Why Brassicas?

cruciferous vegetables-cook for your life

Remember being told to ‘eat your vegetables’ while you were growing up? This not so gentle suggestion to eat Brussels sprouts, broccoli, or cabbage was far from welcome at the time. But, we’ve grown up and realized our parents were right – brassicas really are just about the most healthy foods we can consume.

Also included in the brassica family are kale, cauliflower, bok choy, rutabaga, arugula, turnip, and rapini. The vegetables in this family are heavy hitters when it comes to nutrition and have been linked to cancer prevention. Find more in-depth information on how brassicas help to lower the risk of cancer here.

While we do not have evidence to say vegetables of the brassica family alone prevent cancer, we do know that they are a great source of many nutrients that are likely to reduce our cancer risk. For example, brassicas, like all vegetables, are a great source of fiber, and diets high in fiber have been linked with reduced risk of developing certain cancers. The World Cancer Research Funds states that there is convincing evidence that fiber decreases the risk of colon cancer.

Other characteristics of brassica veggies benefit the body in general. They are low in calories, which may help in weight maintenance as you can eat a large amount for very few calories. Maintaining a healthy weight is important in the prevention of many chronic diseases including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

As with all vegetables, it is better to eat a variety, as different brassicas contain different nutrients. For example, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are high in folate, while radishes are high in the flavonoids called anthocyanins.

Luckily, we have a multitude of recipes for brassica veggies to choose from. To get your day off to a nutritious start, try our Kale & Cheddar Scrambled Eggs.

For something a little different, try our Mashed Rutabaga or Steamed Bok Choy with Miso Lime Sauce.

For a snack with a twist, try this Spiced Cauliflower, which is great for boosting your veggie intake.

Registered Dietitian Approved

Our recipes, articles, videos, and more content are reviewed by our Registered Dietitian Kate Ueland, MS, RD, CSO, a board-certified specialist in oncology nutrition, to ensure that each is backed with scientific evidence and follows the guidelines set by the Oncology Nutrition for Clinical Practice, 2nd Ed., published by the Oncology Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group, a professional interest group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the American Institute for Cancer Research and the American Cancer Society.

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