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What are cruciferous vegetables?

Judy Caplan
Nutrition & Dietetics
Cruciferous vegetables are vegetables from the cabbage family. These include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, mustard greens, and bok choy. Cruciferous vegetables contain sulphur and many different antioxidant compounds that are thought to help prevent cancer. When you cook cruciferous vegetables they often give off a slightly unpleasant odor. This is due to their sulphurcontent.
Joel H. Fuhrman, MD
Family Medicine
Green vegetables such as kale, cabbage, collards, and broccoli, plus some non-green vegetables such as cauliflower and turnips, are called cruciferous vegetables. They are named for their flowers, having four equally spaced petals in the shape of a cross, from the Latin word "crucifer" meaning "cross bearer." All vegetables contain protective micronutrients and phytochemicals, but cruciferous vegetables have a unique chemical composition: they have sulfur-containing compounds, which are responsible for their pungent or bitter flavors. When their cell walls are broken by blending or chopping, a chemical reaction occurs that converts these sulfur-containing compounds into isothiocyanates (ITCs) -- an array of compounds with proven and powerful immune-boosting effects and anti-cancer activity.
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Vandana  R. Sheth
Nutrition & Dietetics
Arugula, bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, radishes, rutabaga, turnips and watercress are all considered cruciferous vegetables. Their name is derived from their four-petaled flowers which make them look like a crucifer or a cross. Cruciferous vegetables supply beta-carotene, fiber, vitamin C and other cancer-fighting components. They also provide calcium, iron and folate.
 
 
Marisa Moore
Nutrition & Dietetics
You've probably heard of them before as cruciferous vegetables are lauded as some of the best cancer fighters in the garden. In addition to their cancer-fighting properties, this class of vegetables may also help support healthy immune function. 

Cruciferous vegetables are part of the cabbage family. They include all varieties of cabbage including bok choy and Brussels sprouts, kale, collard greens, arugula, broccoli and cauliflower among others. Unfortunately, most Americans don't get enough vegetables of any variety. So, toss any one of these into a stir-fry tonight and enjoy!
Janis Jibrin, MS, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
Cruciferous vegetables include:
  • arugula
  • bok choy
  • broccoflower (a broccoli- and-cauliflower hybrid)
  • broccoli
  • brussels sprouts
  • cabbage (all types)
  • cauliflower
  • collard greens
  • kale
  • mustard greens
  • rutabaga
  • swiss chard
  • turnips
  • turnip greens
  • watercress
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.