Listing the five best cruciferous vegetables you should include in your meals every day
Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts and kale, are the most nutritious and vitamin-rich vegetables you can eat daily.
They not only benefit our health but infuse our gut with the right food to increase the health of our bacteria and keep us healthy and thriving throughout our lifetime.
The sulphur compound gives cruciferous vegetables their distinct cancer-fighting advantage over many other vegetable alternatives.
All cruciferous vegetables are minuscule in calories although high in nutritional value.
They provide a great added benefit to those on a mission to lose weight, give the necessary appetite suppressant and eliminate cravings.
For example, one cup of cooked broccoli contains 55 calories, providing your body with iron, calcium, potassium and vitamin C to boost your immune system.
Fibre is an essential aspect that everyone should include in their diet. Cruciferous vegetables help to increase the amount of fibre you eat for overall health while giving you an added layer of protection from colorectal cancer.
Research tells us the right amount of fibre to eat is about 37g per day; unfortunately, the average adult only consumes around 20g.
Eating more cruciferous vegetables will help lift your fibre intake to the level necessary for good health and longevity.
Below is a list of the best cruciferous vegetables to eat daily.
Broccoli is one of the most cruciferous vegetables to eat regularly.
It’s Low in calories and high in fibre. One cup of cooked broccoli contains only 55 calories and provides 2.4 grams of fibre. The high fibre content in broccoli helps keep you full for longer periods, reducing hunger and food cravings.
It takes the number one spot on the list because of its cancer-fighting properties.
Broccoli contains a unique compound called sulforaphane, which has been shown to reduce inflammation and improve insulin resistance. In addition, sulforaphane may help to reduce body fat by inhibiting the formation and growth of fat cells.
In terms of weight loss, a study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition found that consuming broccoli as part of a weight loss diet resulted in greater weight loss and reductions in body fat compared to a control group. Another study published in the journal Nutrients found that sulforaphane may help to reduce body fat by inhibiting the formation and growth of fat cells.
Broccoli is an excellent source of antioxidants, which help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. Antioxidants may also help reduce inflammation, a risk factor for several chronic diseases.
Research has shown that broccoli may have numerous health benefits.
For example, a study published in the journal Nutrients found that consuming cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, was associated with a lower risk of several types of cancer, including lung, colorectal, and breast cancer. Another study published in the journal Nutrients found that sulforaphane, the compound found in broccoli, may help to reduce inflammation and improve insulin resistance in people with obesity.
You will get more value from eating broccoli than from taking a supplement.
There are far more health benefits and nutritional values when you slowly add broccoli into your diet as often as possible.
Lightly blanch or add frozen broccoli to your smoothies.
I do this every morning, and it’s a great way to boost the fibre intake in my diet whilst also increasing the beneficial cancer-fighting properties that raw vegetables can give us.
Two: Cabbage in all colours and forms
Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable that is low in calories and fibre, making it an excellent food to include in a weight loss diet. One cup of raw cabbage contains only 22 calories and provides 2.2 grams of fibre. The high fibre content in cabbage helps to keep you feeling full for longer periods, reducing hunger and food cravings.
Cabbage is available in many colours and forms. It is usually used in sauerkraut, a recommended staple for anyone trying to boost the good bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract. Insoluble fibre is a carbohydrate that isn’t broken down by our intestines but keeps our digestive system healthy by bulking stools, which is one way to keep our poop regular.
Soluble fibre adds the benefit of keeping the good guys in our guts satisfied while protecting our immune systems. Fighting free radicals and any colds and flu lurking around is crucial, and cabbage also helps us combat chronic inflammation due to free radicals. One study on Chinese women found that those who ate more cruciferous vegetables had deficient inflammation levels compared to those who didn’t eat as much.
A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that participants who consumed cabbage as part of a weight loss diet lost more weight and body fat than those who did not.
Another compound found in cabbage that may promote weight loss is called indole-3-carbinol. This compound has been shown to reduce the amount of visceral fat, which is the fat that accumulates around your organs and is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Cabbage contains sulforaphane, kaempferol, and many other antioxidants, giving it extraordinary fighting power against inflammation. Try to add cabbage to your salads, soups, and stir-fries.
Three: Kale in all varieties
Many people these days on a Westernised diet do not get enough minerals from their diet. Kale provides a great source of calcium and magnesium, and magnesium can help protect us from developing type two diabetes and heart disease.
Kale also contains less oxalate, which is more so apparent in spinach. Oxalate is found in some leafy greens, which stops us from absorbing magnesium. That’s why kale is essential — it doesn’t prevent magnesium absorption.
Kale intake also has its cancer-fighting benefits, containing sulforaphane and indole-3 carbinol, which also plays a part in prevention. The more cancer-fighting properties the food you eat, the better equipped you will be to fight them off.
