Fill Up on These Disease Fighters!

Fill Up on These Disease Fighters!

Fill Up on These Disease Fighters!

Brassicas are one of my favorite groups of vegetables, and they’re perfect for a hearty comfort-food meal this Fall!  These brilliant foods rank as the healthiest vegetables around. Brassicas are also known as cruciferous vegetables and they belong to the Brassicaceae family, more commonly known as the cabbage family.  While they’re chock-full of excellent vitamins and minerals, it’s their sulfur-rich phytonutrients that pack the biggest disease-fighting punch! 

While it may seem like a great idea to get these foods into our everyday diet, many people struggle with what exactly to do with them.  The brassicas are full of robust flavor that can be paired nicely with other foods. Here’s a quick breakdown of the various flavor categories of brassicas:

Mild flavor:  Includes brassicas like Bok Choy, Cauliflower, Napa Cabbage and Rutabaga

Stronger flavor:  Broccoli & Broccolini, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Collard greens and Kale

Peppery flavor:  Arugula, Radishes, Turnips and Watercress

Pungent flavor:  Horseradish, Wasabi and Mustard greens and seeds

BALANCING FLAVOR:

  1. To balance and soften the flavor of brassicas you may add beans, potatoes, rice or pasta to the vegetable.
  2. To smooth aggressive flavors you can add a form of dairy to your brassicas:  goat cheese, butter, yogurt, sour cream and cheese.
  3. To add a hint of sweetness you may add a small amount of honey, caramelized onions, fresh fruit, coconut or balsamic vinegar. 

Basic brassica pairings always include olive oil, garlic and sea salt.  You can use these three ingredients and make nearly any brassica taste delicious!  One of my favorite ways to enjoy kale,broccoli, brussels sprouts and broccolini is to toss the vegetables in these simple ingredients and roast in the oven.  It creates a sweet, caramelized flavor and the hearty plant will keep you satiated for a long while!  

Brassicas are essential to our diet because they provide anticarcinogenic (anticancer) and anti-inflammatory benefits.  They also promote liver detoxification which is necessary for optimal health and well-being. These vegetables care for our body at the cellular level, which is the foundation of health in the body.

Special consideration:  Some brassicas contain a high amount of vitamin K which can be challenging for any person on blood thinning prescription drugs such as Warfarin.  If this applies to you, be sure to speak with your physician about your dosage and how you may incorporate brassicas into your daily diet. The health benefits of the brassicas are amazing and with proper care you should be able to enjoy these foods while maintaining a consistent level of Vitamin K for your body’s needs.  

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