Cooking vegetables is usually a good idea: Heat breaks down cell walls, releasing antioxidants.
That’s because crucifers, unlike other types of vegetables, are high in glucosinolate, a plant compound that produces naturally occurring small molecules called isothiocyanates, which have been shown to fight cancer.
“An enzyme in cruciferous vegetables converts glucosinolates to isothiocyanates when they’re chopped or chewed,” says Canadian dietitian Leslie Beck, author of The Complete A-Z Nutrition Encyclopedia: A Guide to Natural Health. “But this enzyme is easily destroyed by heat. That means that heating cruciferous vegetables will reduce the conversion of glucosinolates to their active isothiocyanates, which may reduce their cancer-fighting potential. You will preserve more phytochemicals in these vegetables if you steam them rather than boil or microwave.”
It should be noted that people with goiter or hypothyroidism must limit their intake of cruciferous vegetables, which are goitrogenic; i.e., they induce the formation of goiter through enzymes that interfere with iodine uptake. And as with most things, too much glucosinolate can be hazardous, particularly for people who are seriously ill. Always check with your doctor about any dietary changes. But for people who have no problem eating crucifers, these unique vegetables should be a part of a healthy diet, especially considering the fact that there is a growing body evidence that they are effective at protecting against cancer.
Here are eight of the most popular cruciferous vegetables that are best to eat raw to get the most out of their cancer-fighting power—and also to prevent their water-soluble vitamins from leaching out during the cooking process. But if you’ve got to add heat, less time is better and don’t let them touch water: a light steam will help keep more of their nutrients intact.
In Italy, raw arugula is often added to pizza after baking so that it doesn’t wilt and coarsely chopped arugula is often added to pasta. In her book The Oxford Companion to Italian Food, Gillian Reilly notes that arugula is a part of “many unpretentious recipes in which it is added, chopped, to sauces and cooked dishes.”
Bok choy, a type of Chinese cabbage, was ranked second for nutrient density out of 41 “powerhouse” fruits and vegetables by the U.S. Center for Disease Control. Bok choy is delicious raw: Just chop it up and add to your favorite salad or simply toss with a light dressing.
In addition to its potent anti-cancer properties, broccoli is high in vitamin C: A half-cup serving provides 52mg, almost all of the recommended dietary allowance for an adult (60mg). Broccoli is also an excellent source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical that boosts DNA repair in cells and may inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Of all the cruciferous vegetables, broccoli has the highest level of carotenoids, which may reduce the risk of renal cancer and lung cancer.
Like other crucifers, Brussels sprouts contain potential anti-cancer properties, and they also have high levels of vitamins C and K and B vitamins like folic acid and vitamin B6. People taking anticoagulants should talk to their doctor before eating Brussels sprouts, as vitamin K has a blood-clotting factor. While they are most often cooked, they are great raw as well: Just chop and toss with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper for a simple salad or side dish.
In addition to its possible cancer-fighting properties, cabbage is an excellent source of vitamins C and K, containing more than 20 percent of the daily value for each per serving. Cabbage has also been used throughout history as an herbal remedy. The Greek used it as a laxative while ancient Roman nobleman Pliny the Elder recommended eating cabbage to cure hangovers. For a delicious raw cabbage dish, simply chop it up and toss it with lemon, garlic and olive oil.
Low in fat and carbohydrates and high in dietary fiber, folate, and vitamin C, cauliflower packs a powerful nutritional punch, in addition to containing all the cancer-fighting compounds found in other members of the Brassica family. For a deliciously different raw cauliflower treat, try grating it, which gives it a fluffy texture, and adding it to a salad of chopped red peppers, black olives, capers, olive oil and lemon juice.
Kale has become such a fashionable vegetable, but in ancient times, it was one of the most common green vegetables in Europe. In addition to its cancer-fighting properties, kale is very high in vitamins C and K, calcium and beta-carotene, which has been used to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women before menopause, and the risk of age-related macular degeneration. For a delicious and simple raw kale salad, just chop it up, massage the leaves with olive oil and toss in a little lemon juice and black pepper.
Watercress is one of the oldest known leaf vegetables eaten by humans. In addition to its anti-carcinogenic properties, watercress has significant amounts of calcium, folic acid, iodine, iron, manganese and vitamins A, B6, C and K. It is also effective as a diuretic, expectorant and digestive aid. Eating raw watercress is easy: Just add it to your favorite sandwich for a healthy crunch.
A quick note from our founder-
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I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat.
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d) Hip Flexors
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To begin, I apologize for the dark nature of today's email.
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Imagine a rotting corpse draped over your body from head to toe...
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Is Bread Really the Staff of Life… or the Stuff of Disease?
For most us, there are few foods more comforting than bread.
Fluffy biscuits, crusty baguettes, flaky croissants… even a simple slice of toast topped with melted butter can taste like heaven.
And that smell… few scents are quite as pleasant as fresh bread baking in the oven.
But there is a lot of confusion as to where bread fits into a healthy diet.
The Bible practically commands followers to eat it: “Give us this day our daily bread…” The government put it at the base of the food pyramid. And for centuries, it has been called “the staff of life.”
Of course, there are some who disagree…
Well-known cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, calls wheat “the perfect chronic poison.”
And for a poison, we sure eat lots of it…
The average American consumes 55 pounds of wheat flour every year, making refined flour the #1 source of calories in the American Diet – a situation that nutrition expert Chris Kresser describes as, “a public health catastrophe.”
So, what is the truth about bread and wheat?
- Is it the perfect poison… or an essential daily food?
- Is “gluten-free” bread better for you than regular bread?
- And can you still eat bread… while maintaining a lean body and optimal health?
The answers to these questions may surprise you!
Be sure to read #5 – the biggest surprise of all!
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- Which calories help you lose weight…and which ones help you gain it…
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Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!
5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.