It’s no secret that we should be eating our veggies, but what makes certain vegetables dawn the title of super foods? Broccoli, brussels sprouts, and kale have gotten a lot of attention lately, but what makes them so special in the vegetable world? These vegetables, along with cauliflower, cabbage, arugula, bok choy, and radishes, are from the cruciferous group of vegetables and are packed full of nutrients and inflammation-fighting powers! The name “Cruciferous” comes from the Latin Cruciferae, meaning “cross bearing,” because the four petals resemble a cross. In addition to the high fiber content that will keep you feeling full longer and keep your digestive system working properly, most cruciferous vegetables are high in nutrients such as folate and vitamin K, and the dark green vegetables of this group also contain high amounts of vitamins A and C.

More importantly, these cruciferous veggies are unique because they contain sulfur-producing Glucosinolates, which are plant-based compounds that have been shown to have cancer-fighting properties, reduce inflammation, control blood sugar, promote weight loss, and enhance heart health. So it turns out, eating your vegetables can do a lot more than just provide a low-calorie diet and important nutrients. Incorporating these cruciferous vegetables into your diet can have some wonderful benefits to your overall health and wellness!
Adults need at least 2 ½ servings per day. One cup of cooked vegetables or two cups of raw leafy vegetables are equal to one serving. The more you eat, the more of the nutrient-packed, anti-inflammatory benefits of these amazing and delicious vegetables you will see!

Looking to add more cruciferous veggies to your diet? Kale and arugula make great bases for a summer salad. Broccoli and brussels sprouts are a delicious side dish for a cookout. Just take note, when increasing your fiber intake, it’s always best to do so slowly and make sure to increase your water intake as well (your stomach will thank you!). Check out some of our favorite recipes!

Kale, Apple, and Feta Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale
  • kosher Large pinch salt
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Prepare kale: rinse, remove stems and chop into strips. Place in a bowl. Sprinkle with a large pinch of kosher salt. Massage salt into the kale for 3-5 minutes. The kale will appear darker in color and slightly wilted when you are done. (Massaging kale in this manner will decrease the bitterness.)
  2. Combine kale with remaining ingredients: chopped apple, chopped red onion, walnuts, and feta cheese.
  3. Prepare dressing. Combine: olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice. Toss over salad.
  4. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Garlic Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs Broccoli
  • 4 Garlic cloves (peeled and thinly sliced)
  • 2 tsp Lemon, zest
  • 2 tbsp Lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 6 ½ tbsp Olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Wash and thoroughly dry the broccoli.
  3. Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart.
  4. Place the broccoli florets on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Peel and thinly slice the garlic. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 5 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper.
  5. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.
  6. Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, and Parmesan. Serve hot.
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