Cruciferous Vegetable List: The Best Gut-Friendly Veggies

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Many scientists recommend eating cruciferous vegetables daily. Find out what makes these vegetables an essential addition to any diet.

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Best Cruciferous Vegetables For A Healthy Gut

What Are Cruciferous Vegetables?

Cruciferous vegetables belong to the Cruciferae family. This group is sometimes called cabbage vegetables but includes a much larger variety of vegetables.

They grow in cold weather and have four-leaf flowers that resemble a cross.

A few cruciferous vegetables have edible roots and seeds, but it’s mostly cultivated for the leaves or flower buds.

The chemicals in cruciferous vegetables make them unique. High sulfur-containing compounds give these vegetables their distinctive odor.

In recent years these vegetables have gained a lot of attention for their health benefits.

Best Cruciferous Vegetables To Add To Your Diet

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Arugula

arugula salad leaves on a wooden table | Arugula salad

Arugula, also known as rocket and Italian cress, is a nutrient-rich green that originated in the Mediterranean. It has a distinctive, peppery taste and can be enjoyed in salads, pesto, and sandwiches. Similar cruciferous vegetables include mustard greens and watercress.

Bok choy

bok choy cabbages on a wooden table | Bok choy cabbage

Bok choy is a leafy vegetable that has been cultivated in China for over 5000 years. Bok choy has a mild flavor and is often used in stir-fry and soups.

It is also known as pak choi and Chinese white cabbage.

Broccoli

Cruciferous Vegetable List: The Best Gut Friendly Veggies | Broccoli sprout

Broccoli is a fast-growing annual plant. It’s been around for thousands of years and highly valued since the Roman empire. Steam, roast, boil or eat broccoli raw.

Other types include broccolini and Chinese broccoli.

Brussel sprouts

brussel sprouts piled in a bowl on a wooden table | Brussel sprouts

Brussel sprouts have an undeserved reputation as an unpleasant vegetable. This is sometimes the case, particularly overcooked Brussel sprouts. Properly prepared Brussel sprouts are slightly sweet and nutty. Try pickled Brussels sprouts if you don’t like it cooked.Brussel sprouts have an undeserved reputation as an unpleasant vegetable. This is sometimes the case, particularly overcooked Brussel sprouts. Properly prepared Brussel sprouts are slightly sweet and nutty. Try pickled Brussels sprouts if you don’t like it cooked.

Cabbage

zoom in a big green cabbage | Cabbage

Cabbage is one of the oldest vegetables on record. Fermented cabbage dishes like kimchi and sauerkraut are full of probiotics.

Cauliflower

cauliflower sprouts on a cloth on a table | Cauliflower sprouts

Cauliflower is one of the most versatile cruciferous vegetables and comes in white, green, purple, and orange varieties. When roasted, cauliflower’s mild taste becomes nuttier and flavorful. Use it as a low-carb substitute for potatoes, rice, and pizza crust.

Collard greens

Collard greens leaves on a table | collard green

Collard greens have large, dark green leaves and a slightly bitter taste. Collard greens are tastier and more nutritious in cold months.

Kale

kale leaves in a plate on a table | Kale leaves veggie

Kale is one of the most popular health foods and for a good reason. Kale has been widely consumed for more than 2000 years, and ancient Greeks thought boiled kale might cure drunkenness. Raw kale is difficult to digest and can cause unpleasant symptoms for some.

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi turnips on a wooden table outside | Kolrabi

Kohlrabi is a weird-looking vegetable that ranges in color from pale green to purple-ish. The flavor is a mix between broccoli and radish. Smaller bulbs are more flavorful.

Radish, daikon radish, and horseradish

pile of radishes | radish pink veggie

Radish, daikon radish, and horseradish are cruciferous root vegetables. Freshness can influence the taste, which varies from mild to sharp or bitter. Add thinly sliced raw radish to salads. Roast or add daikon radish and horseradish to soups and stews. Other cruciferous root vegetables include turnips and rutabaga.

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Benefits

strong man and kid showing off their muscles | Cruciferous Vegetable Benefits

When it comes to health benefits, cruciferous vegetables are hard to beat. 

In terms of nutrients, these vegetables are impressive. They contain many essential vitamins and minerals. 

For eye, skin, and bone health, kale and collard greens contain the most vitamin A and K.  

Vitamins C, E, and folic acid support the immune system and protect cells from damage. Brussel sprouts and broccoli contain the highest amounts.

Other essential nutrients include iron, magnesium, zinc, and fiber. 

Phytochemicals are compounds that help protect against disease. And cruciferous vegetables have lots of them.  

One of these compounds, called glucosinolates, wards off viral, fungal, and bacterial infections. This sulfur-containing compound is anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory. It also contributes to the cancer-fighting properties of cruciferous vegetables.

These kinds of greens may benefit brain health because of sulforaphane. This powerful compound has antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties. Researchers also believe it has the potential for cognitive enhancement in Alzheimer’s disease. 

Cruciferous vegetables may prevent cardiovascular disease, oxidative stress, and type 2 diabetes.

Eating cruciferous vegetables have a positive effect on gut health too. Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and cabbage may help repair the intestinal walls. 

Digesting cruciferous vegetables creates new compounds, like Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) and indolocarbazole (ICZ). These compounds bind to receptors in the gut lining. This may improve the guts barrier function, promote microbial diversity, and reduce inflammation.

Researchers believe these compounds may prevent Crohn’s Disease, leaky gut, and bowel cancer.

**Some research suggests cruciferous vegetables may affect thyroid function. If you suffer from hyperthyroidism, Hashimoto’s Disease, or other thyroid problems, consult your doctor before consuming large quantities.

Cruciferous vegetable research still has a long way to go before we can truly understand how they work. Based on what we know so far, it’s a family of vegetables worth consuming daily. These vegetables are not only healthy but delicious and versatile too. Eat at least a cup of cruciferous vegetables every day to get the benefits of these powerful veggies.

What is your favorite way to prepare cruciferous vegetables? Tell us in the comments below!

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