What is a cruciferous vegetable anyway? Is it a vegetable that is extra crunchy? Good guess, but no! Cruciferous vegetables are high-fiber vegetables that are part of the Brassica genus and are rich in vitamins C, E and K as well as folate. The most distinguishing characteristic of cruciferous vegetables is a pungent aroma and bitter flavor due to a sulfur-containing substance known as glucosinolates. In other words, cruciferous vegetables can be rather, well, smelly.
Before you cross them off your grocery list, let’s consider all the vegetables that are part of the cruciferous family. Some of the vegetables include:
Not all these veggies are stinky, are they? Several of them are, but, like many foods, the taste of a vegetable can be greatly altered by how it is prepared. With seasonings and the addition of other ingredients, most of these cruciferous vegetables can be considered quite palatable and even tasty when prepared well.
It is widely recognized that eating a varied diet is important for good health and for disease prevention. Initiatives like Choose My Plate and More Matters remind us that our plates should be full of color and texture and that fruits and vegetables should be the foundation of the dinner plate instead of red meat and starches. Numerous animal studies have been performed on rats and mice to find a connection between cruciferous vegetables and cancer. Researchers have identified several ways that cruciferous vegetables could prevent cancer such as:
Studies on human consumption of cruciferous vegetables and cancer risk are still being reviewed and analyzed. Several studies in the United States and the Netherlands have been conducted to determine the connection between cruciferous vegetable consumption and colon cancer risk. One study called the Netherlands Cohort Study on Diet and Cancer found that women who ate a diet high in cruciferous vegetables had a reduced risk of colon cancer. Other studies showed no association between cruciferous vegetable consumption and colon cancer risk, so more research needs to be done to analyze potential benefits (Source: Oncology Nurse).
What is clear is that eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is the best way to ensure that your body is getting the nutrients it needs each day. Cruciferous vegetables should be eaten several times per week for a balanced diet. Take some time to browse the butt seriously blog to find new ways to prepare cruciferous vegetables and other creative recipes that incorporate an array of vegetables and fruits. Your meals will be more colorful, exciting and tasteful than ever before!