From OHC

August 17, 2022

With cauliflower pizza crust, kale smoothies, and broccoli nuggets popping up on menus and grocers’ shelves everywhere, it’s easier than ever before to incorporate cruciferous vegetables into your diet. What exactly are cruciferous vegetables, and have they become the new superfood?

Cruciferous, or Brassica, vegetables, which are now in season, are part of the cabbage family and are identified by their four-petaled flowers that resemble a cross. Their name comes from the Latin cruciferae, meaning “cross bearing.” Members of this veggie family include: Brussels sprouts, arugula, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, mustard greens, turnips, bok choy, and radishes.

Most everyone knows that eating vegetables is an important part of a healthy diet. In fact, the federal dietary recommendation for vegetables is two-to-three cups each day. After learning of the multiple benefits of cruciferous vegetables, it will be much easier to follow this recommendation. They provide:

  • Vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, carbohydrates, proteins, fiber
  • Omega-3 fatty acids that help to lower blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease

And, cruciferous vegetables have the power to:

  • Reduce cholesterol and inflammation
  • Regulate blood sugar
  • Aid digestion
  • Help with weight loss
  • Increase immunity
  • Reduce cancer risk

Several studies have evaluated the relationship between cruciferous vegetables and cancer prevention. The cancer-fighting properties of these vegetables might be a result of the glucosinolates (plant compounds) that they contain. According to the National Cancer Institute, animal studies and experiments with cells grown in laboratories have shown that glucosinolates help to inactivate carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) and protect cells from DNA damage, which can be the first step in the formation of cancer cells. Studies in humans show mixed results.

A review published in the International Journal of Epidemiology in 2017 examined research from 95 different studies that were analyzed to help scientists understand the relationship between eating fruits and vegetables and heart disease, cancer, and mortality. When looking at specific types of vegetables, they found that the greatest risk reduction from cancer mortality was tied to cruciferous and green-yellow vegetables.

Unfortunately, glucosinolates are the culprits behind the pungent aroma and bitter taste of cruciferous vegetables. If you struggle with the odor of these cooked veggies in your home, consider roasting or steaming them or enjoying them raw with a yogurt or hummus dip. Prepare some covert cruciferous cuisine for your loved ones with salads, soups, smoothies, and stir-fries.

Eating a healthy diet is a critical component of cancer risk reduction. For more information on cancer prevention and nutrition visit our website, or to request a medical second opinion with an OHC cancer expert, call 1-888-649-4800 or visit

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