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Cruciferous Vegetables

With October being breast cancer awareness month, here is one statistic to be aware of: according to the National Cancer Institute, over 266,000 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer by the end of 2018.  While there are some things that we can’t control when it comes to this (or any cancer), such as family history and age, there are a lot of lifestyle choices that anyone can make that can reduce their risks of getting certain cancers, such as prostate and colorectal cancers.  For one, are you eating cruciferous vegetables?  Maybe you are, you just don’t know what they are!  These vegetables have special phytochemicals in them, and people who eat a diet high in these vegetables have lower rates of cancer.  These phytochemicals do a number of things, including protecting against DNA damage, playing a role in deactivating carcinogens, causing death of cancer cells, having anti-inflammatory effects, and more.  So what exactly are cruciferous vegetables?  Examples include bok choy, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, horseradish, turnips, Brussels sprouts, kale, kohlrabi, radish, kale, and others.  They call them cruciferous because they make a crucifix shape when they are cut in a cross section.  If you aren’t eating from this subcategory of vegetables, consider giving them a try!  With one in two men and one in three women being diagnosed with cancer these days, it’s important to do all that we can to reduce the risks.  Of course, all vegetables are good for you, and it’s important to eat a variety of plant-based foods.  Now that you know what they are, think of what you ate yesterday.  Did you have any cruciferous vegetables?  If not, think of ways to include them in your diet, whether it’s fresh, canned, or frozen.  All of these forms count towards your daily fruit and vegetable intake, so see what works for you and expand your vegetable consumption while reducing your cancer risks!

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