Power of Cruciferous Superfoods

What are cruciferous vegetables?
They consist of broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale, cabbage, arugula, collard greens, daikon, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, mizuna, mustard greens, radishes, rutabaga, turnips, wasabi, watercress, and bok choy. Each contains phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and fiber.  Some are more medicinal than others.

Why choose cruciferous vegetables?
The health agencies recommend that we eat several servings per week of cruciferous vegetables and for a variety of reasons.  They contain antioxidants and they also activate our cells antioxidants. Cruciferous vegetables are known for their anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

Let me introduce some diagrams and tables:

Nutritional compositions for some seed and leafy plants



  • Nutritional compositions for some seed and leafy plantsa.

  • Seed                                                    Leaf                            

  • Wheat Corn   Rice    Soy      Lentil Kale    Spinach          Duck-weed    


  • Vitamin A, IU (beta-carotene) 9          167     0          114     68       130,000         85,500            77,900            

  • Vitamin B1, mg (thiamine) 4       0.2       0.2       0.6       0.6       0.9       0.9       1.1       

  • Vitamin B2, mg (riboflavin) 2 0.1       0          1.1       1.3       0.9       1.8       2.8       

  • Vitamin B5, mg (pantothenate) 1          5       1.5       1.5       0.4       0.9       0.9       2.1       

  • Vitamin B6, mg (pyridoxal) 3 0.3       0.8       0.5       0.5       2.5       1.8       1          

  • Vitamin C, mg (ascorbic acid) 0          0          0          0          2          1014   256     94       

  • Vitamin E, mg (tocopherols) 8       0.3       0.2       1.8       –          9.3       18.2    45.7    

  • Vitamin K1, μg (phylloquinone) 9       0.2       0          67       –          6900   4400   51       


  • Calcium, mg 34       4       10       195     34       846     1036   607     

  • Iron, mg 8       2.2       0.4       6          6.4       8.3       28.4    25.7    

  • Magnesium, mg 120     85       36       407     46       265     827     231     

  • Phosphorus, mg 332     250     100     469     276     519     513     1741   

  • Potassium, mg 405     289     78       2387   664     2769   5840   5319   

  • Sodium, mg 1       4.6       0          12.3    5.9       214     827     132     

  • Zinc, mg 3          6       0.8       3.7       3.2       3.2       5.5       15       


  • ω-6/ω-3 4    32.2    4.7       7.5       3.7       0.8       0.2       0.3      

I am sure; you have noticed the amazing nutrient density of kale in terms of Vit C, E, K1, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. And all of the above micronutrients are “organic” in terms of bioavailability ad bioabsorption.
Our cells recognize them and welcome all these nutrients with “open arms”!

Let’s get a bit more scientific:

Today, there are 1296 medical and scientific papers published on www.pubmed.gov

(US National library of Medicine, National institutes of health).

Cruciferous vegetables are unique because they are rich in sulfur containing compounds called glucosinolates which support detoxification and indole-3-carbinol which greatly reduces the risk of breast, colon and lung cancer.

Broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts are known for sulphoraphane an

active isothiocyanate.

Sulforaphane is an antioxidant, has an anti-inflammatory potency and is a stimulator of natural detoxifying enzymes. Sulforaphane may reduce the risk of breast, bladder and prostate cancer.

Sources of sulforaphane and/or glucoraphanin include:

  • Broccoli (44-171mg/100g dry weight)

  • Broccoli sprouts (1153mg/100g dry weight)

Epidemiological studies show that people who eat a lot of cruciferous vegetables have reduced incidences of cancer. In-vitro and animals studies have confirmed the anti-cancer effects and have demonstrated that this phytochemical reduces the frequency, size, and number of tumors. The antioxidant action of sulforaphane helps to fight high blood pressure. A study by the Tokyo University of Agriculture has shown that persons who eat about 100 g of broccoli sprouts daily during one week had reduces levels of cholesterol.

