10 Cruciferous Vegetables for Heart Healthby 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 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.
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.
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.
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