Produce Spotlight: Cruciferous Vegetables

February 10, 2022|
1 minute read


Cruciferous vegetables are known for their slightly bitter flavor, pungent aroma, and numerous health benefits.

Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, and arugula. These vegetables have more in common than just their deep green color; they are all cruciferous vegetables, a diverse group of plants in the Brassica family, which also includes cabbage, cauliflower, and bok choy. Cruciferous vegetables are known for their slightly bitter flavor, pungent aroma, and numerous health benefits.

While the nutritional profile of each cruciferous vegetable varies slightly, for the most part, they are all rich in fiber and folate. Fiber is essential for maintaining gut health, and folate supports red blood cell production and healthy cell growth. Folate is especially important during early pregnancy, as it aids in the formation of the brain and spine in a fetus. In addition to fiber and folate, cruciferous vegetables are excellent sources of immune-boosting vitamin C and vitamin k, which plays an important role in blood clotting and bone health.

Cruciferous vegetables also contain important sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates. These compounds impart the bitter flavor and pungent aroma that we associate with cruciferous vegetables, and they have potentially powerful health properties. When cruciferous vegetables are broken down by finely chopping, chewing, or blending, their glucosinolates are converted into isothiocyanates, which have been linked to cancer prevention. Numerous studies have shown
a link between eating a diet high in cruciferous vegetables and reduced risks of cancers of the lung, ovary, stomach, breast, prostate, and colon.

Our Produce department features a wide array of cruciferous vegetables year-round, making them an especially easy addition to your weekly meal plan. Arugula and cabbage are excellent in salads and slaws, while broccoli and cauliflower can be steamed and served as a quick side for weeknight dinners. If you’re looking to add extra nutrition to a soup or stew, try adding kale, chard, or bok choy right before serving. To maximize the health benefits of cruciferous vegetables, it is recommended that you consume at least 2 1⁄2 cups of them per week.

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