What Are Cruciferous Vegetables?
Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, bok choy, arugula, Brussels sprouts, collards, watercress, and radishes. Fun fact: Members of the mustard family with four petals that look like a cross have been named “cruciferous.” It comes from the Latin word Cruciferae, which means “cross-bearing.”
Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, and wasabi are really like by a lot of people. We’re pulled to this specific set of vegetables for a variety of reasons, the first of which being their versatility and health advantages.
Advantages Of Consuming Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables have recently become more popular because they can help fight cancer. This substantial group of plants is very wide – ranging, and each one has its own flavor.
1. They Might Help You Lose Weight
Cruciferous vegetables are low in calories and full of folate, vitamins C, E, and K, as well as fiber. If you want to lose weight, you need fiber because it makes you feel full for a longer time. So, eating a healthy amount of cruciferous vegetables every day might help you lose some weight. But the total number of calories you eat is a very important factor in weight loss.
2. They Might Help Reduce Inflammation
Cruciferous vegetables are full of phytonutrients, which are plant-based substances that may help lower inflammation and lower the risk of cancer. So, there is a good chance that cruciferous vegetables will help you lessen the symptoms of inflammation.
3. They Might Improve Heart Health
Consumption of cruciferous vegetables appears to reduce the risk of heart disease, according to growing data. Regular eating of these vegetables was linked to lower total and HDL cholesterol levels in a study published in the journal Molecules in January 2018.
In fact, researchers aggregated the results of eight studies looking at the impact of cruciferous and leafy green vegetables on heart disease for a study published in the Journal of Royal Society of Medicine Cardiovascular Diseases in January 2016. They discovered that people who consumed the most cruciferous vegetables had a 16 percent lower risk of heart disease than those who consumed them infrequently.
4. They Might Help Fight Cancer
Glucosinolates are also found in cruciferous vegetables. The smell and taste of these plants come from these compounds, which have also been shown to have anti-cancer effects. According to the National Cancer Institute, studies on rats and mice have shown that the molecules indoles and isothiocyanates are made when glucosinolates are broken down. These molecules protect cells from DNA damage, stop carcinogens from working, and have antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Please understand that the link between eating cruciferous vegetables and a lower chance of getting cancer in humans is not very clear right now, so more research is needed. Researchers have looked into the links between prostate, colorectal, lung, and breast cancers, and most of them show that there is little to no link.
Furthermore, we can’t ignore the fact that bioactive components in cruciferous vegetables have been shown in multiple studies to have favorable impacts on biomarkers of cancer-related processes in some people.
5. They Might Help Control Blood Sugar
Cruciferous vegetables, like all vegetables, include dietary fiber, which helps to slow digestion and the rate at which we absorb sugar from the foods we eat, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Glucosinolates and other compounds found in this family of vegetables have been linked to improved blood sugar control, according to a meta-analysis published in the Journal of Diabetes Investigation in January 2016.
Cruciferous vegetables may help with blood sugar control by reducing insulin resistance, according to a study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition in April 2012. Researchers studied the impact of different amounts of broccoli sprouts powder on people with type 2 diabetes. 10 grams (2.4 teaspoons), 5 grams (1.2 teaspoons), or a placebo were administered to the participants.
The group that took 10 grams of broccoli sprouts powder reported a significant drop in insulin levels and HOMA-IR, or homeostatic standards are considered of insulin resistance, a measurement used to determine diabetes risk, after four weeks.
Cruciferous Vegetables Nutrition
Cruciferous vegetables are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. These good fats are important for a number of biological processes, such as keeping your brain healthy, lowering your risk of mental decline, and preventing diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Cruciferous vegetables also have a lot of these nutrients:
- Folic Acid
- Vitamin C
The exact nutrients that cruciferous vegetables have can vary, but the macronutrients tend to stay the same. For example, one cup of cooked broccoli has the following:
- 55 calories
- 4 grams of protein
- 1 gram of fat
- 11 grams of carbohydrates
- 5 grams of fibre
- 2 gram sugar
What Should Be An Approximate Serving Size?
The US Department of Agriculture says that adult women should eat 2.5 cups of vegetables every day, while adult men should eat 3 cups. 1 cup of vegetables is equal to 1 cup of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, or cauliflower, cooked or uncooked. One cup of vegetables is equal to two cups of leafy greens like kale or arugula.
Cruciferous vegetables don’t have to be a big part of the vegetables you eat, but you should eat them every day for the best health benefits.
Can Cruciferous Vegetables Cause Bloating?
When consuming broccoli, cabbage, or other cruciferous vegetables, stomach discomfort such as bloating and gas is common.
This happens because these vegetables are strong in fiber and contain raffinose, a complex carbohydrate fermented in our stomach, according to Harvard Health Publishing. As a result, gas is created when fermentation occurs.
Stay hydrated and start with small portions, gradually increasing as tolerated to avoid this. Always chew completely before swallowing. Another alternative is to take a digestive enzyme to help break down and digest certain foods.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 9% of Americans eat enough veggies on a daily basis, so the most important first step for most of us — whether you’re worried about blood sugar control or diabetes risk — is to start seriously eating more vegetables.
Cruciferous vegetables are abundant in nutrients and low in calories, and they may also aid in cancer prevention. Try a variety of recipes that incorporate cruciferous vegetables to meet your daily suggested portion if you’re trying to lose weight or simply want to add more healthy options to your diet.