We’ve all heard that cruciferous vegetables (eg. Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Brussels sprouts, Cauliflower, Collard Greens, Arugula) are good for us, but what do the experts say?
In “How Not to Die” Dr Michael Greger includes a serving of Cruciferous vegetable as part of his “Daily Dozen” diet plan for a longer healthy life.
His rationale is that many studies have shown a link between cruciferous vegetables and good health, or reduced risk of disease.
One study for example showed that eating broccoli reduces the number of DNA mutations in smokers, and it’s considered likely that all cruciferous vegetables will have a similar effect.
A key component in cruciferous vegetables is sulforaphane. It prevents DNA damage, and cancer spread (metastasis), and activates defense against pathogens and pollutants.
A laboratory study reported in “Food Chemistry” in 2009 concluded that different vegetables may target different cancers. “Overall, these results indicate that there is substantial differences in the antiproliferative properties of vegetables against tumor cells and that cruciferous, dark green and Allium vegetables are endowed with potent anticancer properties”.
In “The End of Alzheimer’s”, Dr Dale Bredesen includes cruciferous vegetables as a recommended component of the diet in his ‘ReCODE’ plan to avoid the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
A study reported in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2011 titled “Cruciferous vegetable consumption is associated with a reduced risk of total and cardiovascular disease mortality” concluded that:
Our findings support recommendations to increase consumption of vegetables, particularly cruciferous vegetables, and fruit to promote cardiovascular health and overall longevity.
The UK National Health Service reported in 2018 on an Australian study of 1500 women aged 70 or older, titled: “Broccoli and sprouts linked to healthier arteries for older women”.
The study concluded that “increasing vegetables within the diet with a focus on consuming cruciferous vegetables may protect against subclinical atherosclerosis [artery thickening that has not yet caused a stroke] in older adult women”
So what do I do?
Cabbage, sprouts, or broccoli feature occasionally in my evening meal, but I try and make sure that every day I get a portion of cruciferous.
So, typically, at lunchtime, I chop red cabbage to go in a sandwich, or mix into a dip, as red cabbage is particularly rich in anti-oxidants.
I’ve started trying Sauerkraut as an occasional alternative. It’s cabbage, but fermented rather than fresh, so I’m sure it misses out on some fresh elements. On the other hand, the process of making it also adds in some nutrients. On balance I suspect it’s not as good for me as fresh cabbage, but it’s refreshing to have a change occasionally, and it does go well mixed with hummus, tomatoes, lettuce, and other ingredients.
Link to my post “How Not to Die”
Link to my post “Alzheimer’s Disease”
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3127519/