The word cruciferous has been a recent phenomenon that is gaining quick popularity among us. Many people have already started to incorporate these vegetables into their daily food. The cruciferous vegetables are specifically categorized as a set of green vegetables that contain a wide range of nutrients, essentially known to lower the risks of many chronic diseases as well as the deadlier ones, such as cancer and heart ailments.
The best part of cruciferous vegetables is that the calorie measure is low and the content of fiber is high in them. Upon consumption, these vegetables give a sense of fullness in the stomach for a long duration of time and in this way, it aids in weight control and loss. These vegetables also make great heart-healthy food.
Almost 3000 different species of cruciferous vegetable-bearing plants are available in the world and the most commonly consumed cruciferous vegetables are as follows:
All the above-mentioned cruciferous vegetables have different proportions of nutrients altogether. The vitamins and minerals found in them are adequate enough to meet our body’s nutritional needs on daily basis. However, the point to be noted here is that these cruciferous vegetables also offer certain unique elements of nutrition that helps in the promotion of healthy bodily functions and fight against deadly diseases.
Health benefits offered by cruciferous vegetables
A compound named, glucosinolate is present abundantly in cruciferous vegetables that give these dark green pigmented plants, a bitter flavour. This compound is highly rich in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It helps in the protection of our cells from free radicals that extensively damage our cells and propagate diseases
Cruciferous vegetables also contain fiber, protein, minerals and vitamins. The blend of these nutrients with glucosinolate offers many other health benefits such as:
Glucosinolate is considered to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the heart. It is commonly known that a diet consisting of fruits and vegetables with a good volume of nutrients helps lower the risks of heart disease tremendously. Glucosinolate promotes the flow of good cholesterol levels in the arteries that keeps the fatty deposits at bay to prevent heart ailments and stroke.
Protection from cancer
Glucosinolate works as a blessing when protecting the body from cancer. It inadvertently kills the cancerous cells and restricts the growth of the tumour. Clinical research and studies have revealed that a higher intake of cruciferous vegetables has significantly lowered the risk of many types of cancer such as breast, pancreatic, respiratory and stomach.
Strong immunity against diseases
The nutrition provided by cruciferous vegetables also improves our immunity system and helps to tackle chronic diseases such as asthma, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. These cruciferous vegetables also contain antimicrobial properties that boost the defensive mechanism of our immunity system to fight against disease-causing pathogens.
Promote weight loss
Just one serving of a cruciferous vegetable supplements our body with 20% of our fiber requirement on a daily basis. Medically, it has been proven that eating 30 grams of fiber daily, can miraculously help in losing weight, lower blood pressure levels, drastically reduce obesity and rule out the risk of contracting diabetes.
Ways to consume cruciferous vegetables
When cooking vegetables, it’s important not to overcook them, as it simply destroys their nutrition. If you overcook cruciferous vegetables, they tend to lose their nutritional value and especially the levels of vitamins B and C, antioxidants such as flavonoids and beta-carotene decrease exorbitantly.
At the same time, cooking cruciferous vegetables also make certain nutrients break down and be easily absorbed by the body. These nutrients include calcium, iron and vitamin A. Hence, it’s very important to cook cruciferous vegetables while making sure you don’t overcook them.
Boiling is known to be the least effective way of nutrient retention. The ideal way of retaining the nutritional values of cruciferous vegetables according to studies is steaming. You can also try cooking cruciferous vegetables in the microwave, stir-frying or sautéing but these might have some impact on their nutritional content.
Highly rich in nutrients like minerals and vitamins, cruciferous vegetables are also a prosperous provider of Omega-3. The healthy fats in Omega-3 are imperative to maintain sound bodily functions. These healthy functions include the maintenance of good cognitive health, and reducing the risk of mental deterioration caused by Alzheimer’s disease. Alternatively, cruciferous vegetables also offer the following nutritional values:
Even though the nutritional values differ from one type of cruciferous vegetable to another, the quantity of the macronutrients is somewhat consistent in them. For example, a cup of fully cooked broccoli will offer the following nutritional counts:
Overall calories: 55 grams
Carbs: 11 grams
Fat: 1 gram
Fiber: 5 grams
Protein: 4 grams
Sugar: 2 grams
Intake proportion on a daily basis
It is strongly recommended to consume at least 1.5 to 2.5 cups of cruciferous vegetables in a week. In fact, the suggestive proportion in which cruciferous vegetables can be added to the daily diet is:
One serving of a half cup of cooked cruciferous vegetables
One serving of a half cup of cruciferous vegetable juice
Not only low in calories and densely rich in nutrients, cruciferous vegetables are also the wellspring of health benefits that can save you from many chronic and deadly diseases. Inculcating these vegetables in the daily diet can yield fantastic results in weight loss and building a strong immunity system. There are many recipes available online that will show you how to cook these cruciferous vegetables in a tastier manner and gain the best out of them in terms of nutrition without any compromise.
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