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Nowadays, we have observed a shift in people’s perception of their health and body, and they are leaving no stone unturned to make their bodies healthy and strong. Of course, certain things are mandatory for good health, such as the right quantity of water, the right amount of sleep, and the right type of exercise. However, a good diet always tops the list. Are you worried that we might suggest you some boring diet plan? No, not at all. We believe in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. That’s why we understand that life is too short not to enjoy good food. With that said, we are going to introduce you to a family of non-starchy super healthy veggies, i.e., cruciferous vegetables. Healthy food that tastes yum is just like an Indian TV serial that really makes sense. No offense! But both are hard to find.  Allow us to give you a brief introduction to super crunchy, healthy and exciting cruciferous vegetables.

What are cruciferous foods?

Cruciferous. Wondering what kind of name is that and how come somebody thought of such a name. Well, the answer to your questions lies in the appearance of the flowers of these plants as they look like a cross. Also known as cabbage’s cousin, the cruciferous family contains a vast group of vegetables. The leaves, flowers, and buds of these plants are their edible parts. Some of the common vegetables of this family are:

  • Brussels sprouts
  • Turnip
  • Broccoli
  • Radish
  • Mustard greens (sarso)
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Red cabbage

Importance of cruciferous foods

Thomas Edison once said that future doctors would no longer treat the human body with drugs; instead, they would cure and prevent diseases by focusing on proper nutrition. Sounds like déjà vu? Also, in Ayurveda, there is a saying that “When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.” After all, we are the byproducts of the things that we consume. If we are conscious about the things that we are consuming, then we can definitely control how our body is going to be in the next few years.

Our generation has witnessed the monster named corona, which brought our hustling lives to a halt and confined us to our homes. This virus ruined the happiness of many happy families and made them suffer, but if we look at the positive side, it also taught us the importance of keeping our bodies fit. Initially, there was no cure for Coronavirus, so we all focused on eating healthy and boosting our immunity. Therefore, we consumed all sorts of veggies, juices, and other nutritious food items. These veggies gave us strength and spiced up our food with their crunchy texture and distinctive taste. Such is the power of cruciferous foods, and we all have experienced it at least once in real life.

Benefits of cruciferous foods

Cruciferous might sound like a curse from magic books that voldemort will love, but unlike their name cruciferous vegetables are super beneficial. Cruciferous vegetables are a magnificent addition to our everyday diet. These contain a group of substances known as glucosinolates, which are sulfur-containing chemicals. These chemicals are responsible for cruciferous vegetables’ pungent aroma and bitter flavor. According to the National Cancer Institute, studies in rats and mice have demonstrated that indoles and isothiocyanates (compounds formed after the breakdown of glucosinolates) protect cells from DNA damage as well as inactivate carcinogens. Apart from it, they have antibacterial and anti-viral properties. So, if you are a smoker or are fond of “Bolo juban Kesari”, then it’s high time you start consuming cruciferous foods. Trust us, it will do wonders for your body.

Cruciferous vegetables not only produce a sulfur aroma in the kitchen but also have various health benefits. For your better understanding, we have listed some of the benefits of cruciferous foods. Let’s have a look:

  • They are rich in Vitamin B, C, E, and K
  • These vegetables are rich in fibers, which is why we feel full after consuming them. Therefore, these veggies are like a boon for people who are miserable at hunger games. 
  • They help our body to regulate blood sugar
  • They help to reduce inflammation
  • They also keep estrogen levels balanced
  • They also build your respiratory defenses against inflation
  • They strengthen our brain and eyesight
  • They help to detoxify our bodies. So, if you are a resident of Delhi or any other part of the world from where you can’t see that the color of the sky is blue due to pollution, then believe it, you have to detoxify your body from all the unwanted fumes.

Unlike us, finding ways to spoil our body, cruciferous veggies really care about our health. 

Enjoying cruciferous foods

Now that we know the benefits of cruciferous vegetables, it’s time to learn how to enjoy them. You can eat them boiled or raw, and you can also sauté them if you like. However, not everyone can consume them raw. According to some old and not so well-researched studies, it was recommended that people with thyroid should avoid eating cruciferous foods as they might suffer from negative consequences. However, the latest research has proved that there is no harm to thyroid patients eating cruciferous vegetables. With that said, we recommend you sauté these veggies before consumption so that there’s no chance of adverse reaction in your body.

Though many of the cruciferous veggies have been a part of our salad plates for decades, there’s no harm in experimenting a bit and spicing up the taste. So, for those struggling mothers, who have picky kids, we’ve brought some secret recipes that can help you fool your super-smart Gen-Z kids, and they’ll eat cruciferous veggies with a big smile on their faces. So without further ado, let’s have a look at some ways to include cruciferous veggies in your diet:

  • Cruciferous veggies taste amazing when eaten raw. So, you can always add them to your fruit salad to increase its nutrition.
  • You can make a puree of red cabbage and cook it as a water substitute in rice dal khichdi for lunch or dinner.
  • You can also make a fine paste of the cruciferous veggies and add it to the flour when you knead the dough – tasty paranthas!
  • You can chop the veggies finely and add them to your fries, soups, and stews.
  • If your kids love to eat dal, sneakily add some puree of cruciferous veggies while cooking, and they’ll never find out! Ssshhh… top secret!
  • Does your kid also always demand chicken? Well, the next time, don’t forget to add some kale leaves to your gravy after giving it a whirl along with other spices.

Wrap it up!

The hashtag YOLO (You Only Live Once) has taken the internet by storm. Every other influencer is emphasizing the need to enjoy every moment of your life as if there’s no tomorrow. However, in real life, if we want to live to the fullest, then just flooding social media with quotations and inspirational posts is not sufficient. As the saying goes, ‘Actions speak louder than words’, so we need to put in some real effort rather than just talk and preach. And it starts with yourself first! So with that said, when are you going to visit the supermarket and grab those juicy and leafy cruciferous foods as a gift to your body? We would love to hear from you!

References:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23679237/
  2. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2016/11/21/science-of-flavor-cruciferous-vegetables-brussels-sprouts/

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