What are cruciferous vegetables?
The term "cruciferous" comes from New Latin that means "cross-bearing." The shape of the flower's four petals resemble a cross. Some of the vegetables are cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, broccoli and green leaf vegetables...to name a few!
In one of our classes about a year ago, we had a man who said that he hated broccoli. We challenged him to the "21 day test"...which is trying something for this time period because it takes this long for your taste buds to change. He took the challenge for broccoli, and told us 3 weeks later that he now really loved the taste of broccoli and it had become one of his favorites!
Cruciferous vegetables are known to help you reduce the risk of getting cancer. Phytochemicals found in these vegetables have the ability to actually cause death of cancer cells in vitro. This was the result of a recent study done by the University of Leicester funded by the Medical Research Council.
The natural chemicals found in the vegetables may very well play a large part in preventing cancers of the breast, prostate, ovaries, in addition to other cancers.
Scientists tend to look for a particular substance in food...when isolated it can be tested for benefits of preventing chronic diseases or reducing severity of an ongoing disease. Certainly, all of these studies are important and contribute to the medical solutions that will help conquer disease.
However, as Barbara and I have observed over and over again in our classes, the mysteries of the known and unknown substances in plants combine to produce health insulating benefits that science may never find.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell has explained in his landmark book, The China Study, that when you consume a variety of vegetables the cells in the body pick and choose the phytochemicals, minerals, vitamins and other elements it needs to create and reproduce healthy cells.
Dr. Campbell describes the interaction of these substances like listening to a symphony.
There are many different instruments that make up the orchestra and they each have a distinctive sound. The maestro may not use all the different instruments all the time, but he can add or subtract sounds to follow the composer's vision. This is the idea behind the symphony of eating a plant based diet.
Cruciferous vegetables have many chemical properties. As we have seen through the science of today, these vegetables provide disease fighting elements.
A 2012 large scale study, conducted in China called the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study, found that the more cruciferous vegetables consumed by women that had breast cancer, the more they would not only survive the cancer, but would also add years to their lives.
The women in the study that consumed the most of these vegetables had a 62% less mortality rate than the women who ate little or none. The wonderful properties of vegetables never cease to amaze the unbelievers when studies such as this are conducted.
The super food status of cruciferous vegetables makes it important to include a sufficient amount of the plants in your healthy diet plan. I have read suggestions that 5 servings of these vegetables each week could make a monumental change in our culture's health. These vegetables are easy to prepare...consumed raw or a light steaming is best to preserve the many health benefits.
The taste and flavors of cruciferous may take time to get your taste buds on board, but when you find the right seasoning and preparation, they will become some of the your favorite veggies - just like the man in our health classes.