Crucifers: Why We Should Eat a lot of them – new study

 We Should Eat A lot of Cruciferous Vegetables



Doggy Bag Message First

Cruciferous vegetable deliver significant anti-inflammatory benefits in this latest study. The consumption of about 6 servings a week of these powerful plants show maximum protection against most cancer’s and heart disease.

Study Details

  • Over 1000 Chinese women were studied
  • Higher intake of cruciferous vegetables was connected with significantly lower of pro-inflammatory markers (for the curious minded, those markers include: tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), and IL-6)
  • Less anti-inflammatory benefits were observed with consumption of all vegetables combined but not with non-cruciferous vegetables.

My Take On This

If there were a vegetable that deserves most praise for it’s health benefits it would be cruciferous vegetables. These family of vegetables includes: broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, bok choy, collard greens, horseradish, wasabi and kale.

There are two main phytochemicals found to have the most benefit; sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol. These powerful plant chemicals seem to possess anti-carcinogenic, detoxification  and anti-inflammatory value.

Cruciferous and Prostate Cancer

For the past decade, there has been a plethora of research on the benefits of these vegetables and prostate cancer.

The stimulation of a specific detoxification group of enzymes (called phase II enzymes) could be partly responsible for the association of intake of broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables with decreased prostate cancer risk (Brooks et al. 2001)

In the one big study on men and prostate cancer, high consumption of cruciferous was associated with a 32% decreased risk of incident prostate cancer. (Steinbrecher et al. 2009)

In 1,560 men,  cruciferous vegetables consumption after diagnosis was strongly associated with reduced risk of prostate cancer progression among men initially diagnosed with non-metastatic prostate cancer. (Richman et al. 2011)

Cruciferous and Breast Cancer

4,886 Chinese breast cancer survivors who were diagnosed with stage 1 to stage 4 breast cancer from 2002 to 2006. Breast cancer survivors who eat more cruciferous vegetables may have improved survival. Women who consumed the highest intake of vegetables per day had a 62 percent reduced risk of breast cancer mortality, and 35 percent reduced risk of breast cancer recurrence, compared to women with the low intake. Study LINK HERE.

The benefits of broccoli and its “cousins” are not only in cancer. One group of researchers saw a 31% lower cardiovascular mortality in individuals with the highest intake of cruciferous vegetables. (Zhang et al. 2011)

So, there you have it. The more cruciferous you consume, the longer you live. Here are some tips though:
Make sure the vegetable is not brown or overly cooked – that would reduce the amounts of protective phytochemicals. Also, steam them just a little and avoid eating them raw since raw vegetables may be indigestible in many who eat them.


Crucifer Soup Recipe

Here’s a scrumptious and protective crucifer soup recipe from our Natural gourmet chef Marti Wolfson.

Creamy Emerald Soup

Created by Marti Wolfson, CHC

Serves 4-5

1 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp. ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large celery stalks, chopped
1 bunch kale, stems removed and discarded
3 cups water or homemade vegetable stock
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
Squeeze of lemon

Heat the oil in a medium pot on medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until the onions soften and become translucent. Add the garlic, ginger, celery, broccoli, kale and ½ tsp. sea salt and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the water or stock and remaining salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat, simmering for 20 minutes.   Place the soup in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. If a thinner consistency is desired add water ¼ cup at a time. Taste for salt and finish with a squeeze of lemon.



Jiang Y, Wu SH, Shu XO, Xiang YB, Ji BT, Milne GL, Cai Q, Zhang X, Gao YT, Zheng W, Yang G. Cruciferous Vegetable Intake Is Inversely Correlated with Circulating Levels of Proinflammatory Markers in Women. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2014 May;114(5):700-708.e2.

Brooks JD, Paton VG, Vidanes G (2001) Potent induction of phase II enzymes in human prostate cells by sulforaphane. CEBP 10:949–954

Steinbrecher A, Nimptsch K, Husing A, Rohrmann S, Linseisen J. Dietary glucosinolate intake and risk of prostate cancer in the EPIC-Heidelberg cohort study. Int J Cancer 2009; 125: 2179–86.

Richman EL, Carroll PR, Chan JM.Vegetable and fruit intake after diagnosis and risk of prostate cancer progression. Int J Cancer. 2011 Aug 5.

X. Zhang, X.O. Shu, Y.B. Xiang et al. Cruciferous vegetable consumption is associated with a reduced risk of total and cardiovascular disease mortality Am J Clin Nutr, 94 (1) (2011), pp. 240–246

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