Broccoli has a bad rap for being a "boring" vegetable, but studies are showing that broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables are anything but boring! That's why this week's #bebetter52 challenge is to eat cruciferous vegetables, ideally by lightly steaming them.
Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, radish, rutabaga, turnip, arugula and more. Sulforaphane, which is present in cruciferous vegetables and most potently in broccoli sprouts, has been studied for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties. Research is shows that this plant-based, disease-fighting phytochemical helps those with cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol, and it could reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases. Sulforaphane has even been used to decrease levels of H. Pylori, a bacteria associated with stomach ulcers and gastric cancer, which shows that it is great for your digestion.
In order to get all the benefits of sulforaphane from your cruciferous vegetables, it's important to start with fresh veggies and to steam them for 3-4 minutes. Sulforaphane isn’t produced when vegetables are cooked above 158 degrees Fahrenheit, so if you're specifically looking for anticancer and antibacterial benefits, be sure to enjoy your veggies lightly steamed.
If steamed broccoli doesn't sound appealing, you can still reap the benefits of cruciferous vegetables by roasting, sautéing, or eating them raw. Benefits such as fiber, carotenoids, folate, minerals, as well as vitamins C, E and K are yours for the taking with this week's Be Better Challenge! Cauliflower "rice" is easy to make or find at stores such as Costco and Trader Joe's, and Brussels sprouts are a tasty addition to any salad. Sauerkraut provides probiotics as well as a dose of cabbage, and kale can be added to a green smoothie to sneak in your cruciferous veggies for this week. Don't forget to post a picture of how you enjoyed your veggies and make sure to use the hashtag #bebetter52!