KALE AND ITS RELATIVES: GREAT NUTRITION!

Kale has long been known for its outstanding nutritious content. But now it’s becoming increasingly evident that its relatives, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and even cauliflower, deserve to share in the limelight as well. Before you suffer from a fit of distaste and stop reading, this family of vegetables, called crucifers, deserves serious consideration. They contain not only liberal quantities of vitamins and minerals, but also possess unique disease-fighting compounds, as described below.

These vegetables are the most common dietary source of glucosinolates, which are natural chemicals that break down into cancer-protecting compounds. A recent study in the medical journal, Annals of Oncology, disclosed that just one weekly serving of any of them over a two-year period lowered the risk of breast, colon, and oral cancer by 17%, esophageal cancer by 28%, and kidney cancer by 32%. It’s uncertain which of these veggies contains the greatest anticancer properties, so it’s best to eat a variety.

As an added dividend, this vegetable family possesses a rich source of vision-protecting carotenoids as well as fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamins C, E, and K. Any of these latter ingredients may contribute to that cancer-fighting ability, but they may also seem to fight inflammation and protect against cardiovascular disease as well. This latter property was suggested by an analysis of 134,796 people in China, disclosing that those who ate about 6 ounces per day, reduced their risk of heart disease by about 20% compared with those who ate less.

SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR CONSUMPTION OF THIS GROUP

Steaming or stir-frying of any will preserve the glucosinolates, but avoid over cooking, for this will diminish these nutrients.

Brussels sprout chips can be made tasty by removing the leaves from the base and tossing them with olive oil and then baking then at 350o / F for about 20 minutes, turning frequently until they become crispy.

Broccoli stalks can be sliced into coins for use in pasta dishes or as a dipper for hummus.

Watercress can be mixed with milder greens like baby spinach and toned down with other flavors like lemon juice, avocado, and apple slices.

Raw cauliflower that’s been grated to resemble rice is a good low-calorie substitute for pasta, potatoes, and rice. It can microwaved and sauteed.

Additional ideas are subject to imagination!

So try to stop gagging and give as at least some of them a try. It could even save your life!

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