December’s Super Food: Enjoy Cruciferous Vegetables!

Cruciferous or Brassica vegetables come from plants in the Cruciferae or Brassicaceae family. Cruciferous vegetables consist of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, bok choy and kale. They get their name from their four petal flowers which look like a crucifer or cross.

Cruciferous vegetables may protect against some types of cancer including cancer of the mouth, larynx, pharynx, esophagus and stomach. Cruciferous vegetables combine a variety of nutrients including beta-carotene, fiber, vitamin C, calcium, iron and folate.

Brussel sprouts are one cruciferous vegetable that has gained recent popularity. They are one of the few vegetables that originated in Northern Europe. Today most Brussel sprouts are grown in California. Cauliflower is an unassuming cruciferous vegetable that provides the entire day’s vitamin C in just one cup. Cabbage is one of the oldest vegetables. There are at least 100 types but red, green and savoy varieties are the most popular types in the United States.

Keep your cruciferous vegetables flavorful by eating them as soon as you purchase, cook briefly until tender and crisp and do not keep leftovers for more than 1 day.