Cruciferous vegetables give you a ton of health benefits! Encompassing a broad variety of nutritious foods, the cruciferous family is recognized for its exceptional dietary and therapeutic qualities. You may be wondering which veggies are cruciferous. They include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, radish, rutabaga, turnip, arugula, bok choy, collard greens, watercress, mustard greens, and kohlrabi, to name just a few.
Power Packed, They Have Tons of Benefits!
These power-packed vegetables are rich in essential nutrients and provide a wide range of vitamins, such as Vitamin A, C, E, and K, and minerals like calcium, iron, selenium, and zinc. They are also excellent sources of dietary fiber, which aids digestion, keeps your intestines running smoothly, contributes to satiety, and can help maintain a healthy body weight. These nutrients are indispensable for various bodily functions, including maintaining healthy skin, keeping your immune system strong, supporting cell growth, and keeping your bones strong.
One of the most significant benefits of cruciferous vegetables is their high antioxidant content. Antioxidants neutralize harmful free radicals in your body, protecting cells from damage. This can reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. They are especially rich in vitamin C, which acts as a potent antioxidant, as well as Vitamin E, beta-carotene, and manganese!
Cruciferous vegetables also contain a group of substances known as glucosinolates, which are sulfur-containing chemicals. These chemicals are responsible for the pungent aroma and bitter flavor of cruciferous vegetables which admittedly puts some people off. When these vegetables are chopped, chewed, or digested, the glucosinolates are broken down into biologically active compounds like indoles, nitriles, thiocyanates, and isothiocyanates. Research has found that these compounds have potent anti-cancer properties. They inhibit the growth of cancer cells, reduce inflammation, and can even trigger the self-destruction of cancer cells. All this means it’s important, even if you’re not a veggie lover, to find a way to incorporate these healthy guys into your menu!
Another advantage of cruciferous vegetables is that they’re low in calories yet high in volume, making them an excellent choice if you’re looking to lose weight or simply maintain a healthy weight. This means they can fill you up without adding excess calories to your diet. Because of their high fiber content, they also help regulate the digestive system, reducing problems like constipation and promoting a healthy gut.
In addition, cruciferous vegetables are beneficial for the health of your heart. They contain nutrients like potassium and magnesium, critical for maintaining a healthy heartbeat and blood pressure levels. They’re also high in fiber and antioxidants, which can lower your risk of heart disease by reducing cholesterol levels and protecting your heart from oxidative stress.
But I Don’t Like Them!
Despite all these advantages, some people might shy away from cruciferous vegetables due to their bitter taste or gas-producing properties. However, with the right cooking methods, you can mitigate these factors and enhance their flavor. Steaming, roasting, or sautéing these vegetables can soften their flavor and make them more palatable. Adding herbs, spices, or a splash of lemon juice can also help to enhance their taste. Roasting them really brings out their flavor, and I also like to brown them in a skillet with a little olive oil and simply add Himalayan pink salt and some pepperoncino for a little heat.
Cruciferous vegetables are nutrient-dense, low in calories, and packed with antioxidants and other beneficial compounds that can enhance your health and protect you against disease. Whether it’s the humble cabbage, the vibrant broccoli, or the somewhat peculiar kohlrabi, incorporating a variety of these vegetables into your diet can provide significant health benefits. Eating a variety of cruciferous vegetables, raw or cooked, will ensure you gain the broadest range of their nutritional benefits.
It’s important to be mindful that while cruciferous vegetables are very healthy, they should be part of a balanced diet that includes a wide range of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Always aim for variety and balance in your diet, as each food has its unique combination of nutrients. Finally, before making any drastic dietary changes, it’s always a good idea to consult with your healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to be sure any changes are in sync with your specific nutritional needs and health goals.
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Helping You Achieve Major Wellness!
Cheryl A Major, CNWC
I’m author, health coach, and entrepreneur Cheryl A Major, and I would love to connect with you! If you’re new to the world of creating better health, both mental and physical for yourself, please check out my training on how to get gluten out of your diet. Becoming Gluten Free Me is where to check it out. Learn how gluten affects us and how to go about reducing or eliminating it from your diet. You don’t have to suffer with Celiac Disease to benefit from getting gluten out of your life!
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