The broccolis, cabbages and cauliflowers often present in your lunch and dinner dishes belong to the same family of vegetables, known as brassica. Studies have shown that the members of the brassica family are extremely beneficial for our health.
Good for the heart
Eating brassicas is good for the heart. According to a recent study, conducted by researchers at the Imperial College London, broccoli along with other members of the brassica family help to strengthen the natural defense mechanism of our bodies, which obstructs clogging of the coronary arteries. Sulforaphane, sulfur based compound found in the brassicas, stimulates action of a protein known as Nrf2. This protein prevents deposition of fats in the walls of the arteries naturally. Researchers have found that inactivity of Nrf2 in the arteries make them vulnerable to clogging. Since arteriosclerosis or formation of plagues in the arterial walls is responsible for most of the cardiovascular ailments, having brassicas regularly in your meals is an easy way to halt heart diseases.
Several studies have suggested that brassica vegetables could prevent cancer. These vegetables derive their cancer preventing property from the plant chemical glucosinolate. Glucosinolate is converted into isothiocyanate in our bodies. Isothiocyanate inhibits the activities of potential carcinogenic compounds in the body, preventing development of cancer cells.
Researchers have found that the brassica vegetables correct imbalances of hormones including androgens and estrogens, significantly reducing the risk of hormone related cancers such as breast, prostate, endometrial and cervical cancers. Brassicas are found to accelerate the rate of detoxification, speedily removing harmful compounds from the body.
Right cooking method
Your cooking method determines how much nutrient you can attain from your cooked dishes. In case of brassica vegetables, no significant loss of essential nutrients have been observed in steamed cooking for up to 20 minutes and stir frying for less than 5 minutes.
Brassica group vegetables
There are over 350 members in the brassica family. Other than broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, the most popular members of the brassica family, its other lesser-known members are equally nutritious and beneficial for your health. Brussels sprout, turnip, swedes, kale, collards, cress, broccoli raab, kohlrabi, bok choi, watercress, horseradish, wasabi and mustard are also members of the brassica family, which are packed with the beneficial plant nutrients.