By Claudia Maghidman
Health Benefits of Sulfur Compounds in Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables, also commonly referred to as the “super vegetables” are packed with all kinds of vitamins and nutrients that are excellent for your body. Some of the better-known members of the cruciferous vegetable family include broccoli, cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts, and even bok choy.
So, what categorizes a vegetable as a “crucifierous” veggie? Well, there are a few characteristics that all vegetables in this group have in common: they’re packed with vitamins, phytochemicals, minerals, fiber, and sulfur compounds.
How Can Cruciferous Vegetables Improve Your Health?
It’s generally recommended that your body gets at least a few servings of cruciferous vegetables each week in order to enjoy the full range of health benefits that they have to offer. In fact, one of the greatest health benefits that’s been found is that these vegetables can actually reduce your risk of developing many kinds of cancer.
How is this possible? Cruciferous vegetables contain a specific phytochemical known as sulforaphane. This phytochemical has been shown to stimulate enzymes in the body that can work to remove the toxins from some known carcinogens before they’re able to reach and wreak havoc on the body’s cells.
In addition to the cancer-prevention qualities of these vegetables, there are plenty of other health benefits that come along with getting your weekly dose of cruciferous veggies. Some of these include:
- increased energy levels
- a boost in the immune system
- reduced chance of arthritis
- healthier, more vibrant skin
Preparing Crucifierous Vegetables
If you’d like to begin incorporating more cruciferous vegetables into your diet as a means of improving your overall health, it should also be noted that the manner in which you prepare and cook your vegetables can make difference in how they affect your body.
Generally, the best way to prepare and eat crucifierous vegetables is to chop them up thoroughly before cooking them as opposed to eating them raw or cooking them whole. By doing this, you allow for maximum production of the cancer-fighting compound known as sulforaphane. Furthermore, by cooking the chopped-up veggies on low or medium heat, you can further stimulate production of sulforaphane.
As you can see, cruciferous vegetables have a lot to bring to the table, especially when it comes to your health. If you’re not already getting a few servings of these veggies each week, then it might be time to re-assess your diet and eating habits.