Benefits of Cruciferous Vegetables
Vegetables that are members of the cruciferous, or cabbage, family not only contain fiber and many vitamins and minerals (including antioxidants) that promote optimal health, they also contain sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol. These phytonutrients have been shown to stimulate enzymes in the body that help the liver remove carcinogens (and other toxic chemicals) and deactivate a powerful estrogen metabolite that promotes tumor growth.
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, various components in cruciferous vegetables have been shown to stop tumor growth in the breast, uterine lining, cervix, colon, lung, and liver and according to studies monitoring diets, eating cruciferous vegetables can lower ones risk of getting prostate cancer.
Other benefits of cruciferous vegetables include:
- enhancing the immune system
- helping in the prevention of macular degeneration eye disease and cataracts
- helping in the treatment and prevention of high cholesterol and high blood pressure
- preventing constipation and maintaining healthy bowels
- helping maintain blood glucose levels and promoting weight loss.
Cruciferous vegetables can affect the metabolism of many drugs. If you are taking medications, consult with your health care provider about whether or not if you should limit these vegetables.
Cruciferous vegetables contain goitrogens, a compound that interferes with thyroid function. Those with a thyroid condition should limit these vegetables (consult with your health care provider regarding safe amounts). Cooking these vegetables for 30 minutes can greatly reduce the amount of goitrogens (it can also reduce important nutrients).
Very high intakes of cruciferous vegetables have been shown to cause hypothyroidism in animals. In one human study, eating 5 ounces of cooked Brussels sprouts for 4 weeks did not have any adverse effects on thyroid function.
List of Cruciferous Vegetables
List of cruciferous vegetables:
- bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
- collard greens
- turnip root/greens
For the best benefits of cruciferous vegetables, include at least one serving in your daily diet (unless advised not to) and eat a variety of the foods mentioned in the above list.
 Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 1983;18(2):123-201
 Hum Toxicol. 1986;5(1):15-19
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