Food Broccoli plant Linda N. flickr

Published on March 3rd, 2012 | by ecolocalizer


Eat Your Broccoli! Cruciferous Vegetables Help Fight & Prevent Cancer

Broccoli a cancer fighting crucifer

I guess mom was right — eating your broccoli really is good for you.  A recent study by the Linus Pauling Institute, in coordination with Oregon State University, found evidence that broccoli and other plants in the cabbage family (Cruciferae) have significant cancer prevention properties, due to certain sulfur containing compounds (isothiocyanates) which these plants contain.

Our bodies are able to utilize these sulfurous  compounds to inhibit the growth of cancer, and in some cases, destroy cancerous cells through a process called  apoptosis. The compounds have also been shown to reduce the cancerous effects of carcinogens such as  procarcinogen, which is  found in tobacco.


Vegetables Can Stop Cancer Before It Starts


The protective qualities of isothiocyanates  have also  been shown to protect our bodies from cancer even before cancerous DNA mutations have formed. It protects the body from cancer in two ways; first, these substances have  shown antibacterial effects against Helicobactor Pylori (including anti-biotic resistant varieties), a major contributor to stomach ulcers, and a possible precusor to stomach cancer.

In one study eating 11 oz. of brussel spouts over the course of just one week completely eradicated Helicobacter Pylori in 3 of 9 patients suffering from gastritis. Isothiocyanates also have proven anti-inflammatory effects upon our bodies.  Inflammation can increase the risk of developing cancer.


Beautiful cabbage growing in the gardenKohl Rabi Cancer fighting Cruciferchildren growing Kale a cancer fighting crucifer

How To Cook Broccoli/Cabbage Family Vegetables


According to the Linus Pauling Institute, the way you cook these vegetables also makes a difference. If you are trying to extract the greatest quantity of isothiocyanates, light steaming or briefly microwaving seems to be the best, while boiling and high power microwaving is not ideal.

The report did not mention the many benefits from sauerkraut, one of my favorite ways to eat cabbage. Being from the South, I also noticed that they failed to recommend battered and deep fat frying methods, or the health benefits from slathering vegetables in lots of sugary ketchup.


Best Sources of Cancer Preventing Raw Vegetables 


Cruciferous plants are named for their  beautiful flowers, which look like a cross. The Cruciferae family contains many different vegetables, all of which have varying quantities of isothiocyanate cancer preventing precursors (glucosinolates). Below is a list of the best sources of cancer preventing crucifers:

Brussel sprouts: 104 mgs  per 1/2 cup Serving

Garden cress: 98 mgs  per 1/2 cup Serving

Mustard greens: 79 mgs  per 1/2 cup Serving

Kale: 67 mgs  per 1/2 cup Serving

Turnips: 60 mgs  per 1/2 cup Serving

Savoy cabbage: 35 mgs  per 1/2 cup Serving

Watercress: 32 mgs  per 1/2 cup Serving

Kohlrabi:  31 mgs  per 1/2 cup Serving

Red cabbage: 29 mgs  per 1/2 cup Serving

Broccoli: 27 mgs  per 1/2 cup Serving

Horseradish: 24 mgs  per 1/2 cup Serving

Cauliflower: 22 mgs  per 1/2 cup Serving

Bok choy/Pak choi: 19 mgs  per 1/2 cup Serving


brussel sproutsCrucifer flower


A few recipes that look delicious:

Photo of  broccoli by linda N.
Photo of cabbage by Jasmine&Roses
Photo of child with Kale by Woodleywonderworks
Photo of kohl rabi by Simon Blackley
Photo of brussel sprouts by Elaine with Grey Cats
Photo of crucifer flower by Northbay Wanderer
Photo of Cress by Girl Interupted Eating

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author

10 Responses to Eat Your Broccoli! Cruciferous Vegetables Help Fight & Prevent Cancer

  1. Not sure I agree because I’m now on my second cancer and I eat tons of this stuff…but it certainly can’t hurt. Also look into the effects of Asparagus on cancer prevention and treatment.

    • Brett Gustafson says:

      I am sorry to hear about your second cancer. Unfortunately no diet, or treatment will be effective for every person. What this study does suggest: Our food choices and our daily diets can make a difference in our health. Americans in general would do better eating more vegetables, and crucifers are a good place to start. I love that a common food rather than an exotic food shows promise to help many people.

      • I also have cancer, and this totally inspires me to eat kale, cabbage and brussel sprouts every single day — yum.

      • I totally agree. Our diets are lacking in vegetables overall. I feel very fortunate that both of my kids eat their veggies first at dinner time and their starches last And they like all kinds of vegetables so they’re getting the variety that helps to maximize vegetables’ beneficial effects. I did read quite a bit about asparagus and cancer. Just a tablespoon a day of cooked asparagus can help, and it’s also not exotic. As a matter of fact it’s growing in my lawn! Thanks again for posting this.

  2. Pingback: Hayy! It’s Link Party #5! | Important Media Insights

  3. Pingback: Types of Kale - Kale Varieties and Pictures

  4. Pingback: Wild Ramps & Bleu Cheese Fondue Recipe

  5. Ayub Chege says:

    Some truth in this… the African continent knows relatively fewer cancer cases compared to the Western world, and kale is the accompaniment to the staple meal in African unlike in the West where processed food dominate. However, that the tough African skin is also a strong protecter against uv-radiation primary triger of skin cancer cells that ultimately are transported to other body organs and compromise healthy cells cannot be ruled out too.

  6. Pingback: Super Veggies: Broccoli and Cabbage and Kale — Oh My! | Eat Drink Better

  7. Pingback: Circadian Rhythms and the Nutrient Content of Food | Eat Drink Better

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top ↑