Cruciferous vegetables: why are they beneficial?
Cruciferous vegetables are part of the cabbage family (also known as Brassicas). They have many nutritional benefits, most notably (evidenced by several research studies) a connection between regular brassica consumption and a lower risk of cancer.
This link is related to cruciferous vegetables' rich content of phytochemicals called isothiocyanates. These powerful phytochemicals seem to enhance the body’s detoxification processes, which may help prevent various cancers and gut inflammation leading to Crohn's Disease.
Cruciferous vegetables also contain compounds that can be utilized by gut bacteria; for example, they contain glucosinolates, which are hydrolyzed by certain bacteria and dietary fibre, and can then be fermented by a range of species.
Brassicas are incredibly diverse, coming in various colours, shapes and sizes; they can be eaten raw, steamed or lightly sautéed to maximize the retention of nutrients. Their nutrient density is quite impressive as they are rich in a multitude of vitamins and minerals, like folate and vitamin K. Dark green cruciferous vegetables contain phytonutrients and are rich in vitamins A and C. Additionally, all cruciferous vegetables are rich in fibre and are low in energy, making them a highly satiating and satisfying addition to the diet.
Examples of Cruciferous Vegetables
Arugula, Bok choy (pak choi), Broccoflower, Broccoli, Broccoli rabe (rapini), Brussel sprouts, Cabbage (all varieties), Cauliflower, Collard greens, Daikon, Horseradish, Kale, Kohlrabi, Mustard greens, Radish, Romanesco, Rutabaga, Tatsoi, Turnips, Wasabi and Watercress.
Tips on Including Cruciferous Vegetables in the Diet
Brassicas are very versatile vegetables, making them simple additions to many of our clients' diets. Add these ingredients to the following dishes, or prepare them as indicated:
Arugula: pizza topping, pesto, salad
Brussel Sprouts: coleslaw, roasted, steamed
Cauliflower: a substitute for rice, pizza dough, steaks of cauliflower
Cabbage: soup, coleslaw, braised
Kale: pesto, salad, kale chips
Thanks for reading!
-Marie-Maxime Bergeron RD