Cancer-Fighting Vegetables To Put In Your Shopping Cart

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Cancer-Fighting Vegetables To Put In Your Shopping Cart

 

Have you ever bitten into a steaming Brussels sprout only to wish you hadn't as you screw up your face and force yourself to chew through the pungent flavor and aroma? You're not alone.

 

Brussels sprouts are cruciferous vegetables, a group which includes kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy and collard greens. Sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates (GLSs) give them their distinctive smell and taste, which many people find unpleasant.

 

When you eat cruciferous vegetables, the GLSs in them are broken down into various bioactive compounds. Scientists have discovered that GLSs and their derivative compounds have exciting anticancer properties.

 

Research in the laboratory

In laboratory-based experiments, researchers found that GLSs:

 

Inhibit the development of new blood vessels in tumors

Suppress growth of some tumor cells

Prevent damage to healthy cells from toxins

Inhibit inflammation, which is implicated in the development of some precancerous conditions

 

Research in large groups of people

Many studies examining people's diets have shown that people whose diets include a lot of cruciferous vegetables have a lower incidence of certain cancers, including colorectal, breast and lung cancer, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

 

One Norwegian study looked at the diets of thousands of men and women and found that eating cabbage had an association with reduced lung cancer.

 

Another large study linked cauliflower and cabbage consumption with a reduced risk of cancers of the upper digestive tract, including the mouth, pharynx and esophagus.

 


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It depends how you cook it

Researchers have found that the method used for cooking cruciferous vegetables has a big influence on the amount of GLSs that eventually make their way into your body.

 

GLSs and related compounds in cruciferous vegetables are water-soluble. Because the vegetables are in direct contact with water, boiling causes a large amount of the available GLSs to be lost into the water. Microwave cooking also results in the loss of a lot of the GLSs. Steaming and stir-frying are better methods, causing minimal loss.

 

And how you cut it

The way you prepare the vegetables prior to cooking also affects the available GLSs. Chopping or shredding the vegetables releases a lot of GLSs initially (as does chewing) but subsequently leaving the chopped vegetables exposed to room air leads to their fairly rapid loss. When left exposed to air, finely chopped or shredded vegetables lose a lot more GLSs than those chopped into larger pieces.

 

To get the most benefit from the GLSs in cruciferous vegetables:

 

If you're going to eat the vegetables straight away, you can chop them finely and chew them well to release all those valuable GLSs.

 

If you can't avoid leaving the chopped vegetables exposed to air for a while before consuming them, chop them into large pieces.

 

Steaming or stir-frying rather than boiling or microwaving will preserve a higher amount of GLSs.

 

So next time you're doing your grocery store, put some extra cabbage, Brussels sprouts or kale in your cart. Cruciferous veggies might require adjustment to their odiferous qualities, but it's a meager sacrifice to make to reap their numerous benefits.

 

About the author: Sonny Choun is part of our Marketing Team here at Pivot Insurance. He enjoys playing outdoor sports, bowling with friends, and spending time with family. His talent and expertise are a reflection of the Pivot culture. He believes life insurance is an essential part of a family's financial security. Sonny can be contacted at 1-800-651-1953 or schoun@sbsb.com. 

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