I think we all ought to spend more time with the Brassica family. But who makes this cancer fighting family of vegetables? None other than the Sir Broccoli, Mrs. Cauliflower, Monsieur Red Cabbage, Madame White Cabbage, Miss Kale, and I mustn't forget the wee Brussels Sprouts.
While most health advocates encourage a diet a high in fruits and vegetables, there are even more healthy eaters promote a diet that also includes an abundance of leafy greens for optimum health. Well, now the Brassica vegetables are getting a lot of attention as they are an entire family of veggies that prevent cancer. They contain phytochemicals that block metabolic pathways in the body linked in the development of cancer.
Another unique thing about this family is that they contain high amounts of calcium and iron. Kale and broccoli have the most calcium in the family (with kale having more calcium than cow's milk!). As for the iron, kale again dominates. Make sure to eat iron rich foods with some vitamin C foods in order to increase absorption (e.g. add red or green peppers (high in vitamin C) to a stir-fry with other Brassica vegetables).
In general, eating raw veggies is great; however this family of veggies can benefit from a bit of cooking as it breaks down their cell walls and helps to increase the phytochemicals and other nutrients. Lightly steaming or quickly stir-frying is best because boiling them can cause their water soluble vitamins to leak out and be washed away in the boiling water.
Of all of the Brassica vegetables, kale is my favorite. This is my go-to kale recipe, but you can also treat it like you would other salad greens. To maximize your disease fighting potential, try to eat kale, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cabbage, around three times a week.