10 Cruciferous Vegetables for Heart Health

by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN Health Professional

Cruciferous vegetables are nutrient-rich, providing dietary fiber, vitamins K, C, and E, folate, calcium, and potassium.Research indicates there may be a link between some of the nutrients and phytochemicals contained in cruciferous vegetables with reduced cancer risk and improved cardiovascular health.Here are 10 cruciferous vegetables to incorporate in your diet:


One cup of kale provides over 1,000 mcg of vitamin K. The fiber, potassium, folic acid, and vitamin C found in kale support heart health. Select dark, colored bunches of kale, avoiding yellow and brown leaves.

Recipe: 12 Ways to Serve Kale

Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts are a good source of dietary fiber, folate, and Vitamin E. The anti-inflammatory properties of brussels sprouts connected to glucoraphanin promote heart health. Camouflage the bitter flavor by roasting with a bit of maple syrup or sauté with a little oil.

Recipes: Brussells Sprouts Cooking Tips and Recipe Ideas

Mustard greens

Another cruciferous vegetable with a strong taste, sauté mustard greens with olive oil, garlic, and chicken broth. Mustard greens are a rich source of vitamins, A, C, and K. Mustard greens bind to bile acids in the intestines, removing them from the system and causing the body to utilize the existing cholesterol supply to replace lost bile acids.


Microwave or steam broccoli instead of boiling it to reduce nutrient losses. You can consume both the stalks and the florets. Broccoli is a rich source of the enzyme sulforaphane, which is involved in liver detoxification and three B vitamins (B6, B12, and folate) that reduce homocysteine levels.

Recipes: Broccoli Cooking Tips and Recipe Ideas


A good source of vitamins C and K, consume cabbage raw, cooked, or fermented. Fermented cabbage, such as sauerkraut, provides additional probiotic benefits.

Recipes: 8 Recipe Ideas for Cabbage


Add raw radishes to salads, sandwiches, and vegetable platters for added vitamin C, phosphorus, and zinc. Radishes can also be roasted and/or added to stews and soups.


Cauliflower is a rich source of fiber, vitamin C, and folate. Boiling cauliflower results in significant phytonutrient loss. Instead, consume cauliflower raw, sautéed, or steamed for the greatest nutrient “bang.” Research shows cholesterol-lowering properties of cabbage are increased when steamed.

Recipes: 8 Recipes Ideas for Cauliflower


Both mature and “baby” forms of arugula have a peppery taste. While most commonly consumed in salads, arugula also can be sautéed. This is a very low calorie vegetable, providing vitamins A, C, and K, folic acid, potassium, calcium.


Low in calories, kohlrabi provides B vitamins, phosphorous, potassium, and calcium. Both bulbs and greens are edible. The bulbs can be consumed cooked or raw, while the greens are typically steamed or sautéed.

Bok choy

A great source of calcium and vitamins A, C, and K, both the leaves and stalks of bok choy are edible. Bok choy is most commonly consumed in stir fries and soups, but consider adding the more tender “baby” bok choy to salads for a fresh, crunchy texture.

Tips as you add cruciferous vegetables to your diet…

  • Avoid overcooking
  • Incorporate in veggie trays
  • Use to “beef up” salads
  • Easily add chopped cruciferous vegetables to soups and stews
Lisa Nelson, RD, LN
Meet Our Writer
Lisa Nelson, RD, LN

Lisa Nelson RD, a registered dietitian since 1999, provides step-by-step guidance to lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure, so you can live life and enjoy your family for years to come. Lisa's passion for health comes from her own family history of heart disease, so she doesn't dispense trendy treatments; Lisa practices what she teaches in her own daily life. Because her own health is the foundation of her expertise, you can trust that Lisa will make it truly possible for you to see dramatic changes in your health, without unrealistic fads or impossibly difficult techniques.