Brassica Species and Healthy Diet

Brassica Species of Veggies

Scientific mumbo-jumbo a little much?  Brassica species include broccoli, cauliflower, rutabaga, turnips, kohlrabi, mustards, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, kale, canola and more.  While most people know that these vegetables are good for them, they often don't realize just how much these vegetables can mean to their diet, their weight, and their health. 

There are a host of good compounds in the plants of these species.  There are also some that, in certain circumstances, can be harmful to certain individuals.  Brassica species contain vitamin C and carotenoids, soluble fiber, selenium, and the anti-cancer compounds sulforaphane and diindolymethane.

For generally healthy individuals, Brassica species plants are a wonderfully beneficial and tasty part of their diet.  For certain other people, there can be problems with too much consumption.  Potentially harmful properties include goitrogens, which, if there is an iodine deficiency, can bring on hypothyroidism and goiter.  Broccoli and other Brassica species may cause changes in how medications are metabolized.  People who are taking medications that are metabolized by the liver should limit their intake.  This is a good thing to discuss with one's doctor.

Hate these vegetables as a kid?  There may have been a reason for the dislike.  They contain a compound called PTC that tastes bitter to certain individuals. 

How to get more of the good chemicals into a healthy diet?  Eating them fresh and raw obviously preserves everything intact. Steaming, microwaving, and stir-frying, for under 4 minutes, is the best way to get the most bang out of the food buck as far as these vegetables are concerned.  Boiling and overcooking reduces their nutritional value, particularly of the water-soluble vitamins and some of the cancer-fighting compounds. 

Fiber and servings of vegetables are some of the most difficult changes to make to get a healthier diet.  Brassica species vegetables is a great choice and the right path to take for most people.


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