The Benefits of Eating Cruciferous Vegetables
When we think of cruciferous vegetables, we generally visualise vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and sprouts. However, we should add vegetables such as horseradish, watercress and mustard greens to our list of cruciferous vegetables. These powerhouses are packed full of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and are extremely high in fibre.
Studies in the United States, the UK and Australia have shown that these humble vegetables are proving to be beneficial in staving off cancer, strokes and heart disease. Their high fibre content is also great for the digestive system. Eating cruciferous vegetables allows you to feel satisfied after a meal, while the calorie intake is very low.
Cruciferous vegetable are full of phytochemicals. One of the most important ones is sulforaphane. A great deal of research has been done over the years on the anticarcinogenic properties of this particular phytochemical, which is found in vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower. Sulforaphane is often referred to as an anticancer compound. It not only acts as an anti-inflammatory but also as a potent antioxidant. Studies have also show that sulforaphane can act as an anti-depressant.
A diet rich in fibre is essential for a healthy digestive system and may help prevent problems such as cancer of the bowel. It’s recommended that we eat at least 25-30 grams of fibre each day. The following list contains the amount of fibre found in ½ cup of each vegetable.
Brussel Sprouts 2.9g
Vitamins and minerals
Cruciferous vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals. Let’s examine just one of this family – one cup of steamed broccoli contains: -
Fibre 5 grams
Vitamin A 33% of daily requirement
Vitamin B2 16% of daily requirement
Vitamin B6 17% of daily requirement
Vitamin C 165% of daily requirement
Folic Acid 23% of daily requirement
Magnesium 12% of daily requirement
Potassium 14% of daily requirement
Omega 3 200mg
As can be seen, broccoli is packed full of vitamins and minerals, just like the rest of the cruciferous family. A balanced intake of this family of vegetables will go a long way in providing the necessary vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fibre that we need every day.