Cruciferous vegetables are actually part of the Brassica plant family, but they get their name from their characteristic cross shaped flower petals. Most have a strong, pungent odor and flavor (think: cabbage and brussel sprouts). Because of this, cruciferous veggies are not always popular. In fact, former President George H. Bush disliked broccoli so much that he declared Air Force One a “broccoli free zone”! However, cruciferous vegetables are some of nature’s healthiest foods. They contain phytonutrients called glucosinolates which convert to isothiocynates when food is cut or chewed. These phytochemicals have been studied for their preventative effect on bladder, prostate, and other cancers. In addition to their anti-cancer properties, cruciferous veggies are full of water and fiber – just the things for keeping your appetite satisfied and your digestive track in order.
Members of this super-veggie group include:
Be daring and try some crunchy, cruciferous veggies today! Here are a few recipes to get you started:
- Chicken and Bok Choy Stirfry
- Parmesan Roasted Broccoli
- Turnip Green and Shitake Mushroom Calzone with Smoked Cheddar