Which vegetables help reduce our risk of cancer?
Some types of vegetables are better than others at helping with cancer prevention. Whilst lycopene (mostly in tomatoes) is well known to help with prostate cancer risk, cruciferous vegetables contain a number of biologically active compounds which the research shows significantly helps with inhibiting the development of cancer.
What are cruciferous vegetables? This includes broccoli, kale, rocket, bok choy, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collard greens, radish, turnip and watercress. These vegetables contain the carotenoids beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, fiber, vitamins C, E, K and folate, and most importantly, some compounds known as glucosinolates. These glucosinolates contain sulphur, which is responsible for the bitter flavour of this vegetable family. As the vegetable is digested, biologically active compounds are formed, and these compounds are the key ones which are examined for anti-cancer effects. Sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol are the two which have been researched the most.
How do they help?
- Protection from damage to DNA
- Reduce inflammation
- Induce cell death
- Inhibit tumour blood vessel formation and tumour cell migration (which is needed for the cancer to spread)
- Inactivate carcinogens
- Antiviral and antibacterial effects
But, how do we include these vegetables in our diets? Find out now!
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