By Bright Krinsky
We are currently in a renaissance of mainstream awareness of nutrition and healthy eating. Ultimately, this is a very positive and exciting thing, but it can also be quite confusing and difficult to navigate through all the information and different, sometimes opposing, dietary theories.
For example, you could read one study touting the health benefits of Greek yogurt and then another demonizing dairy. Or some say you should eat an all-raw diet. But no, according to my Ayurvedic Dosha, I should eat all cooked foods. You could go vegan, or paleo. Eat a plant-based diet, but avoid lectins, legumes and night shades. Eat a low carbohydrate, high-fat ketogenic diet. But no, fat and cholesterol causes heart disease, etc.
The one thing that almost all dietary theories do agree on though is, eat your vegetables, specifically cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, Brussel sprouts, collard greens, cauliflower, arugula, bok choy, cabbage, daikon, horseradish, wasabi, radish greens, rutabaga, turnip greens and water crest. Asparagus is not in the same family but I would put it in the same category, as well as spinach.
Cruciferous vegetables are extremely healthy. They are full of fiber. A high-fiber diet is strongly associated with good health, and vice versa. Fiber is important for heart health, is great for your digestion and important for healthy bowel movements.
Cruciferous vegetables are Alkalizing. An alkaline body is associated with good health, and an acidic body is associated with inflammation and disease.
Cruciferous vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, sulfur and antioxidants, including the amazing anti-carcinogenic (anti-cancer compound) sulforaphane. Hundreds of scientific studies have shown the significant health benefits of cruciferous vegetables high in sulforaphane, especially broccoli sprouts.
Sulforaphane has been shown to have anti-cancer benefits, to act as cardioprotection (heart health), depression relief, pain relief, to lower blood pressure, to help as insulin resistance support for those with type 2 diabetes, as cognitive enhancement for those suffering with Alzheimer’s, to promote anti-inflammatory benefits, and to combat Helicobacter pylori infection (bacteria that causes stomach ulcers).
Sulforaphane protects against and helps support the elimination of toxins such as arsenic and chemicals from pesticides. This is huge because many of the chemicals we are regularly exposed to in our environment are actually endocrine disruptors, which disrupt our hormones and can have a huge effect on our health.
Sulforaphane has even been shown to help treat autism.
Generally speaking, lightly cooked vegetables are easier to digest and are more nutritious than raw vegetables. Whenever possible, choose local, organic vegetables that have been grown in natural rich soil.
Here on Kauai there are quite a few good natural food stores. Also there are lots of great farmers markets where you can find organic produce for much cheaper than the grocery store. And you will be supporting the local farm community, which is always a win-win. We also have a great climate for gardening and growing our own vegetables if you have the time.
If you are on a tight budget, I recommend going online and looking up the dirty dozen and the clean 15 list. This will give you a good guideline for which fruits and vegetables are most important to get organic, and which ones you can maybe get away with going conventional to save some cash.
Weather sulforaphane is the wonder compound thought to be, or it is the synergy of multiple compounds, cruciferous vegetables are extremely good for you and you should eat them regularly.
Eating plenty of dark, leafy green and cruciferous vegetables should be the cornerstone of any healthy diet no matter what dietary philosophy you are following
So, eat your vegetables! Get vitalized!
- Bright Krinsky is a certified Health Coach specializing in weight loss, Metabolic Syndrome, Pre-Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes. Visit brighthealthcoach.com to learn more.