Cruciferous vegetables, also known as brassica vegetables, are fascinating sources of sulfur containing phytonutrients known as glucosinolates. When chewed or chopped, glucosinolates are converted into indole-3-carbonol and isothiocyanates. Numerous studies have attributed the health benefits of cruciferous vegetables to these compounds. In addition to phytonutrients, cruciferous vegetables are valuable sources of vitamins A, C and K, folic acid and fibers. Adding cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and kale to your daily diet offers the following health benefits.
Here Are 15 Health Benefits Of Eating Cruciferous Vegetables
Good For Eyes
Cruciferous vegetables are among the richest sources of vitamin A. Among the different types of cruciferous vegetables, kale is the best source of vitamin A. Vitamin A helps in maintaining healthy vision and prevents night blindness. Cruciferous vegetables also contain the antioxidant compounds lutein and zeaxanthin that help in preventing degradation of the tissues of the retina.
Helps In Detoxification
The sulfur based compounds in cruciferous vegetables stimulate production of liver enzymes involved in the phase 2 detoxification process of the liver. At this stage of detoxification, toxic compounds are broken down into less harmful substances.
Fights Arthritis Pain
Cruciferous vegetables contain sulforaphane, a compound that helps in suppressing activities of enzymes responsible for destruction of joint tissues. Furthermore, they are rich in vitamin K, which according to studies help in fighting osteoarthritis.
Prevents Neural Tube Defects
To prevent neural tube defects in newborns, women planning conception and pregnant women should include cruciferous vegetables in their diet. Cruciferous vegetables contain folate, the B vitamin, which is essential for development of the brain and spine.
The vitamins A and C rich cruciferous vegetables are good for the skin health. The antioxidant nutrients help in protecting the skin from free radicals that speed up aging of the skin.
Cruciferous vegetables can also help in fighting depression. They are rich in folate, which is essential for production of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Cruciferous vegetables are also good sources of vitamin B6, which helps in the production of dopamine. Both serotonin and dopamine help in fighting depression.
Healthy Heart Function
Folate and vitamin B6 present in the cruciferous vegetables play important roles in metabolism of homocysteine. By lowering the homocysteine level in the blood, these B vitamins help in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disorders.
Reduces Risk Of Cognitive Impairment
High homocysteine level in the blood also increases risk of cognitive impairment in older adults. The homocysteine lowering effect of cruciferous vegetables makes them the ideal food for the brain. Moreover, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of the nutrients found in the cruciferous vegetables help in maintaining the optimal health of the brain.
Helps In Weight Loss
The fiber rich vegetables are ideal for the weight loss diet. By increasing satiety, fiber helps in preventing overeating. Moreover, fibers bind with fats present in foods and eliminate them from the body.
Fights Stomach Infections
When consumed daily, cruciferous vegetables help in preventing stomach infections. The phytonutrients glucosinolates found in cruciferous vegetables when converted into isothiocyanates help in blocking growth of H. pylori and other harmful bacteria in the stomach.
Cruciferous vegetables, when consumed daily, help in building strong bones. In addition to calcium, cruciferous vegetables contain vitamins C and K. Both these vitamins play key roles in bone formation.
Lowers Diabetes Risk
The high concentration of fibers in cruciferous vegetables makes them the ideal components of an anti-diabetes diet. Dietary fibers help in preventing spikes in the blood sugar level after meals. Moreover, cruciferous vegetable are rich sources of vitamin K, which helps in improving insulin sensitivity.
Reduces Cancer Risk
The sulfur based compounds present in the cruciferous vegetables help in reducing risk of cancer. They work by eliminating carcinogens from the body before they damage the healthy cells. According to studies, cruciferous vegetables are especially effecting in preventing colorectal cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Strengthens Immune System
Cruciferous vegetables are rich in vitamin C that helps in strengthening the immune system. Moreover, they contain chemicals that help in activating the immune cells present in the gut and the skin.
Lowers High Blood Pressure
Sulfuraphane present in cruciferous vegetables helps in reducing high blood pressure. It helps vasodilation of the blood vessels that help in bringing down the blood pressure level naturally.