Food as Medicine: Cruciferous Veggies

What’s a crucifer?!

It’s not as scary as it sounds, we promise. A crucifer is simply the name of a category of plants that have 4 leaves in an “X” shape. While they’re fairly common vegetables, like broccoli, kale, and brussels sprouts, most people have no idea of the enormous health benefits that these veggies and greens contain.

This particular category of plant contains a chemical called sulforaphane, which has four main benefits for your health:

  1. It is essential for the liver to remove toxins from the body. Toxins in your body can be anything from pesticides on food to pollutants in the air to alcohol.
  2. Sulforaphane signals the body to make more of its own antioxidants. Antioxidants are extremely important for you body to fight off free radicals. Free radicals are destructive molecules that occur naturally as our cells burn fuel for energy and contribute to cancer, dementia, and aging. If someone you know is suffering from dementia check out these care agencies sheffield, that are specialized to help those with dementia.
  3. By doing both of the above, sulforaphane helps to activate genes that help fight cancer.
  4. Similarly, sulforaphane also makes sure our bodies are repairing the daily damage that happens to our DNA through sun exposure, smoking, and radiation.

If you’re like us, then after reading that, you’re super excited to eat some cruciferous veggies! But what are they, and how can we (tastily) eat more of them?

Cruciferous Vegetables  and Cruciferous Greens

  • Broccoli/Broccolini/Romanesco
  • Arugula
  • Brussels Sprouts 
  • Collard Greens
  • Cabbage (incl. Napa & Chinese) 
  • Kale
  • Cauliflower
  • Bok Choy
  • Horseradish / Wasabi 
  • Tat Soi
  • Kohlrabi
  • Mizuna
  • Maca
  • Mustard Greens
  • Radish/Daikon Radish
  • Shepherd’s Purse
  • Turnip
  • Watercress
  • Rutabaga
  • Land Cress

*** Includes sprouts or microgreens of any of the above.

Tips and Tricks:

  1. Pre-cut crucifers like Brussels sprouts, cabbage, or cauliflower 40 minutes before cooking. This allows enough time for the myrosinase and glucoraphanin to comingle and create sulforaphane.
  2. If you don’t have time to wait 40 minutes for sulforaphane to form before cooking, simply add mustard powder or another raw crucifer to cooked crucifers when eating.
  3. If you’re using frozen vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower, add mustard powder or another raw crucifer to the meal to activate the sulforaphane, as frozen veggies tend to be parboiled before packaging.
  1. Increase your daily sulforaphane intake by adding sprouts or microgreens to your meals.

 

Cauliflower Fritters

Makes about 20 fritters.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 8 pieces organic bacon (Applegate Sunday bacon or bacon from a farm that feeds their pigs well)
  • 1/2 cup scallions
  • 1 1/4 cup grated cheese (I prefer a sheep cheese like petit Basque orManchego but any melty cheese will work)
  • 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I use gluten free bread crumbs or substitute chickpea flour)
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Lightly steam cauliflower. Let cool and rice it in a Cuisinart.
  2. In a bowl combine riced cauliflower and the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Fry in avocado or olive oil until dark brown on each side.
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