Health Benefits of Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables are strong-tasting, are often not your family’s preferred vegetables, are often too bland if just steamed, and can cause gas in our digestive systems; but they are very healthy. If you store and prepare them properly, you can enjoy them in various recipes and have the health benefits of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, beta carotene, antioxidants, and more.
Cruciferous vegetables also reduce the risk of colon and other cancers, supports heart function and the immune system, and aids in healthy elimination. Eggplants have fiber, potassium, and cancer-fighting polyphenols. Avocados have soluble fiber, folate, potassium, vitamin E, and help absorb plant compounds linked to heart disease and macular degeneration.
Broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage have been shown in studies with 6,100 people over 28 years to reduce the risk of dying from any disease, such as heart and cancer, by 26%.
The onion family, including garlic, contains over 70 active phytochemicals which might decrease high blood pressure by an astonishing 30 points and lowers the risk of colorectal, ovarian, and other cancers. They also fight bacteria and infections and make you less likely to catch a cold.
Buying Cruciferous Vegetables
For the best taste and the most nutrition in cruciferous vegetables, get them as fresh as possible. If you buy the baby vegetables such as brussel sprouts, turnips, carrots, squashes, etc., the strong flavors haven’t had a chance to mature and they are more tender. You can also often buy these frozen, which saves you from searching for them fresh.
Storing Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables should be stored separately from fruit. These ethylene-vulnerable veggies can become bitter or turn limp and yellow when exposed to ethylene-producing fruit such as apples, peaches, tomatoes, avocados, apricots, cantaloupes, etc.
Preparing Cruciferous Vegetables
Brussel sprouts can be sliced, brushed or tossed with extra-virgin olive oil, and then roasted at 400* for approximately 35 minutes until browned. Or microwave diagonal slices with a little water and butter.
Onions, leeks, shallots, and garlic are delicious if you slow roast them, which cuts the strong flavor and brings out a sweetness. Or brush them with olive oil, wrap in foil, and put them on the grill. Crush garlic cloves and let them sit for 30 minutes before heating them to activate compounds which protect the heart.
To reduce the possible bitterness of an eggplant: slice it, sprinkle with salt to draw out the water, wait half an hour, and then go ahead with your recipe.
Broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage can be steamed lightly to release the sulforaphane, which helps fight disease. You can give them some taste with butter, cheese, bacon bits, spices, and such.
Even though avocados are good for you, they are high calorie-wise, so use them in small amounts in salads, salsa, on sandwiches, in omelets, etc.