“Dreaded” Brussels Sprouts are one of my most favorite foods in the world:

As an anti-inflammatory agent, sulforaphane disrupts the inflammatory pathway by preventing NF-kB (an inflammatory transcription factor) from translocating to the nucleus, to activate pro-inflammatory genes.
Sulforaphane is also an NRF2 (nuclear respiratory factor 2) activator. NRF2 is a nuclear transcription factor. Activating NRF2, sulforaphane stimulates “survivor genes”, such as tumor-suppressor genes, anti-inflammatory genes and genes that stimulate the synthesis of cellular antioxidants.

Kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli sprouts are true super foods and they are available all year around. Surprisingly, we can grow our own broccoli spouts on the kitchen table.

I would like to include some abstracts in regards to the medicinal benefits of sulforaphane.

CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2016;15(5):597-601.

  • Sulforaphane Treatment of Young Men with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

  • Singh K, Zimmerman AW1.

  • Author information

  • Abstract

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) comprises a heterogeneous group of neurodevelopmental disorders that begin in early childhood. They are characterized by differences in behavior and delays in communication and affect at least 1% of children. Observational studies have now confirmed that behaviors of a substantial percentage of children with autism tend to improve with the onset of febrile illness, which might be the downstream effects of altered metabolic pathways involving increased expression of heat shock proteins (HSP) and cellular stress responses. Sulforaphane, a phytochemical derived from a number of cruciferous vegetables, most notably broccoli sprouts, has metabolic effects that in some ways resemble that of fever. This review paper discusses this “fever effect” and the intracellular effects of sulforaphane as well as the results of our recent clinical trial of sulforaphane in young adults with autism. The accompanying review by Liu et al. describes the cellular actions of sulforaphane and potential biomarkers in the study of ASD.

Clin Cancer Res. 2010 May 1;16(9):2580-90. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-09-2937. Epub 2010 Apr 13.

  • Sulforaphane, a dietary component of broccoli/broccoli sprouts, inhibits breast cancer stem cells.

  • Li Y1, Zhang T, Korkaya H, Liu S, Lee HF, Newman B, Yu Y, Clouthier SG, Schwartz SJ, Wicha MS, Sun D.

  • Author information

  • Abstract


  • The existence of cancer stem cells (CSCs) in breast cancer has profound implications for cancer prevention. In this study, we evaluated sulforaphane, a natural compound derived from broccoli/broccoli sprouts, for its efficacy to inhibit breast CSCs and its potential mechanism.


  • Aldefluor assay and mammosphere formation assay were used to evaluate the effect of sulforaphane on breast CSCs in vitro. A nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient xenograft model was used to determine whether sulforaphane could target breast CSCs in vivo, as assessed by Aldefluor assay, and tumor growth upon cell reimplantation in secondary mice. The potential mechanism was investigated using Western blotting analysis and beta-catenin reporter assay.


  • Sulforaphane (1-5 micromol/L) decreased aldehyde dehydrogenase-positive cell population by 65% to 80% in human breast cancer cells (P < 0.01) and reduced the size and number of primary mammospheres by 8- to 125-fold and 45% to 75% (P < 0.01), respectively. Daily injection with 50 mg/kg sulforaphane for 2 weeks reduced aldehyde dehydrogenase-positive cells by >50% in nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient xenograft tumors (P = 0.003). Sulforaphane eliminated breast CSCs in vivo, thereby abrogating tumor growth after the reimplantation of primary tumor cells into the secondary mice (P < 0.01). Western blotting analysis and beta-catenin reporter assay showed that sulforaphane downregulated the Wnt/beta-catenin self-renewal pathway.


  • Sulforaphane inhibits breast CSCs and downregulates the Wnt/beta-catenin self-renewal pathway. These findings support the use of sulforaphane for the chemoprevention of breast cancer stem cells and warrant further clinical evaluation.

For further resources, click here.

In conclusion, I believe that our food should only contain nutrient dense foods with daily consumption of any of cruciferous vegetables. But, let me remind you one more time that cruciferous vegetables must be chopped, crushed or chewed well for the maximum health and medical benefits.

Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, rutabaga, turnips are the yummiest, healthiest and delicious foods that brighten our daily meals.

Let’s thrive to health. Let’s thrive to happiness.

Love, laugh, live and GIVE.

From my heart to yours.