Cruciferous vegetables or “Brassicas” refer to the mustard family of vegetables, which includes: kale, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, collard greens, cabbage, bok choy, arugula, turnips, mustard greens, watercress and shepherd’s purse. These vegetables are packed with vitamins K, A and C and also contain folic acid, magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper, vitamin E, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, zinc, manganese, fiber, protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
Much of the research on cruciferous vegetables has shown they contain beneficial plant-based chemicals such as carotenoids, flavonoids, glucosinolates, indoles and isothiocyanates, which function as antioxidants to help prevent cancer and protect cells during cancer treatment.
The glucosinolates in cruciferous vegetables create beneficial compounds such as indole-3-carbinol, sulforaphane, and phenethyl isothiocyanate through chewing and digestion. Each of these compounds have been shown to slow the progression of cancer by targeting dysfunctional cell regulators, like microRNAs, DNA methyltransferases and histone deacetylases. These cell regulators are involved in cancer formation.
1-2 cups of cruciferous vegetables per day is recommended to achieve these health benefits. Try some delicious kale chips to help get you there:
“CHEESY” KALE CHIPS*
|PREP TIME 5 MIN||COOK TIME 25 MIN||TOTAL TIME 30 MIN||SERVES 4||KEEP TIME 2-3 DAYS|
- 1 large bundle of kale
- 1-2 tbsp melted coconut or avocado oil
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- Optional: more herbs and spices of choice
1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees F (107 degrees C).
2. Rinse and completely dry kale, then tear into small pieces and remove large stems.
3. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and drizzle with oil and seasonings. Toss completely to combine, using hands to evenly distribute oil and seasonings.
4. Spread kale pieces over 2 large baking pans, ensuring the kale touches as little as possible to help them crisp while baking.
5. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove pans to toss kale to ensure even baking. Bake for 5-10 minutes more, or until kale is crispy and very slight golden brown. Watch closely, as it may easily burn.
6. Remove from oven and let cool slightly, as chips will continue to crisp up more once out of oven.
7. Enjoy! Kale chips are best when fresh and can be stored covered at room temperature for 2-3 days.
*Recipe adapted from minimalistbaker.com
Author: Tehsina Jaffer, Naturopathic Intern at the CCNM Integrative Cancer Centre