Cabbage Family Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage (all members of the Brassica family, also termed “cruciferous vegetables”), have a number of important detoxifying compounds in them.

One is called sulforifane, also known as sulforaphane glucosinolate (SGS) or just glucoraphanin. It induces a range of detoxifying enzymes. Another compound, called indole-carbinol, works synergistically with tamoxifen in fighting breast cancer. Indole-3-carbinol is the only compound known that shifts the type of estrogen that predisposes one to cancer (16-hydroxy-estrone) to the 2-hydroxy-estrone which is a biologically less powerful estrogen metabolite. A number of studies in animals and humans show this effect is readily demonstrable by eating broccoli.

These vegetables also contain diindolylmethane, a much more powerful phytochemical which is actually just two indole-3-carbinol molecules attached chemically to each other. It is perhaps 10 times more effective. Extracts from these vegetables, such as diindolylmethane can be taken supplementally, allowing a therapeutic dose to be achieved without consuming large amounts of the vegetable. The amount of active ingredients in brocolli, for example, is unpredictable based of freshness or whether it is grown organically or not. Sprouting brocolli seed can reliably produce 50 times the amount of active ingredient by weight as the vegetable.

These agents seem to stimulate the production of protective enzymes such as glutathione that detoxify carcinogens.

For those who don’t love the taste of broccoli – or fear you might come to despise it if you eat as much as you might need to reap these health benefits – there’s a new, more palatable option for getting the broccoli you need. Now you can get your dose of broccoli in your morning cup of tea. It’s called Brassica Tea, and it starts out with regular black, green, or oolong tea leaves, but the natural SGS extract found in broccoli is added to the tea in a dried powder form. No need to worry about potential broccoli or vegetable flavor: It tastes like regular tea, just that much better for you


Cabbage Family Vegetables can help with the following



Researchers put broccoli sprouts to the test and found that they contain high levels of glucoraphanin, also known as sulforaphane glucosinolate (SGS). In addition to being a cancer preventative, SGS boosts production of Phase 2 enzymes, which are part of the body’s antioxidant system. This extra boost lowers blood pressure and the body’s inflammatory response, leading to better cardiovascular health overall. Just 5 grams of broccoli sprouts contain concentrations of SGS equal to that found in 150 grams of mature broccoli.


Cancer / Risk - General Measures

Cruciferous vegetables will reduce the risk of cancer in smokers, and most likely non-smokers as well.



Increased Risk of Colon Cancer

Vegetables from the cabbage family (cruciferous vegetables) may reduce the risk of colon cancer. [The National Cancer Institute booklet, “Diet, Nutrition, & Cancer Prevention: A Guide to Food Choices”]


Increased Risk of Lung Cancer

Chemicals found in broccoli, cabbage, bok choy and other cruciferous (cabbage family) vegetables may protect against lung cancer, according to a new study conducted jointly with US and Chinese researchers. Although the chemicals did lower cancer risk by 36% in this study, smoking alone increases lung cancer risk by as much as 10 times.


May do some good
Likely to help



Specific protein catalysts produced by the cells that are crucial in chemical reactions and in building up or synthesizing most compounds in the body. Each enzyme performs a specific function without itself being consumed. For example, the digestive enzyme amylase acts on carbohydrates in foods to break them down.


Refers to the various types of malignant neoplasms that contain cells growing out of control and invading adjacent tissues, which may metastasize to distant tissues.


One of the female sex hormones produced by the ovaries.


Any product (foodstuff, intermediate, waste product) of metabolism.


Substances that occur naturally in plants and have been shown in research to possibly prevent or cure disease.


A natural sulfur-bearing peptide formed from the linking of three amino acids: glutamic acid, cysteine and glycine. Glutathione acts as an antioxidant and detoxicant and is involved with the selenium-containing enzyme glutathione peroxidase. Glutathione is also involved in amino acid transport across cell membranes.

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