Cruciferous Veggie a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Just when you begin feeling good about eating lots of spinach and various lettuce salads, along come a couple of studies that prove cruciferous vegetables have even more health benefits. Cruciferous vegetables include cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, kale, radishes, and turnips. These are vegetables that are often ignored. But they should be included often if you care for your health.

The Amazing Health Benefits of Cruciferous Vegetables

A 1996 review of several studies by the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found strong evidence of cruciferous vegetables' cancer inhibiting capabilities in over 70 percent of those studies.

The American Institute for Cancer Research acknowledges that various elements of cruciferous vegetables stop cancer cell growth in breast tumors, uterine lining, lung, colon, liver, and cervix. Epidemiological studies have shown that men who included high amounts of cruciferous vegetables in their diet had lower rates of prostate cancer than those who mostly ignored those vegetables.

Lab studies conducted by Mathew Wallig, PhD. at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign isolated the cancer fighting cruciferous compounds and observed the mechanics of how they inhibit cancer.

Sulforaphane, one of the cruciferous phytochemicals, stimulates enzymes in the body that detoxify carcinogens before they damage cells. Dr. Wallig also found that the synergistic combination of two other cruciferous compounds, indole 3-carbinol and crambene, seem to vigorously activate detoxification enzymes.

Another study funded by the National Cancer Institute tested the oxidative stress reduction of cruciferous vegetables against a multivitamin with fiber. The study, conducted by Jay H. Fowke, PhD, at the Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, had a group of men eat lots of cruciferous vegetables for three weeks and then take a multivitamin with fiber for three weeks. In between those two periods was a clearing out period of consuming neither.

The oxidative stress was reduced 22 percent on average from the cruciferous diet, while the oxidative stress reduction from the multivitamin and fiber was a mere half of one percent! Very impressive results indeed.

With all the different cruciferous vegetables available and with their loads of minerals, vitamins, and fiber as well as these cancer fighting and antioxidant capabilities, consuming a cruciferous a day is feasible and worthwhile. Light steaming or raw in salads or for dips keeps the delicate phytonutrients intact.

Food Is Our First Medicine

Satisfying taste buds quickly and easily has led many of us astray from healthy diets. But it's not hard to get back on track. There are ways to create tasty dishes and salads with cruciferous vegetables and beets. Search the internet for menus, but keep in mind that the less they are cooked the better they are for your health.

Also keep in mind that anything packaged or canned won't work nearly as well as the fresh stuff out of the ground, especially if it's organic. Juicing with a slow speed masticating juicer is a great way to add a cruciferous in with your carrots and greens. Juicing concentrates the amount of vegetables you can easily assimilate with all the enzymes and phytonutrients intact.

That Vanderbilt study comparing the oxidative stress reduction of multivitamins to cruciferous vegetables demonstrated this well: Getting nutrients from fresh cruciferous vegetables lightly cooked or raw is much healthier than taking vitamin supplements and eating poorly.  (Natural News, 3.02.2010, Paul Fassa, citizen journalist)

Sources for more information include:

The Super-Vegies: Cruciferous Vegetables

World's Healthiest Foods - Broccoli

World's Healthiest Foods - Cauliflower

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