The Super-Veggies: Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables have it all: vitamins, fiber, and disease-fighting phytochemicals. Here's how to get more of them.
Diets rich in fish and vegetables (including cruciferous and dark-yellow
veggies) may also help to protect against cardiovascular disease. A recent
study found that such a diet was linked to lower levels of markers of
inflammation in the body. These markers may signal an increased risk of
In another recent study, diets low in cruciferous and yellow vegetables,
wine, and coffee but high in sugar-sweetened soft drinks, refined grains, and
processed meat were identified as possibly increasing chronic inflammation and
raising the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Comparison of Cruciferous Vegetables
Which cruciferous vegetables have the most vitamin A, vitamin C, and folic
acid? The answers are:
- Kale (vitamin A)
- Broccoli (vitamin C)
- Brussels sprouts and broccoli (tied for folic acid)
Brussels sprouts have the most vitamin E (about 9% of the Daily Value) and
vitamin B-1 (15% Daily Value). And it’s broccoli and Brussels sprouts again
that have the most healthy plant omega-3s: A cup of broccoli contributes about
200 milligrams, and a cup of Brussels sprouts about 260 milligrams.
Here's a comparison table of cruciferous vegetables, including the nutrients
for which they contribute at least 10% of the Daily Value. Keep in mind that
about half of the fiber in cruciferous vegetables is super-healthy soluble
Per 1 cup:
|Vitamin A||33% DV||1%||2%||16%||62%||137%|
|Omega-3s||200 mg||140 mg||60 mg||260 mg||100 mg||100 mg|
Tips for Enjoying Cruciferous Vegetables
To maximize taste and nutrition, here are some tips for buying and cooking
- Don’t overcook cruciferous vegetables. They can produce a strong sulfur
odor and become unappealing.
- You can buy several types of cruciferous vegetables ready-to-go in the
frozen or fresh packaged sections of your supermarket, including broccoli,
cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.
- No raw veggie platter is complete without dark green broccoli or snowy
white cauliflower florets.
- Add raw broccoli or cauliflower florets to your green salad to give the
nutrients a big boost.
- Add chopped cruciferous veggies to soups, stews, and casseroles.
- When buying fresh broccoli, look for firm florets with a purple, dark
green, or bluish hue on the top. They're likely to contain more beta-carotene
and vitamin C than florets with lighter green tops. If it has yellow in it or
is limp and bendable, the broccoli is old -- don’t buy it.