One of the most powerful components of cruciferous vegetables is their glucosinolates. Glucosinolate derivatives stop cancer by encouraging cancer cells to commit suicide, and they also suppress genes that create new blood vessels, which support tumor growth and spread.
Even better, these organic compounds reduce the carcinogenic effects of many environmental toxins by boosting the expression of detoxifying enzymes. They protect DNA from oxidative damage caused by toxins, preventing changes, which can lead to cancer.
Delicious vegetables that can reduce your risk for cancer
Glucosinolates directly affect the function and expression of genes, this is know as the epigenetic effect – which means it supplies both wide-raging and long-lasting changes to the gene’s function.
Human research reveals higher dietary intakes of glucosinolates are associated with a reduction in the risk of most common cancers. For prostate cancer, the risk is cut by 32 percent and the derivatives of the glucosinolates abundant in broccoli sprouts help prevent stomach cancer by killing the H. pylori bacteria.
Some of the more common cruciferous vegetables to eat are, broccoli and broccoli sprouts, arugula, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collard greens, horseradish, kale, kohlarabi, parsnips, radishes rutabaga, turnips, watercress and wasabi.
Cruciferous vegetables stop “hormone-dependent” cancer cell growth
For example, indole-3 carbinol is the most widely studied components of cruciferous vegetables; studies have shown that it fights cancers of the breast, prostate, reproductive tract, colon and blood cancers.
In cancers of the reproductive tract, indole-3 carbinol prevents the development of tumors by benefiting important ratios of estrogen metabolites.
Both sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol decrease the amount of cancer stimulating estrogen, and this has been shown to help in thyroid as well as breast cancer.
Phenethyl isothiocyanate is a natural metabolite of glucosinolates that has been found to down-regulate androgen receptors – minimizing stimulation of prostate cancer by testosterone.
Diindolylmethane (DIM) is produced in the body fat, following the ingestion of glucosinolates derived from cruciferous vegetables. DIM helps prevent the growth of estrogen-dependent tumors such as those of the breast and reproductive tract.
How to get the most protection from cruciferous vegetables
To get the chemoprevention from these vegetables don’t cook them at high temperatures, boiling, steaming, and microwaving decreases the bioavailability of the cancer-fighting compounds. Also, cruciferous vegetables must be chopped or chewed well for real benefits.
This means blender raw or chopped well before light cooking. High temperature cooking reduces the rate of glucosinolate conversion to active molecules by about 300 percent – which is why raw diets are often credited with preventing and reversing cancer.
Naturally, go for organic as the content of glucosinolate can vary due to the growing conditions. It is important to eat a wide variety of cruciferous vegetables as each may contain a different set of glucosinolates that are chemoprotective.
Since environment toxins are a growing threat by their ability to cause hormonal changes, it is important that we supply our body systems with a way to detoxify itself. While toxins and radiation produce negative epigenetic effects, we can counter this with fresh produce. After all, nature always offers a solution to our problems.
About the author: Blanche Levine has been a student of natural healing modalities for the last 25 years. She has the privilege of working with some of the greatest minds in natural healing including Naturopaths, scientist and energy healers. Having seen people miraculously heal from all kinds of dis-ease through non-invasive methods, her passion now is to help people become aware of what it takes to be healthy.