Most of us know the “War on Cancer” is a bad joke that churns revenue for the cancer industry while per capita cancer rates continue to surge. Based on the premise that food should be our first medicine, the cruciferous family of vegetables is the food choice for resisting cancer.
Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, turnips, rutabaga, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, and watercress.
They all contain glucosinolates, antioxidant compounds that contain sulfur, which have attracted the interest of medical researchers’ attempting to determine what makes this class of vegetables resist cancer and promote cardiovascular health.
Tracking the cruciferous cancer fighting compounds
Sulforaphane Glucosinolate (SGS) was isolated in 1992 by doctors Paul Talalay and Jed Fahey of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University has also analyzed the phytochemical chain of events that produce isothiocyanates from glucosinolates, one of which is sulforaphane.
Sulforaphane is the active compound that directly eliminates carcinogens from the body and provides a protein that inhibits tumor growth. The process that produces sulforaphane is activated by an enzyme group in cruciferous veggies known as myrosinase.
Myrosinase is released upon biting or chewing a raw cruciferous. Just like all other enzymes, boiling or heating will destroy myrosinase.
Preparing and consuming cruciferous veggies
It’s obvious that the less they are cooked, the better your chances are of receiving cancer preventative nutrition from cruciferous veggies. Broccoli and cauliflower can be steamed lightly enough to retain crunchiness and enough of the enzyme myrosinase. Simply putting raw pieces of them on salads would be ideal.
But if your gut flora is stacked well with probiotic bacteria, there’s a good chance that they will jump in to help convert glucosinolates into sulforaphane even if the myrosinase enzymes are damaged. You can get the best of both worlds by fermenting cruciferous veggies.
If you’re not familiar with fermenting vegetables, you can order a starter culture on line to help out (http://bodyecology.com/).
Many cruciferous veggies are juice-able, especially with a slow speed masticating juicer that doesn’t heat or shear the enzymes out of whatever is juiced.
Kale, mustard greens, and kohlrabi are easy to juice. Mixing any of those with carrots and apple pieces or adding coriander leaf (cilantro) boost cancer protection even more.
Additional health benefits
Adding cilantro (coriander) leaf to cruciferous juicing or coriander seeds to stir fried or steamed cruciferous veggies, adds another cancer fighting dimension. Dr. Yoshiaki Omura has observed all cancer cells have mercury in them (http://blog.imva.info/).
Dr. Omura has also observed that cilantro removes heavy metals, including mercury, from the body within two weeks of using it daily. Cilantro or coriander can be taken with cruciferous veggies every day of those two weeks. It’s easy to add to your daily juicing routines.
Another spice, cumin or cumin seeds, has also demonstrated liver and stomach cancer prevention with animals in addition to its ability to aid digestion.
Getting back to cruciferous vegetables’ sulforaphane, University of Michigan scientists have determined that sulforaphane attacks cancer stem cells without harming healthy cells.
Ironically, it was a Michigan University medical researcher, Dr. Max Wicha, who announced a few years ago to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that cancer reoccurs and spreads from chemotherapy because cancer stem cells remain intact (http://www.post-gazette.com).
Cumin and coriander seeds or leaves (cilantro) can be mixed and matched with a variety of organic cruciferous dishes or juices to satisfy a discriminating palate while serving to protect you from cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Stage your personal war on cancer from the kitchen.
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