Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage . . . these veggies aren’t at the top of many people’s favorite foods lists. Many children hate them, most adults aren’t fans, and some people find that these foods have an unpleasant odor and bitter flavor. But because these types of vegetables, known as cruciferous vegetables, are so good for your health—and can play an important role in fighting breast cancer—they are worth a second chance.
Joel Fuhrman, M.D., a physician and New York Times best-selling author who is a renowned expert in nutrition, writes on his website that “Eating a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables is your best defense for fighting and preventing cancer.” Why? Fuhrman’s studies have demonstrated that cruciferous vegetables are twice as effective as other vegetables, beans, and fruits at reducing cancer rates.
According to the National Cancer Institute, the substances that give cruciferous veggies their sulfur scent and sometimes bitter taste are plant compounds known as glucosinolates, which are a current focus of anticancer research. Glucosinolates have been effective at treating cancer in animal and cellular studies, and current research is looking at their effectiveness in treating cancer in humans. Cruciferous veggies are also high in other key nutrients:
•vitamins C, E, and K
•beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, known as carotenoids
In addition to broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage, the cruciferous vegetable family includes salad superstars arugula, radishes, and watercress; dark leafy greens like kale, collards, and mustard greens; zingy, flavorful horseradish and wasabi; and root vegetables such as turnips, rutabagas, and kohlrabi.
But it’s not just cruciferous vegetables than can reduce your risk. Check out this video with Dr. Oz for even more cancer-fighting foods.