Well Autumn is definitely here and along with the cooler weather comes delicious roast dinners mmmm. While eating my roast dinner last night I was munching on roast brussel sprouts and cauliflower and thinking how scrummy cruciferous veggies can be - yes I'm nerdy like that!
First of all - for some bonus points can you pronounce cruciferous? Secondly - what are cruciferous vegetables? Lastly, what makes them noteworthy?
2. Cruciferous vegetables are part of the Brassicaceae or Cruciferae family - from my quick search online, different websites used one or both names so perhaps an expert gardener can let me know if there is any difference. You might have heard them called brassicas, cruciferous or even simply the cabbage family. For the kids out there - they're the vegetables that make you fart! This is because of the sulphur containing compounds in them...more on that later. They include many obvious vegetables:
cabbage (all types)
collard greens (I rarely see this in Australia but you might grow it)
And some not quite so obvious (even I didn't realise swedes and turnips were cruciferous!):
mustard plant leaves
turnips (roots and greens)
3. Cruciferous vegetables deserve their own special mention because they are nutritional powerhouses. They all contain good amounts of folate and vitamin K and dark green cruciferous vegetables contain extra vitamin C, A and phytonutrients (anti-inflammatory and cancer fighting).
They are a fantastic source of fibre - both soluble and insoluble - so are beneficial for cholesterol as well as gut health.
The unique compounds that make them extra special are glucoraphanin and myrosinase. These are both found in the plant but are locked in separate cells - think of prison cells. When we chew the broccoli we release all the prison cell doors and the cellmates can mingle - once they join together they create escape plans - sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is the sulphur containing chemical that does pretty amazing things...
prevents and kills cancer cells
protect against heart disease
reduce effects of neurological diseases
supports liver detoxification
decrease H. Pylori load
reduce stress hormone production
Amazing! Give me some now I hear you saying. Well even just 1/2 cup per day...every day will do wonders for you (1/4 cup broccoli sprouts, 1 tablespoon horseradish). Simple!
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