List of cruciferous vegetables and their uses | 24 Mantra

Cruciferous vegetables and Cancer Prevention


Cruciferous vegetables and Cancer Prevention

Health and Nutrition

cruciferous vegetables are one of the dominant food crops in the world. These are healthy foods and contain vitamin C and soluble fiber. There is evidence that it is helpful to include  Brassica or cruciferous vegetables in the diet to support the prevention of cancer.

cruciferous vegetables are endowed with several chemical constituents that have negative effects on multiple pathways of cancer cells because of their anti-proliferative and anti-tumorigenic properties.

Which vegetables come under cruciferous vegetables?

The cruciferous group of vegetables include:

  1. broccoli
  2. Brussels sprouts
  3. cabbage
  4. cauliflower
  5. kale
  6. kohlrabi
  7. mustard
  8. turnips
  9. bok choy etc

Thesecruciferous vegetables contain antioxidant vitamins and minerals. Apart from these the cruciferous vegetables are rich sources of glucosinolates. Glucosinolates are sulphur containing compounds and they are responsible for the unique sharp taste and pungent aroma characteristic of these cruciferous vegetables.

What is chemoprevention?

Cancer chemoprevention refers to the use of agents for the inhibition, delay, or reversal of carcinogenesis before invasion.

Agents used for cancer chemoprevention are classified into four major categories

  1. Hormonal
  2. Medications
  3. Diet-related
  4. Vaccines

cruciferous vegetables and cancer prevention

In a study carried out it was observed that these cruciferous vegetables contain non-nutritive components such as glucosinolate hydrolysis products, sulforaphane, and indole-3-carbinol. The concentration of glucosinolate in cruciferous vegetables can vary depending on the species, cultivar and environmental conditions. These products show chemo-preventive activities.

The chemo-preventive activities of cruciferous vegetables were recognized in the early 1990s, followed by rapid growth of evidence of their potential preventive role against a number of cancers, including breast cancer. cruciferous vegetables are rich unique sources of glucosinolates, whose hydrolytic products, primarily isothiocyanates (ITCs) and indoles, may have cancer chemopreventive properties.

The authors describe the anticarcinogenic bioactivities of glucosinolate hydrolysis products, the mineral selenium derived from crucifers, and the mechanisms involved in the protective properties against cancer.

The mechanisms include

  1. altered estrogen metabolism
  2. protection against reactive oxygen species
  3. altered detoxification by induction of phase II enzymes
  4. decreased carcinogen activation by inhibition of phase I enzymes
  5. and slowed tumour growth and induction of apoptosis.

cruciferous vegetables and breast cancer

One of the studies suggests that consumption of cruciferous vegetables  is associated with reduced breast cancer risk, especially with broccoli and cauliflower intakes. The inverse relationship of consumption of cruciferous vegetableswith breast cancer risk seems to be more seen in premenopausal women.

Benefits of consuming cruciferous vegetables

Chopping and chewing of these cruciferous vegetables lead to the breakdown of glucosinolates which give rise to indoles and isothiocyanates which may help in the prevention of cancer. A diet rich in crucifers, such as Brussels sprouts and broccoli, is inversely associated with the risk of many common cancers. They also mention that epidemiological studies show that cruciferous vegetables provide even greater protection against cancer than a diet high in a general mixture of fruits and vegetables.

Therefore, ensure that your diet has plenty of vegetables because of so many benefits they provide. Not only chemo-preventive there are several other benefits vegetables can provide us. Among the vegetables we use make sure cruciferous vegetables are also consumed regularly.

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