Do Cruciferous Vegetables Cure Cancer?

While there is no proven cure for cancer, there are several ways of treating it. A natural approach to cancer treatment and prevention is to include cancer-fighting foods in your diet. Respected cancer institutes such as the National Cancer Institute and the American Institute for Cancer Research recommend adding cruciferous vegetables to your diet to help prevent cancer.

Cruciferous vegetables are members of the plant family that get their name from the classic Latin word Brassicaceae, or the new Latin word Cruciferae. The flowers on these plants often form in the shape of a cross, or cruciform, which inspired the name cruciferous. Common cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.

So far, no studies have been able to prove that cruciferous vegetables cure cancer. However, findings from case-studies reported in the medical journal Nutrition and Cancer have shown a clear link between diet and cancer. The study reported that regular intake of cruciferous vegetables as part of an anti-cancer diet can lower the risks of developing cancer, prostate cancer specifically. According to the National Cancer Institute, there have been multiple studies conducted throughout the world regarding the effects that cruciferous vegetables may have on fighting cancer and cancer prevention. Studies published in the American Journal of Epidemiology and the Journal of the National Cancer Institute showed that women had a reduced risk of colon cancer and lung cancer when they consumed a high amount of cruciferous vegetables in their diets.

Anti-Cancer Vegetables

When it comes to eating healthy, fruits and vegetables are usually at the top of the list. They have well-known wellness benefits, such as providing essential vitamins and minerals needed to maintain optimal health. But when it comes to cancer-fighting foods, which vegetables are considered the most beneficial?

Broccoli is one of the most well-known cruciferous vegetables, and the relationship between broccoli and cancer prevention has been well-established. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America published a study that highlighted broccoli’s potent cancer-fighting compounds. Even though broccoli is at the top of the cruciferous list, there are quite a few of these cancer-fighting veggies to nosh on.

According to The American Institute for Cancer Research and the National Cancer Institute, the following are good anti-cancer vegetables to include in your diet:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Collard greens
  • Dark green leafy vegetables (arugula, spinach, kale, etc.)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Winter squash

A natural approach to cancer treatment and prevention is to include cancer-fighting foods in your diet. So far, no studies have been able to prove that cruciferous vegetables cure cancer. However, scientific findings have shown a clear link between diet and cancer.

Phytochemicals

So what exactly is the relationship between cruciferous vegetables and cancer prevention? The key word is phytochemicals. Phyto comes from the Greek word phuton, which means of or relating to plants. Phytochemicals are found in plants, and they make plants bright, vibrant, and healthy. Phytochemicals found in cruciferous vegetables include carotenoids, glucosinolates, and isothiocyanates. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, phytochemicals such as the ones found in cruciferous vegetables may have anti-cancer benefits including:

  • Stimulating the immune system
  • Blocking environmental substances from becoming carcinogens
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Preventing and repairing DNA damage
  • Acting as antioxidants
  • Slowing the growth of cancer cells
  • Eliminating damaged cells before they can turn into cancer
  • Regulating hormones
Carotenoids

A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition shows the antioxidant impact of carotenoids. Antioxidants help prevent cancer by eliminating dangerous, potential cancer-causing cells called free radicals.

Add carotenoids to your diet with the following cruciferous vegetables:

  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Leafy greens
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Winter squash
Glucosinolates

Glucosinolates have been shown to have anti-cancer effects by limiting the production of cancer-related hormones and preventing tumor growth. A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition also showed that glucosinolates from cruciferous vegetables reduce the risk of cancer by blocking carcinogens.

Add glucosinolates to your diet with the following cruciferous vegetables:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Collard greens
  • Kale
Isothiocyanates

A study published in Nutrition and Cancer suggests that isothiocyanates play a role in cancer prevention by blocking and eliminating carcinogens. Carcinogens are substances that have the potential to develop into cancer. Additional research published in Drug Metabolism Reviews revealed that isothiocyanates have a particularly powerful impact when it comes to preventing lung and esophageal cancers.

Add isothiocyanates to your diet with the following cruciferous vegetables:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Collard greens
  • Kale

In summary, cruciferous vegetables have been shown to help prevent cancer when consumed on a regular basis. Types of cancer that may have a reduced risk include esophageal cancer, prostate cancer in men, and lung and colon cancers in women.

The best anti-cancer cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, collard greens, dark leafy greens like kale and spinach, sweet potatoes, and winter squash. The key substances in cruciferous vegetables that make them such an integral part of an anti-cancer diet are phytochemicals including carotenoids, glucosinolates, and isothiocyanates. These phytochemicals, or plant-based chemicals, are believed to boost immunity by acting as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories while regulating hormones, eliminating dangerous carcinogens, preventing and repairing DNA damage, and slowing the growth of cancer cells.

While cruciferous vegetables haven’t been proven to cure cancer, they have been proven to provide several health benefits. Add some to your diet today (or blend them up with our Veggie Shake) to start reaping all the healthy rewards.

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