Crucifers

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Cruciferous vegetables, pronounced krew-SIH-for-us, derive their name from the shape of their flowers, which have four petals in the shape of a cross. Here are some of the vegetables who are members of this cabbage family:

• Arugula
• Beet greens
• Bok choy
• Broccoli
• Brussels sprouts
• Cabbage
• Cauliflower
• Chinese cabbage
• Collard greens
• Kale
• Kohlrabi
• Mustard greens
• Radishes
• Rutabaga
• Swiss chard
• Turnips
• Turnip greens
• Watercress

Why are they good for me?
These vegetables are all fat free and are good sources of fiber and vitamin C. They supply various amounts of calcium, iron and folate. Additionally, they contain plant compounds called phytochemicals that appear to have cancer-fighting properties.

Try to eat cruciferous vegetables 2-3 times a week. Results from a study at UCLA Medical Center showed that men and women who consumed 3.7 cups of broccoli a week were 50% less likely to develop colorectal cancer than those who never ate broccoli.

Purchasing tips
• Cauliflower, broccoli, collard greens, kale and Brussels sprouts are available frozen year round.
• Frozen vegetables save time because they are ready to go into your recipe. They don’t need to be thawed ahead of time.
• 1 pound of untrimmed greens will typically serve 2 to 3 people.

Cooking tips
• Eat fresh vegetables as soon as possible after purchase.
• Cook cruciferous vegetables quickly.
• Steam fresh or frozen vegetables in a tightly covered pan containing 1/4 cup (or less) water until tender, about 3 minutes. Some greens may take longer.
• Steam-cook vegetables in your microwave oven. Rinse them with water and place them in a covered container. Microwave on full power until tender, about about 3 minutes per cup.
• Saute cooked crucifers with a small amount of olive oil and garlic. Flavored vinegars and lemon add a nice flavor, too.
• Broccoli can be eaten steamed as a side dish. It is also delicious used raw in salads.
• Chop greens and add to soups, stews and chili dishes.

Super Crucifer Stir-fry
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
1 cup broccoli florets, fresh or frozen
1 cup carrots, sliced
2 cups cabbage, shredded
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
Ground ginger to taste
Light soy sauce to taste
Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the canola oil and sauté the garlic until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables and sauté until crisp-tender, about 3-5 minutes. Season with ginger and light soy sauce.
Serve as a side dish. You can top with grilled chicken or fish and serve over brown rice for a great meal!
Serves 4. Each serving: 79 calories, 4 g fat, 0 saturated fat, 0 cholesterol, 227 mg sodium, 8 g carbohydrate, 2.5 g fiber, 3 g protein.

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