This ingredient can be found in: Pop A Green
The term cruciferous refers to ‘cross like’ arrangement of the leaves noted in some vegetables. Vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and kale are some of the commonly consumed cruciferous vegetables. These cruciferous vegetables are known to contain numerous proteins and other chemical compounds, referred to as phytochemicals, that are beneficial in maintaining a good health and also preventing a number of disorders. One of the main phytochemicals noted in cruciferous vegetables is glucosinolate (glucoraphanin and isothiocyanate sulforaphane are two major types of this chemical) responsible for the majority of benefits noted with cruciferous vegetables.1
These phytochemicals are known to prevent numerous disorders of the heart and reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in our body. The anticancer activity of the cruciferous vegetables prevents the occurrence of a number of cancers including prostate, bladder, lung, stomach, colon and breast cancers.2,3 These vegetables are also known to have a significant amount of antioxidant capabilities that help prevent cell damage.
Broccoli belongs to the group of cruciferous vegetables that are known have numerous benefits. The benefits of broccoli are owed to the phytochemical known as glucosinolates. This phytochemical is responsible for its chemopreventive effects wherein broccoli consumption is associated with a decrease in the risk of heart disorders. Broccoli has been noted to produce certain proteins known as thioredoxin that have heart protective capability. The cardioprotective properties of broccoli improve heart function, prevent formation of clots, reduce the size of clots and suppress inflammatory reactions in the heart.1 Broccoli is known to prevent various cancers including prostate gland cancer, breast cancer, bladder cancer and lung cancer.2-4 The prevention of prostate gland cancer was noted to be more pronounced with the use of broccoli.3
Brussels sprouts contain the highest amount of a protein known as sulforaphane which has anti-cancer effects. The main benefit of brussels sprouts is the reduction in the risk of various cancers including colon and prostate cancer. The sulforaphane in brussels sprouts prevents the progression of the cancer cells and even causes death of cancer cells.5 Similar to other cruciferous vegetables brussels sprouts also benefits individuals suffering from colorectal cancer, and breast cancer.1 Brussels sprouts were also noted to prevent the cancerous changes in the liver in one of the studies wherein brussels sprouts inhibited the cellular changes which result in the formation of cancer.6
It is a very good source of Vitamin C. it also contain significant quantity of glutamine which is an amino acid with anti-inflammatory properties. It is a source of indole-3-carbinol which has medicinal properties. The intake of cabbage has been found to be associated with decreased risk of bladder cancer. A significant association between the consumption of cabbage and decrease in the risk of bladder cancer was reported in a study.4 Further, the risk of lung cancer was noted to be inversely proportional to the consumption of cabbage wherein increased consumption of cabbage resulted in a decrease in the risk of lung cancers.7 Other cancers such as breast cancers, lung cancers and stomach are also preventable with regular usage of cabbage. The cancer preventive effect was observed in all the types of cabbages in general.8
Cauliflower is also known to contain a high amount of cell protective proteins as in other cruciferous vegetables. Such cell protective proteins may have a direct or indirect role in the antioxidant mechanisms occurring in our body. This property in cauliflower enhances protection against the occurrence of cancer, high blood pressure, nerve damage and eye damage.9 The benefits of cruciferous vegetables in the prevention of different types of cancers are well established across various studies. Cauliflower may also benefit as a chemoprotective agent in treating cancers of the breast, prostate gland and the colon.8 Cooking processes may alter the availability of the phytochemicals present in cruciferous vegetable such as cauliflower wherein cauliflower supplements may overcome this problem.10 Cauliflower leaf juice has antimicrobial properties wherein it prevents the growth of many bacteria that are commonly found in different food substances. This property of cauliflower may be beneficial in preventing bacterial contamination of food substances.11
The benefit of kale was noted in a study performed in individuals suffering from high cholesterol levels (hypercholesterolemia). This condition commonly results in formation of blocks in the blood vessels supplying the heart. Administration of kale juice in these individuals decreased the risk of formation of clots. Other benefits of kale noted in this study included increase in the good cholesterol levels, decrease in bad cholesterol levels and increase in the antioxidant activities in the body.12 Kale along with other cruciferous vegetables is also known to contain high amounts vitamins and other functional compounds that are beneficial to the human body.13 Along with these benefits kale like the other cruciferous vegetables benefits individuals who are susceptible to different types of cancers.
- Mukherjee S, Gangopadhyay H, Das DK. Broccoli: a unique vegetable that protects mammalian hearts through the redox cycling of the thioredoxin superfamily. J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Jan 23;56(2):609-17. Epub 2007 Dec 29.
- Lund E. Non-nutritive bioactive constituents of plants: dietary sources and health benefits of glucosinolates. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2003 Mar;73(2):135-43.
- Traka M, Gasper AV, Melchini A, et al. Broccoli consumption interacts with GSTM1 to perturb oncogenic signalling pathways in the prostate. PLoS ONE. 2008 Jul 2;3(7):e2568.
- Michaud DS, Spiegelman D, Clinton SK, et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and incidence of bladder cancer in a male prospective cohort. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1999 Apr 7;91(7):605-13.
- Clarke JD, Dashwood RH, Ho E. Multi-targeted prevention of cancer by sulforaphane. Cancer Lett. 2008 Oct 8;269(2):291-304. Epub 2008 May 27.
- Steinkellner H, Rabot S, Freywald C, et al. Effects of cruciferous vegetables and their constituents on drug metabolizing enzymes involved in the bioactivation of DNA-reactive dietary carcinogens. Mutat Res. 2001 Sep 1;480-481:285-97.
- Verhoeven DT, Goldbohm RA, van Poppel G, et al. Epidemiological studies on brassica vegetables and cancer risk. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 1996 Sep;5(9):733-48.
- van Poppel G, Verhoeven DT, Verhagen H, Goldbohm RA. Brassica vegetables and cancer prevention. Epidemiology and mechanisms. Adv Exp Med Biol. 1999;472:159-68.
- Dinkova-Kostova AT, Talalay P. Direct and indirect antioxidant properties of inducers of cytoprotective proteins. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2008 Jun;52 Suppl 1:S128-38.
- Rungapamestry V, Duncan AJ, Fuller Z, Ratcliffe B. Effect of cooking brassica vegetables on the subsequent hydrolysis and metabolic fate of glucosinolates. Proc Nutr Soc. 2007 Feb;66(1):69-81.
- Brandi G, Amagliani G, Schiavano GF, De Santi M, Sisti M. Activity of Brassica oleracea leaf juice on foodborne pathogenic bacteria. J Food Prot. 2006 Sep;69(9):2274-9.
- Kim SY, Yoon S, Kwon SM, Park KS, Lee-Kim YC. Kale juice improves coronary artery disease risk factors in hypercholesterolemic men. Biomed Environ Sci. 2008 Apr;21(2):91-7.
- Etoh K, Niijima N, Yokoshita M, Fukuoka S. DNA-based identification of Brassica vegetable species for the juice industry. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2003 Oct;49(5):357-64.