Cruciferous Vegetables

What are Cruciferous Vegetables?

January 24, 2019

What do we need to know about cruciferous vegetables?

When people ask what are cruciferous vegetables, it’s quite hard to explain. Instead, people give an example of cruciferous vegetables. These vegetables include cauliflower, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, and watercress. All these vegetable sound familiar to us. And that’s because we eat them on a daily basis! We just so happen to not know what they’re really called and just generalize them as “vegetables”.

Why are they called cruciferous vegetables?

So why call all those vegetables a fancy name such as cruciferous vegetables? One of the main distinctions of these vegetables is the flowers they have. Unlike most flowers, cruciferous vegetables have flowers with four petals. However, the flowers are often not rounded. The petals appear similar to a blade. Hence, the name “cruciferous” because it has an appearance of a cross.

What are the benefits of eating cruciferous vegetables?

Especially for those who are going on a ketogenic diet, cruciferous vegetables are low in calories and have no sugar or carbohydrates. Because people want something similar to rice without the sugar and carbs rice packs, they often substitute it with cruciferous vegetables. Some cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower when roasted have a similar texture to that of rice. And when done properly, it can help diabetics go on with their life while satisfying their craving for rice.

Other than that, these vegetables are jam-packed with vitamins such as with Vitamin A, C, and K. The good news about these vitamins is that these are the vitamins that a human body needs the most. So a person can eat a whole plate of broccoli and their body won’t have an adverse reaction. Unless it’s cooked with a specific allergen like peanuts or eggs.

Other benefits from eating cruciferous vegetables include them having antioxidants and they fight against carcinogenic substances.

Examples of Cruciferous Vegetables

If you’re looking for cruciferous vegetables to add to your diet, here are some cruciferous vegetables to look out for:

Broccoli Wasabi Brussel Sprouts
Cauliflower Kale Mizuna
Cabbage Arugula Maca
Turnip Collard Greens Daikon
Bok Choi Radish Watercress
Mustard Greens Rutabaga

 

Before consuming these vegetables, make sure you wash them well. Also, check with your doctor if your body has any adverse reaction to these vegetables. There have been some studies that showed that thyroid patients should not consume large amounts of cabbage.

How do I get my kid to eat these vegetables?

Ah, the age-old question when it comes to parents. Kids don’t like vegetables for two reasons: it’s green and it’s not sweet. Toddlers and children are at a developmental stage where their taste buds are not equally developed. For children, their most developed tastebud is their sweet tastebud. This would mean they would prefer something like a stew with cabbage in it.

What some people do is boil cabbage, carrots, potatoes, and beef shank to make a soup. The children then don’t need to eat the veggies themselves. They can also drink the soup since Vitamin C is water soluble. And if there’s beef fat, all the more they can absorb Vitamin A or K. In the Philippines, they call this particular dish known as Bulalo. It’s literally beef soup where they throw in a bunch of vegetables. Sometimes, they exchange cabbage for bok choy if they can’t find any.

What also makes it hard for kids to eat broccoli is the hard texture. It already doesn’t have an appealing taste to them and it’s hard too, making it even harder for them to eat. What some people do is the bake the broccoli in three kinds of cheese and some bacon. The bacon will definitely get the kid to eat it. And at the same time, the slow cooking of the broccoli will cause it to soften which would make it easier for them to eat.

Another way of getting them to eat cruciferous vegetables is to turn it into juice. All you have to do is hide them in the drink with strongly flavored fruits. Like, the bitterness of Kale can be disguised by throwing in Fuji Apples and some Pineapple which has a strong sweet flavor. At the same time, it also helps them digest food and gives them more antioxidants. For example, Pineapple being highly acidic can help break down meat faster since it has a protease. It also has fiber to help digestion. Along with that, it has a strong, sweet, tangy flavor that can disguise the presence of kale.

cruciferous vegetables

Sources:

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Shapiro, T. A., Fahey, J. W., Wade, K. L., Stephenson, K. K., & Talalay, P. (1998). Human metabolism and excretion of cancer chemoprotective glucosinolates and isothiocyanates of cruciferous vegetables. Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Biomarkers, 7(12), 1091-1100.

Herr, I., & Büchler, M. W. (2010). Dietary constituents of broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables: implications for prevention and therapy of cancer. Cancer treatment reviews, 36(5), 377-383.

McNaughton, S. A., & Marks, G. C. (2003). Development of a food composition database for the estimation of dietary intakes of glucosinolates, the biologically active constituents of cruciferous vegetables. British Journal of Nutrition, 90(3), 687-697.

Tang, L., Zirpoli, G. R., Guru, K., Moysich, K. B., Zhang, Y., Ambrosone, C. B., & McCann, S. E. (2008). Consumption of raw cruciferous vegetables is inversely associated with bladder cancer risk. Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Biomarkers, 17(4), 938-944.

Abdull, R., Ahmad, F., & Noor, N. M. (2013). Cruciferous vegetables: dietary phytochemicals for cancer prevention. Asian Pacific Journal of cancer prevention, 14(3), 1565-1570.

Villegas, R., Shu, X. O., Gao, Y. T., Yang, G., Elasy, T., Li, H., & Zheng, W. (2008). Vegetable but not fruit consumption reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes in Chinese women. The Journal of nutrition, 138(3), 574-580.

Schulze, M. B., Hoffmann, K., Manson, J. E., Willett, W. C., Meigs, J. B., Weikert, C., … & Hu, F. B. (2005). Dietary pattern, inflammation, and incidence of type 2 diabetes in women–. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 82(3), 675-684.