Cruciferous Veggies for a Healthy Tomorrow
We’ve heard it a million times “eat your vegetables” but maybe we should say “eat your cruciferous vegetables.”
A big part of a healthy midlife diet should include these high fiber, bioactive vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables get their name from the cross-like (crucifix) flower shape of the plant. These super vegetables have been shown to be protective against breast cancer.
Since both my mom and grandmother died of breast cancer, I want to do what I can to protect myself, so along with monthly self exams and annual mammograms, I now include cruciferous super foods into my diet at least three to five times per week.
Not long ago, we made a cruciferous-serious salad of brussels sprout and kale. It’s since become a favorite in our household.
Meet Members of the Cruciferous Family
In a recent study of women in China who were already diagnosed with breast cancer, researchers found that women who consumed the most cruciferous vegetables were 62% less likely to die of breast cancer and 35% less likely to have a recurrence of the disease, compared to those who consumed the least. I think that’s pretty powerful research.
Sarah Nechuta, a researcher at the Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center in Nashville, TN and lead author states “this study suggests that cruciferous vegetables and the bioactive compounds in them may be protective against breast cancer.” This is also among the first research to examine women after a breast cancer diagnosis.
The Shanghai Breast Cancer study included nearly 5,000 women between the ages of 20 and 75 years old. The participants were interviewed about 6 months after diagnosis and asked questions about diet, lifestyle and other clinical factors.
They also asked about their intake of cruciferous vegetables at 18 and 36 months after their diagnosis. Those whose consumption was in the top 25% were 62% less likely to die of breast cancer over a five year period. What’s even more interesting is that the same top 25 group were 62% less likely to die of any cause than the bottom 25%.
Nechuta also states that “The Vanderbilt group previously found a link between cruciferous vegetable consumption and fewer deaths and less heart disease among Chinese adults, suggesting that this food group might bestow overall survival benefits.”
This same researcher did note that North American women may not see the same benefits since different cruciferous vegetables with different bioactive compounds are more popular in the U.S., like broccoli rather than bok choy.
Either way, adding more cruciferous vegetables to your diet can’t hurt and will most likely be quite beneficial. Why not make these changes starting today and embrace a healthier you!