We all know that eating vegetables has amazing health benefits. While each and every vegetable has its own nutritional content, few veggies play a remarkable role in ensuring vibrant health. One such group of vegetables belonging to the cruciferous family are broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, radish, rutabaga and turnip.
What makes this group of veggies so special?
Cruciferous vegetables are rich sources of fibre, vitamins C, E, and K, several carotenoids, folate, and minerals. They also contain sulfur compounds such as sulforaphane and glucosinolate a phytochemical in copious amounts and have garnered interest from researchers for their cardioprotective properties.
In the process of cooking, the glucosinolates in these vegetables breaks cruciferous down into biologically active compounds that are cardioprotective, such as nitriles, indoles, isothiocyanates, and thiocyanates.
Cardioprotective Effect of cruciferous vegetables
Cardiovascular problems remain a top health concern worldwide. Research proves that sulforaphane helps in avoiding the inflammation of the arterial walls, prevents obesity, controls hypertension, and other related conditions that lead to CVD.
A study conducted (2012) about hypertension determined that sulforaphane lowers renal and vascular oxidative stress and inflammation as well as blood pressure, thus aiding in hypertension.
This evidence proves that sulforaphane in cruciferous vegetables is a potential player in preventing heart diseases. It does by protecting arteries from disease by boosting a natural defense mechanism in the body.
In recent study paper, Blekkenhorst and team note that research consistently shows evidence of a link between a higher consumption of vegetables and a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.
As per the recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, eating cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and sprouts 3 or more times per day can prevent hardening of neck arteries in elderly women and decrease the risk of heart disease.
Scientist determined a 0.05millimetre lower carotid artery wall thickness between high and less consumption of total vegetables. This is likely important, because a 0.1 millimeter decrease in carotid wall thickness is associated with a 10% to 18% decrease in risk of stroke and heart attack, claimed lead author Lauren Blekkenhorst, from the University of Western Australia.
The study team distributed food frequency questionnaires to 954 Australian women aged 70 years and older. The women were asked to record their vegetable intake in a range from never eating vegetables to 3 or more frequent times a day. Vegetable types included cruciferous, allium like onions, garlic, leeks and shallots, yellow/orange/red, leafy green and legumes.
Sonograms were used to measure carotid artery wall thickness and entire carotid trees were examined to determine carotid plaque severity.
The results revealed that each 10 grams per day higher in cruciferous vegetable intake was associated with 0.8% lower average carotid artery wall thickness. But, due to observational nature of this study, a causative relationship cannot be established.
Cruciferous vegetables are low in calories packed with nutrients. Although the specific nutrition profiles can vary, cruciferous vegetables tend to be high in vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K as well as dietary fibre. Include the following cruciferous vegetables like bok choy, mustard greens, watercress, radish, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, turnip and cabbage among others that will benefit your heart health.