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Your resource of health knowledge, tips and facts for a healthier lifestyle

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What Are Cruciferous Vegetables and Why They Should Be in Your Diet

Cruciferous vegetables showing kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts

A huge component of living a healthy lifestyle is food and nutrition. There is one particular food group that is often overlooked yet incredibly important for our health: cruciferous vegetables. A delicious option, cruciferous vegetables play a vital role in the overall scope of your health. 

If you’re wondering why this nutrient-rich food group should be on your radar, we’ve got your back. Here’s what you need to know!

What are Cruciferous Vegetables? – The Essentials

So, what are cruciferous vegetables? These powerhouse veggies are part of the Brassica family of plants. Generally, they’re easily recognizable, usually veggies with cross-shaped flowers and four petals. 

They are delicious and have tons of nutritional properties you don’t want to miss out on. Not only that, but there are many ways to prepare and enjoy these veggies. Some powerful components of cruciferous vegetables include:

  • Fiber
  • Vitamin C, E, and K
  • Minerals
  • Multiple carotenoids, which are an antioxidant and provitamin 
  • Folate, which is a nutrient that helps to produce red blood cells

From boosting your immune system to reducing your risk of cancer, these veggies have much to offer. Not to mention, they contain potent compounds that have been shown to assist in preventing chronic disease. 

If you’re ready to live a healthier life and improve your overall well-being, keep these vegetables in your diet!

Do Cruciferous Veggies Lower the Risk of Cancer? – The Details

Perhaps most pertinently, consuming cruciferous veggies has been shown to be a way to reduce cancer risk. This is because they contain glucosinolates, which are natural compounds found in cruciferous vegetables. Glucosinolates have many health benefits, such as:

  • Anti-inflammatory aid
  • Anti-microbial properties
  • Protect cells from D.N.A. damage
  • Lowered stress responses
  • Antioxidant activity 
  • Detoxification support

Eating a glucosinolate-rich diet will surely help increase your body’s balance and overall health. Researchers have also studied the link between consuming these vegetables and lowering cancer risk. 

Four key studies were done regarding four common types of cancer: prostate, colorectal, lung, and breast. Overall, it was found that people who ate higher amounts of cruciferous vegetables have a reduced risk of cancer. What’s not to love about that?

Find Your Favorite Cruciferous Vegetable

Incorporating at least one cruciferous vegetable into your diet is a surefire way to boost your health. There are so many cruciferous veggies to choose from, such as:

  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Turnips
  • Cauliflower 
  • Arugula
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Collard greens
  • Bok choy
  • Radishes
  • Watercress
  • Cabbage

Incorporating cruciferous vegetables into your daily meals can be a fun way to add nutrient-rich variety to your diet. Here are five ideas to get you started!

Roasted Veggies

Choose some of your favorite veggies – like broccoli or cauliflower – and cut them into small pieces. Toss them with salt, pepper, and olive oil to roast them in the oven. 

Pro tip: add garlic, herbs, lemon juice, and other seasonings for added flavor!


Not everyone loves the taste of cruciferous vegetables – they can be bitter to some – but that’s okay! Try adding them to a smoothie instead. Kale, especially, is a classic addition to any smoothie. Blend it with your favorite fruits and liquids, and add some protein powder or nut butter for an added boost.


Cruciferous vegetables are a perfect addition to any salad. Massage your kale, toss your arugula, or add your veggies by chopping them into bite-sized pieces. Mix with other fruits, nuts, seeds, and flavorful dressing. 


A stir-fry dinner is a quick and simple way to cook these veggies. Add them to your wok or skillet with some oil! Pair them with protein, grains, noodles, and sauce for a complete dish.


A warm, nourishing meal like soup can always benefit from added vegetables. Chop them into smaller pieces and add them to your broth, along with other veggies, grains, or beans. Add some spices and herbs, and you’ll be set for a comforting meal!

Ready for Nutrition Support?

Whether or not you’re new to cruciferous veggies, having some support on your health journey is the key to success. Here at Z.E.N. Foods, we believe that food is medicine, and we’re here to support your journey. If you’re not sure where to begin, we have high-quality meal delivery plans that can get you on the right track.
Get started today!

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