In recent years cruciferous vegetables have become popular as more and more people are switching to plant-forward diets. They are known for their potential cancer-fighting properties, and because of this, they became the cornerstone of most diets, especially those focusing on plant-based food. This group of plants is large and diverse, with each having unique flavors. Also, the name originates from the Latin word for crucifix because their four-petalled flowers look like a cross. Read on to know more about cruciferous vegetables and why they are good for you.
The Cabbage Family Vegetables
The cruciferous vegetables belong to the cabbage family of plants, and listed below are some of them:
- Bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
- Collard greens
The Nutrients In Cruciferous Vegetables
You must have noticed from the aforementioned list that most of these vegetables are used in plant-based recipes like salads. They are rich in vitamins C, E, and K, folate, and fiber. Besides, compared to other vegetables, they have lower calorie content due to the absence of fats. This combination of high fiber content and lower calories can help you with weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight.
Cruciferous Vegetables May Help Fight Cancer
Apart from the aforementioned ones, cruciferous vegetables are an excellent source of phytonutrients that can help lower inflammation and reduce the risk of developing cancer. They also contain glucosinolates, the phytochemicals that give them their flavor and aroma, along with having a potential anti-cancer effect. It has been found from studies that the breaking down of this phytochemical produces indoles and isothiocyanates, which protect the DNA inside cells. Having said that, the link between reduced risk for developing cancer and consuming cruciferous vegetables is not clear.
Eating Cruciferous Vegetables
According to experts, adult men should eat 3 cups of vegetables per day, and women should eat 2 cups. A cup of cooked brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower are counted as 1 cup, while two cups of leafy greens like arugula or kale are counted as 1 cup. Apart from salads, you can include them in other plant-based recipes like smoothies, soups, bakes, or roasts, etc.
Broccoli: It can be eaten as a snack along with a dip or as raw in salads. You could also try steaming it and seasoning it with salt and pepper, or roasting it with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Bok Choy: This is also known as Chinese cabbage, and it can be used for making soups or stir-fries. It has a mild flavor and looks like a cross between lettuce and celery.
On a final note, including cruciferous vegetables can make your meals flavorful because of the strong and distinctive flavors of these vegetables.