There is abundant evidence that eating natural plant foods, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, etc., significantly decreases the risk of developing cancer.
Apart from being full of precious vitamins and minerals, cruciferous vegetables have been shown to be twice as effective in the battle against cancer. Studies have shown that as cruciferous vegetable intake goes up 20 %, cancer rates in a population drop by 40 %. Here is a list of the most commonly used cruciferous vegetables:
- Bok Choy
- Brussels Sprouts
- Collard Greens
- Mustard Greens
ANTI -CANCER BENEFITS
Cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates, sulphur containing compounds. In different areas of the cell, they also contain an enzyme myrosinase. When we blend, chop or chew these vegetables, we break up the plant cells, bringing these two compounds into contact.
Their contact initiates a chemical reaction that produces isothiocyanates (ITCs), which are powerful anti- cancer compounds. According to the National Institute of Health, ITCs protect cells from DNA damage, inactivate carcinogens, kill cancer cells, and prevent tumors from growing. They also have antibacterial, antiviral and anti inflammatory effects.
Several observational studies have shown that eating ITC rich cruciferous vegetables protects against cancer. Here are few examples:
- One serving per day of cruciferous vegetables reduced the risk of breast cancer by over 50 %.
- One or more servings of cabbage per week reduced risk of pancreatic cancer by 38 %.
- Just 3 servings of cruciferous vegetables per week decreased prostate cancer by 41%.
WHY IT IS BETTER TO EAT THEM RAW
It is good to cook most vegetables since heat breaks down cell walls and releases antioxidants.
This is not the case with cruciferous vegetables. Heating them reduces the conversion of glucosinolates to isothiocyanates, the powerful anti- cancer compounds. Scientists at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, have agreed that heat kills the cancer-fighting substances of crucifers. During the cooking process, their water soluble vitamins are also wasted.
If it is absolutely necessary for you to add heat, it is best to apply just a light steam without letting the vegetables touch water. A light steam will keep more of their precious nutrients intact.
Here are eight cruciferous vegetables that are best to eat raw:
Broccoli is very high in vitamin C and it has the highest level of carotenoids, which have been shown to reduce the risk of renal cancer and lung cancer. It is a precious source of indole 3 carbinol, which boosts DNA repair in cells and inhibits the growth of cancer cells.
They contain high levels of vitamins C and K, as well as B vitamins like folic acid and vitamin B 6. To eat them raw, you can prepare a simple salad by chopping them and topping them with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
This vegetable has been used since ancient times as a herbal remedy for different ailments. It is an excellent source of vitamins C and K. Just chop it up and toss it with lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic for a tasty raw salad.
It is high in dietary fiber, folate and vitamin C while being low in fat and carbohydrates. You can give it a fluffy texture by grating it and adding it to different salads.
You can add this vegetable to pizza after baking and also to pasta. In its fresh form, it can be a precious addition to many sauces and cooked dishes.
This type of a Chinese cabbage was ranked second out of 41 most nutrient fruits and vegetables, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control. You can enjoy all its benefits by chopping it up and adding it to your favorite salad.
In addition to its anti- carcinogenic benefits, this precious leaf vegetable has high amounts of folic acid, iodine, calcium, iron, manganese and vitamins A, B6, C, and K. It is also known as a diuretic, digestive aid, and expectorant. It is easy to eat it fresh: just add it to your favorite sandwich.
Kale is very high in calcium, vitamins C and K. It also contains a significant amount of beta carotene, which has been shown to reduce the risk of macular degeneration and the risk of breast cancer in women before menopause. You can make a tasty kale salad by chopping it up and adding olive oil, lemon juice and black pepper.
Although the leafy greens of the turnip are also edible, we mostly consume its bulbous root with a purple top. This vegetable also abounds in precious nutrients.
It has a high content of sulforaphane, a compound with a bitter taste, which gives turnips a cancer-fighting power. It has a high amount of fiber that provides multiple health benefits- it aids in weight loss by keeping you full, it keeps blood sugar stable, promotes a healthy digestive tract and prevents inflammation in the colon.
The dietary nitrates in turnips reduce blood pressure and improve endothelial dysfunction.Turnips also contain a lot of vitamin C- eating two medium turnips meets vitamin C needs for the entire day.
Apart from boosting the immune system in the fight against cold and flu, vitamin C also keeps eyes healthy by protecting them against UV light damage.To eat turnips raw, you can chop or shred them and add them to your favorite salad recipe.
Kohlrabi is a small, bulbous vegetable, encased in two harder shells of leaves. It is native to Europe and it is also known as German Turnip.
It offers amazing health benefits. Apart from containing high levels of glucosinolates that prevent cancer, it is also full of nutrients and minerals like copper, potassium, iron, manganese and vitamins C, B-complex, and K.
It aids in weight loss, improves metabolism, helps the immune, cardiovascular and digestive systems, prevents anemia and osteoporosis, and prevents age-related macular degeneration.When eaten raw, it has a super-crisp texture and a mild peppery taste. You can slice it very thinly and drizzle with olive oil and sea salt as an appetizer or a side salad.
You can also shred it with a grater or cut into strips and add it to a salad.After all that has been said about these precious vegetables, we can just suggest: It is time for you to go cruciferous!