“Eat your vegetables” is a mantra of most parents worldwide. And it turns out they were right, and wrong, that broccoli just may save your life someday or it could cause more problems if not eaten in moderation. Cruciferous vegetables have shown to provide some protections against certain types of cancer according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. These vegetables contain a chemical called isothiocyanates, a chemical that causes our bodies to break down many cancer causing agents. In addition to the good, the isothiocyanates can reduce thyroid function, making it hard for the hormones to be produced. The sulfur in broccoli can even hold the key to some genetic diseases.
So now you know that your vegetables could be good for you, you should know exactly what cruciferous vegetables are. Cruciferous vegetables are from the family Brassicaceae, the name derived from the Latin word for cross-bearing based on the shape of their flowers that look like a cross. Some of the more commonly known names are broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and radish. Cooked properly and eaten in moderation these vegetables are another key to living well and long.
In order to ensure that you are getting the best out of the vegetables without sacrificing the taste you should be sure to not overcook them. The sulfur odor that results from overcooking is not very tasty. Adding raw cruciferous vegetables to your salads, soups or even casseroles can add that anti-cancer boost you need. Additionally, when buying your broccoli make sure it is not limp or yellow; the florets should be a dark green or bluish hue for the most Vitamin C and beta-carotene. Be sure to add non-cruciferous vegetables to your diet as well so that the powerful chemicals in them don’t cause drug interactions.
Cruciferous vegetables also make for great snacks and can be substituted for a great bedtime or after school snack. Tasty cauliflower popcorn is easy to make and also makes a great side item at dinner time. It can be served with yogurt for dip or sour cream. All you need to make it is:
1 head cauliflower
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Once you have all your ingredients together preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Begin by removing the core from the cauliflower. Cut the florets out and use your fingers to pull them apart. After you have completed pulling them apart place the pieces on an ungreased cookie sheet, add the oil and seasonings using your hands to rub it into the cauliflower. Put the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, flip the cauliflower and bake 5 more minutes. Using this recipe you can roast most cruciferous vegetables and keep in the good chemicals and keeping out the bad ones.