Can’t stand broccoli or cabbage?  They may not be the most appealing vegetables, but incorporating these and other cruciferous vegetables into your diet offers many health benefits.

The word cruciferous come from the root word cross-bearing, because the shape of their flower resembles a cross.  Examples of cruciferous vegetables are kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, collard greens, bok choy, turnip, radish, broccoli rabe, kohlrabi, horseradish, rutabaga, chinese cabbage, daikon.

These vegetable have excellent cancer preventing properties.  They contain high amounts of phytonutrients which increase the liver’s capacity to detoxify cancer causing compounds before they can cause harm.   Sometimes they have a slighty bitter taste because of these cancer fighting compounds. Other benefits include the high amounts of vitamins A, C and K.  These vegetables contain powerful antioxidants and are anti-inflammatory.  They are also very cheap to purchase and include in your diet.

One thing to keep in mind is that these vegetables are high in cellulose, therefore they are difficult to digest and should be chewed well or blended to aid in digestion.  They can also cause gas if they are not cooked properly or if they are not chewed well.

Individual unique properties:

  • Kale – has beta-carotene which assists in boosting immune system and high in bone-building calcium
  • Broccoli – has cholesterol lowering benefits when steamed
  • Cauliflower – good source of fiber and folate
  • Brussels Sprouts – good source of fiber and also lutein which is a nutrient that is great for the eyes
  • Rutabaga – good source of vitamin C and fiber
  • Cabbage – good source of vitamin C and K and it is easy to store
  • Bok Choy – good souce of folate
  • Turnips – high in vitamins A, C and K, folate and fibres

You should include a minimum of 3 servings (1 serving = 1 cup) per week in your diet, which is not a lot.  You may already be eating this much, which is great!  You can cut up some broccoli and cauliflower and steam it for a few minutes and take it to work to eat at your desk as a snack with hummus.   If you’re not getting 3 servings per week, see the recipe suggestions below to get more of these nutrient packed vegetables into your diet.

  • Recipe suggestions with these vegetables

Sauteed Kale
Sauteed Kale with Garlic
Kale and Sweet Potato Soup
Kale Soup
Kale and Olive Oil Mashed Potato
Avocado and Cabbage Slaw
Asian Quinoa
Asian Salad
Rainbow Kale Salad
Tofu and Broccoli Stir Fry
Asian Rice Noodles with Spicy Almond Sauce
Steamed Brussels Sprouts
Warm and Lively Soup
Kiwi-Berry-Greens Smoothie
Raw Asian Ginger Soup
Red Pepper and Kale Soup
Shitake Mushroom and Baby Bok Choy Stir Fry
Roasted Vegetables
Vegetable Pad Thai
Stir Fry
Asian Sauteed Cauliflower

image courtesy of http://thenaturallyfit.blogspot.com