Brassicas are more than just healthy—they're also delicious. Check out these 25 recipes for broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, brussels sprouts, and more.
One of the best ways to promote better liver health and detoxification is to eat a variety of brassica vegies. Fermenting them can actually increase their sulfur content and make the sulfur more bioavailable. Sauerkraut and other fermented brassicas can be enjoyed in salads and wraps as well as with curries and stir-fries.
You will also be boosting your soluble and insoluble fibre intake by eating brassica vegetables. It’s important to include both of these types of fibre in your diet to support bowel and cardiovascular health.
Cruciferous vegetables belong to the Brassicaceae plant family. They are some of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. These super vegies offer a variety of impressive health benefits including lowering cholesterol levels and the risk of cancer and heart disease, boosting liver detoxification and immunity, and even balancing hormone levels.
Dark-green leafy brassicas come out on top. These include broccoli, kale, collard and turnip greens, watercress and arugula rocket. The darker and more colourful the vegetable, the richer their antioxidant content. Purple kale and cabbage contain more protective antioxidants due to their anthyocyanin content. Darker-green vegies are richer in nutrients than paler varieties.
In a study published in Biomedical Environmental Science 2008, men with high cholesterol who supplemented with 120mL of kale juice daily for 12 weeks saw a 10 per cent reduction in LDL “bad” cholesterol and a 27 per cent increase in HDL “good” cholesterol.
The authors declare no conflict of interest. The funders had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript, or in the decision to publish the results.
Even kale stems can be used for cooking. For example, they can be blanched, then sautéed or made into a pesto. Roast some Brussels sprouts for a great side dish. Bok choy can be braised, grilled, or roasted. You can top this vegetable with peanut butter or guacamole, and eat it the same way you do for celery. Making pickled radishes is a popular way to use this Brassica vegetable.
Bake turnips to make turnip fries. Combine turnips and kohlrabi to make a slaw. Use arugula as a pizza topping. The sturdy leaves of collard greens make them great for wraps and tortillas. Make a horseradish sauce. Use rutabaga to make a shepherd’s pie. Wasabi is commonly used in sushi. Garnish a cooked dish with watercress. Put the leftover vegetables you have together to make a vegetable stock.
Though it's hard to go wrong with virtually any vegetable, brassicas stand out from the produce pack for their well-being properties, which include improving bone and skin health, supporting digestion, and assisting with blood clotting. Plus, you can eat them to your heart's content—and trust us, you'll definitely want to.
Brassicas contain key nutrients needed to support liver function and detoxification, including glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, sulfur, vitamins E and C as well as selenium. Isothiocyanates help support both phase I and II liver detoxification. Phase I liver detoxification is the body’s first line of defence against toxic substances. In this phase, toxins are converted to less harmful substances, but they also produce by-products that are highly toxic and can build up in the liver. Phase II neutralises these toxins and removes them.
Aside from being common garden vegetables, what do cabbage, kale, collards, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kohlrabi have in common? They’re all members of a single species: Brassica oleracea. And for gardeners, there’s plenty more diversity within the Brassica genus.
Increasing your consumption of vegetables in general is known to help decrease your risk of heart disease. Brassicas, however, are super heart-healthy vegetables due to their high fibre and antioxidant content, as well as their ability to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. Compounds in brassicas help control cholesterol levels by binding to bile acids and removing them from the body. The role of bile is to help digest and absorb fats. The body replaces lost bile acids with its own cholesterol stores, which helps to bring cholesterol levels down.
While brassica and cruciferous vegetables aren't all that different, Ruth says "Brassica veggies can be categorized as cruciferous vegetables," as opposed to the other way around. Think of cruciferous vegetables as the umbrella category, whereas brassica vegetables are a subtype.
These vegetables are also good for your mental health. They give you more energy, and they improve your mood and concentration. This contributes to a reduction in stress and anxiety. Extra stress has been created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
While 20% of Americans will suffer from a mental illness in a given year, 4% of Americans live with a serious mental illness such as bipolar disorder or major depression (according to the CDC). The CDC noted that symptoms of anxiety disorder and depressive disorder substantially increased in the United States during April-June of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.
The pandemic has also created financial challenges for people. For those on a tight budget, the low-cost of Brassica vegetables make them great choices. Since they are nutrient-dense, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to meet your daily requirements of many vitamins and minerals by consuming these vegetables.
Brassica vegetables are nutrient-dense, convenient, and tasty. Since they are low in calories and high in fiber, you’ll feel full after eating these vegetables and they can help you maintain a healthy weight.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 9% of American adults in 2015 met the recommended daily intake for vegetables, which is 2-3 cups a day. We need vegetables in our diet to keep our bones strong, for digestive health, and to reduce the risk of disease.
Chris Colby is an avid gardener who lives in Bastrop, Texas, with his wife and cats. His academic background is in biology, but his main interest is in brewing beer.
These super vegetables are also excellent sources of vitamins C, E and K, which are needed by the body to strengthen the immune system, promote healthy blood clotting and improve cardiovascular and bone health. Brassicas also provide a good dose of folate and iron, for red blood cell production, and calcium and phosphorus for strong bones. In addition, they deliver a good dose of selenium, a powerful antioxidant mineral that helps fight free radicals and lowers the risk of cancer.
For disease prevention, a variety of brassicas should be included in your daily diet. Researchers recommend eating at least five servings of these tasty superfoods per week; however, for optimal health and protection against disease, eating a variety of these vegies daily is ideal.
Brassicas are loaded with disease-fighting vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Most of brassicas’ beneficial effects are linked to their unique phytochemicals that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and lipid- and blood sugar-lowering effects. This makes them excellent food choices for helping prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes.
A version of this salad has been on Estela’s menu since its opening; chef Ignacio Mattos has tried it with summer squash and apples in place of the kohlrabi. In any case, make sure not to cut your slices too thin—they need to stand up to the nuts and cheese.
Brassicas show a wide variety of colors. In fact, some cultivars are grown as ornamentals. These plants are rich in carotenoids, a plant pigment. Broccoli is especially rich in carotenoids. These pigments typically confer a yellow or orange color to plants, but most brassicas don’t show these colors as other pigments overshadow them. A few ornamental varieties show these colors, but most standard garden cultivars do not. Plant colors run the gamut from greens to yellows to blue-greens. In addition, many cultivars are purple, from the plant pigment anthocyanin.
Numerous studies show an association between the consumption of brassica vegetables and cancer prevention. Glucosinolates, in particular indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane, have been studied extensively for their anticancer effects. They have been found to inhibit the development of bladder, breast, colon, liver, lung and stomach cancer in animal studies. According to a study published in JAMA in 2001, women who eat greater amounts of cruciferous vegetables had a lower risk of breast cancer. Glucosinolates can help protect against DNA damage, along with inactivating carcinogenic substances, as well as inhibiting tumour blood vessel formation and tumour cell migration.
Sulfur attracts heavy metals and other toxins and assists their safe transport out of the body. Sulfur is also required to make glutathione, one of the body’s most valuable antioxidants. Glutathione plays a vital role in liver detoxification and helps protect the body from environmental toxins and cancer development. Glutathione levels are greatly influenced by the amount of sulfur-containing foods consumed.
Eating fibre-rich foods is also a good way to help promote healthy weight loss. Brassicas’ high fibre content helps to promote satiety and reduces sugar cravings. Brassicas are also low in calories, making them perfect for those wanting to lose weight.