Kale contains a unique compound called sulforaphane, which has been shown to reduce inflammation and improve insulin resistance. In addition, sulforaphane may help to reduce body fat by inhibiting the formation and growth of fat cells.
A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that consuming kale as part of a weight loss diet resulted in greater weight loss and reductions in body fat compared to a control group. A
Cholesterol is also a problem amongst the general population.
Our liver turns cholesterol into bile acids, released into our digestive system whenever we eat a high-fat meal.
Since kale contains a compound that can help lower your cholesterol levels and, in turn, have a part to play in reducing heart disease over time.
One particular study showed those who drank kale juice every day for 12 weeks increased the amount of good cholesterol by 27 per cent and lowered the bad cholesterol by 10 per cent.
Kale juices also helped these participants improve their antioxidant status.
Four: Brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts always remind me of a mini version of cabbage. It’s no surprise since they are part of the same family.
Like cabbage, brussels sprouts also help relieve constipation by increasing the amount of poop and softening it up to ease the passing of stools.
Unsurprisingly, Brussels sprouts are a good source of fibre, which is important for digestive health. Fibre helps to promote regular bowel movements, reduce constipation, and improve overall digestive health.
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that consuming cruciferous vegetables, including Brussels sprouts, was associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer. The researchers attributed this to the high fibre content of these vegetables.
Dietary fibre, in general, has many benefits, reducing your risk of heart disease and type two diabetes. All you need to consume is half a cup which provides two grams of fibre.
Many studies have linked that increasing your intake of cruciferous vegetables, including Brussels sprouts, helps to stabilise your blood sugar levels. Fibre is the main beneficial factor in attaining this, and Brussels sprouts contain an adequate amount.
A study published in Diabetes Care found that consuming alpha-lipoic acid supplements improved insulin sensitivity in overweight adults with type 2 diabetes.
Another study published in the journal Nutrients found that consuming sulforaphane-rich broccoli sprouts improved blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes.
Use the power of other vegetables high in fibre to help you keep blood sugar levels steady during the day.
You may not know this, but Brussels sprouts contain ALA Omega-3 fatty acids.
Yes, plant foods have a source of omega-3, which we can benefit from.
We need to eat a more significant amount of ALA to meet those daily omega-3 levels, which you would only get from eating foods such as salmon. Including Brussels sprouts into your diet, every week will help you meet that high quota.
Omega-3 is beneficial for maintaining a healthy heart and preventing cognitive decline as we age, and Omega-3 also helps keep our immune system healthy.
Five: Eat more arugula/rocket
Arugula is filled with antioxidants and has a bitter taste thanks to a compound called glucosinolates. But, that property helps us combat certain cancers, such as breast, lung, prostate and colon.
Arugula is a rich source of antioxidants, compounds that protect the body against damage from free radicals. Free radicals can damage cells and contribute to chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. Arugula contains several antioxidant compounds, including vitamins A, C, and K, and flavonoids.
According to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, arugula has a higher antioxidant capacity than many other leafy greens, including spinach and kale. The researchers also found that the antioxidant activity of arugula increased when it was exposed to light. This suggests that arugula may have even higher antioxidant levels when consumed fresh.
Since arugula contains vitamin K, it can help protect our bones and prevent osteoporosis. Osteoporosis can occur in both men and women.
However, since women transition into menopause and experience several hormonal shifts, eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals and lifting weights to strengthen our bones is essential.
Eating more arugula is also beneficial for keeping our weight under control. Unsurprisingly, the fibre content, plus being lower in carbohydrates, helps us control our appetite and slow digestion.
A study published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine found that consuming a high-nitrate diet, including arugula, improved endurance performance in cyclists. The researchers found that cyclists could cycle longer before reaching exhaustion when they consumed a high-nitrate diet.
Vitamin K in Arugula is great for promoting cartilage growth and preventing any bone injuries. So, if you are an athlete, make sure you increase your intake of arugula.
Finally, arugula is low in calories but high in fibre, making it a great food to include in a weight loss diet. The high fibre content in arugula helps keep you full for longer periods, reducing hunger and food cravings.
A study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition found that consuming arugula as part of a weight loss diet resulted in greater weight loss and reductions in body fat compared to a control group. The researchers also found that consuming arugula helped to improve blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation in overweight individuals.
Key take away
Although one vegetable alone won’t promise to give you the best benefits, eating a variety every single day will assist you in maintaining excellent health and preventing the onset of disease and cancer.
Adding these extra vegetables to your diet will also help reduce your risk of cognitive & mental decline.
Since these cruciferous vegetables have so many benefits, eat them in abundance.
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