To be a member of the Brassica family is like being part of the royal family. These superfoods are chock full of nutrients that anyone should feel privileged to eat them. I am sure many of you will be surprised to learn that many of them are in fact from the same family as they come in such a variety (sounds kind of like my own family…). You could make one yummy salad just from using these veggies! And did I mention these superfoods are known for their cancer-fighting qualities? Seriously super! Each vegetable boasts its own special nutritional values, but as a group here is what they bring to the table.
Vitamin C – water soluble, antioxidant, helps with the formation of collagen that promotes growth and repair of cells, gums, blood vessels, and teeth, assists in absorption of iron, promotes the absorption of calcium, prevents oxidation of bad cholesterol, help with protection and counteracts formation of nitrosamines, humans do not produce this vitamin and it must be obtained through dietary sources
Lutein – carotenoid antioxidant, helps protect the lens and retina of the eye from macular degeneration, clears free-radical damage done to the eyes by ultraviolent light
Beta Carotene/Vitamin A – carotenoid antioxidant, prevents the formation of free radicals, builds the immune system, cuts down the risk of atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke, protects the eyes against the formation of cataracts
Folic Acid/Folate – member of the vitamin B complex, water soluble, essential to the formation of red blood cells, aids in protein metabolism, required for DNA synthesis and cell growth, essential for division of body cells; remove homocysteine from the circulatory system that are associated with cardiovascular diseases, important for energy production and formation of amino acids
Sulfur – specifically sulforaphane, increases enzymes that help body get rid of carcinogens, kills abnormal cells, helps protect body from oxidation, effective against the bacterium that can cause gastric ulcers and gastric cancer, may protect the skin against UV radiation
Indoles – specifically indole-3-carbinol, detoxifies cancer-causing agents, regulates estrogen, blocks estrogen receptors in breast cancer cells, protects from developing colon cancer
Calcium – helps prevent bone density loss, aids in proper estrogen metabolism, promotes proper blood clotting, needed for nerve conduction and muscle contraction
Vitamin K – fat soluble, essential in the formation of prothrombin which is important for blood clotting, contributes to bone health
Potassium – works with sodium to help regulate the body’s water balance and normalize heart rhythms, important for chemical reactions within the cells and aids in maintaining stable blood pressure, regulates the transfer of nutrients through cell membranes
Fiber – specifically cellulose, hemicellulose, & pectin; absorbs water, moves food through the colon more quickly, and impacts absorption in the stomach and small intestine; by binding with bile acids they decrease fat absorption and lower cholesterol levels, delay stomach-emptying and slow sugar absorption by coating the lining of the gut, good for removing certain toxic metals from the body
Anti-cancer – particularly against lung, stomach, colon, rectum, and breast cancer, speeds up removal of estrogen from the body helping block breast cancer, suppresses growth of polyps that could result in colon cancer
Immunity – helps with healing wounds, burns, and bleeding gums; aids in preventing viral and bacterial infections; reduces effects of many allergy-producing substances; helps prevent stomach ulcers; fights birth defects
Eye Health – protects the eye from macular degeneration; helps prevent the formation of cataracts
Circulatory – cuts down the risk of atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke; helps prevent internal bleeding and hemorrhages; promotes proper blood clotting; lowers systolic and diastolic blood pressure; lowers incident of blood clots in veins; prevents oxidation of bad cholesterol; helps maintain a regular heart beat
Bone Health – promotes strong bones and healthy teeth; helps with reducing bone loss and fractures; improves bone mineral matter and increases bone mass;
Varieties & Alternatives:
kale, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens, cauliflower, turnips, rutabagas, kohlrabi, collard greens, bok choy
Mindell, Earl and Hester Mundis. Earl Mindell’s New Vitamin Bible, Revised and Updated. New York: Grand Central Life & Style, 2011. Print.
Pratt, Steven, and Kathy Matthews. SuperFoods Rx: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life. New York: Harper, 2004. Print.
Quigley, Delia, and Brierley E. Wright. The Everything Superfoods Book. Avon: Adams Media, 2008. Print.
Van Straten, Michael, and Barbara Griggs. SuperFoods: Nutrient-dense Foods to Protect Your Health. New York: DK, 2006. Print.
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