When you open up your Doorganics bin next week, you may find yourself in awe by the beauty and distinctiveness of the Romanesco Broccoli, or Roman Cauliflower. A variant form of cauliflower, this vegetable is not only gorgeous but also a nutrient packed super food with many health-promoting benefits. Most intriguing is its cancer fighting properties, which we will focus on today.
In fact, all of the cruciferous vegetables, or those in the Brassica family, including cauliflower and broccoli, as well as cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts, bok choy and more, have been long researched for both cancer prevention as well as treatment. Simply adding these vegetables to your diet regimen could help decrease your chance of developing cancer, while also promoting overall health and wellness.
Cruciferous vegetables are high in calcium, iron, folate, fiber, vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium and many other important vitamins and minerals, making them nutrient dense foods helpful for basically any process in the body. The Brassica family of vegetables is also high in a number of compounds that have been proven in research to decrease cancer risk as well as treat already diagnosed cancer.
Let’s talk about 4 different ways how cruciferous vegetables can help your body fight cancer:
1) Sulforaphanes- Cruciferous vegetables, like Romanesco Brocolli, are sulfur rich foods. They are high in compounds called sulforaphanes, which have been shown extensively in research to have an anti-cancer effect. It has been shown that sulforaphanes help to fight cancer by promoting the expression of genes that both cause detoxification as well as create an anti-oxidant effect.
2) DIM (Diindolylmethane) – When cruciferous vegetables are broken down in your body, DIM is created, a substance well known to have anti-cancer effects. This is most likely due to the fact that many cancers are estrogen dependent. DIM shifts the ratio of 2OH: 16OH ratio. In our bodies, not all estrogen is created equal. 2OH is known to have less of a carcinogenic effect while 16OH promotes cancer growth. DIM helps to shift the 2OH:16OH ratio towards 2OH estrogen, therefore lowering cancer risk. Research has shown that DIM can both prevent and treat breast, uterine and colorectal cancer and may help with prostate health as well as PMS and menopause.
3) Fiber- Cruciferous vegetables are rich in fiber. Fiber helps our body to detoxify by binding unwanted compounds in the gut. This includes hormones like estrogen, which in excess can promote cancer growth. Foods rich in fiber, like cruciferous vegetables, help by allowing our bodies to get rid of these compounds through the gut and decrease re-absorption back into the body.
4) Anti-oxidants- Cruciferous vegetables are rich in antioxidants, such as Vitamin C, further increasing their anti-cancer properties by helping to clean up damaging free radicals in the body.
Take home: Cruciferous vegetables are one the strongest natural cancer fighters available to us on earth. It is hard to ignore that mother nature puts everything we need to live a healthy, cancer free life at our fingertips, and the Romanesco Broccoli is just another example of this. I suggest eating one serving of cruciferous vegetables a day, especially for anyone with a strong family or personal history of cancer.
Tip: Eat cruciferous vegetables raw or minimally cooked such as steamed or baked to avoid losing the cancer fighting properties during cooking.
A simple way to prepare your Romanesco Broccoli
With the oven on 425 degrees, cover a flat pan with aluminum foil, lightly sprinkle with olive oil and salt and bake for 20 minutes. Enjoy!
***If you are interested in learning more about Grand Rapids Natural Health please call 616-264-6556 or visit www.grnaturalhealth.com to request your complimentary 15-minute consult.
~Kelly S. Hassberger, ND