Cruciferous Vegetables: Cancer Fighters!

Cruciferous vegetables are named after their cross shaped flower petals. They are great for you, and provide many health benefits. With so many varieties in this family of veggies, it is easy to work them into your diet.

These vegetables contain high levels of antioxidants, which have been linked to disease prevention, including from certain cancers. Antioxidants help keep us healthy on the cellular level, which translates to overall body health. Aside from the antioxidants, they also contain a phyto-chemical called isothiocyanates, which prompt the body to break down cancer causing agents. They also contain numerous vitamins and minerals. Throw away your vitamin supplements, because they are not needed when you eat balanced and healthy meals!

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Keep in mind that these are also known to cause goiters when eaten raw. This is because of a chemical in the plants that disrupts messages being sent to the thyroid. This makes it difficult for the thyroid to produce needed hormones. People who have hyperthyroid function should always steam this family of vegetables and limit their intake.

What are the most nutritious cruciferous veggies? Kale ranks pretty high on the nutrition scale, with many of your needed vitamins and minerals. It also has a high fiber to calorie ratio, meaning that you do not need to eat a whole lot of it to feel full. Broccoli comes in at a close second, providing vitamins, minerals, and anti-inflammatory benefits. Swiss chard is also very nutritious, containing more than half the vitamin C you need for the day in a single serving. It can also help regulate blood sugar levels. All cruciferous veggies are great for you! So eat them as often as you can.

Here is a list of cruciferous vegetables:

-Arugula
-Bok Choy
-Broccoli
-Brussels sprouts
-Cabbage
-Cauliflower
-Chard
-Chinese cabbage
-Collard greens
-Daikon
-Kale
-Kohlrabi
-Mustard greens
-Radishes
-Rutabagas
-Turnips
-watercress

How do we work these veggies into our diet? You are probably familiar with some of the vegetables on this list. For example, most people know how to cook and prepare broccoli. Try to maintain a healthy and simple meal plan. Incorporate fresh vegetables as side dishes to your meals. Instead of choosing processed or prepackaged foods, cook your own. When you select, prepare, and cook your own meals you are in control of what is going into your body. You will know if there are preservatives, high fructose corn syrups, and other unwanted ingredients. Cooking can be a fun and bonding experience you can share with family, friends, and loved ones. Take the extra time and effort to cook a wonderful meal complete with vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Good food does not have to be complicated. Steaming broccoli takes just minutes, and it goes well with a variety of other food.

Cruciferous vegetables are great for you! They provide cancer-fighting nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and so many other health benefits. By eating well and balanced we can live long, active, and healthy lives. Enjoy some of these vegetables for dinner tonight!

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