sulforaphane, one of the phytochemicals present in cruciferous vegetables, has the power to stimulate enzymes in the body that remove carcinogens before they damage cells. In addition to indole 3-carbinol and crambene, two more compounds found in cruciferous vegetables are suspected of activating detoxification enzymes via separate mechanisms.

In addition, research suggests that the compounds in cruciferous vegetables have a substantial synergy. Professor Wallig of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Department Champaign's of Comparative Pathology discovered that crambene is more potent when combined with indole 3-carbinol.

Environmental Stress

By reducing the chances of oxidative stress, cruciferous vegetables may possibly offer malignancy protection. Oxidative stress is the excessive generation of harmful oxygen-free radicals by the organism. Lowering these free radicals may reduce the occurrence of malignancies such as colon, lung, chest and prostate.

In a study funded by the National Cancer Institute, twenty participants were encouraged to consume between one and 2 cups of cruciferous vegetables daily. After three weeks, the degree of oxidative stress in the body was evaluated. Following a 3 week break, the research participants were directed to take a supplement with fibre. After three weeks, the oxidative stress was evaluated again.

And the results? During the period in which the people ingested an excess of cruciferous vegetables, oxidative stress in their bodies dropped by 22%. According to Jay H. Fowke, PhD, an assistant professor and cancer epidemiology at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, the variation during the multivitamin segment was minimal (0.2%).

It is necessary to conduct further research; however Fowke feels that the data suggests cruciferous vegetables are an especially healthful alternative.

He suggests consuming these veggies raw or barely cooked to maintain the phytochemicals responsible for the particular health advantages of cruciferous vegetables.