|Cruciferous vegetables include cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, and
Brussels sprouts. The word cruciferous refers to a cross-shaped pattern
found on the underside of the central stalk or core of these vegetables.
Consuming cruciferous vegetables has been associated with a
decreased risk of colon, breast and prostate cancer. The specific
compounds in these vegetables that are thought to be of value are
indoles. Indoles belong to a class of phytonutrients which have been
scientifically shown to benefit the body in a number of important ways.
Like so many other nutrients, ancient physicians were well aware of the
remarkable curative power of the indoles found in certain vegetables.
Two thousand years ago, Roman practitioners prescribed cabbage
leaves to cure an ulcerated breast. Today, science has confirmed that
certain phytochemicals contained in cabbage are considered breast
cancer preventative agents. Indole-3 carbinol can actually help
decrease C16 estrogen and increase C2 estrogen, which is believed to
decrease a woman's risk of getting breast cancer. Indole-3 carbinol also
assists in detoxifying human tissues, promotes hormone balance, and
provides excellent cellular nourishment.
|Isoflavones||Isoflavones found in some cruciferous vegetables have some
extraordinary health benefits. In particular, they have the ability to act
as a phytoestrogens to protect against the development of hormonally
linked cancers. One specific isoflavone called genistein actually acts to
reduce the growth of breast cells. A 1993 study demonstrated its
ability to limit blood supply to tumors. These are impressive credentials
and more than adequately support the use of phytonutrients in
supplement form. The nutritional and antioxidant properties of indoles
greatly contribute to sustained health and cellular nourishment.
|The Case for Cruciferous Supplementation||I have found that even patients who are convinced of the necessity of
increasing their intake of cruciferous vegetables frequently find it
difficult to consistently eat these foods. While I admit that initially I
was not particularly enthusiastic about the notion of vegetables in a
capsule, I believe that cruciferous supplements can be valuable for
people who fail to eat enough of these vital, health-promoting foods.
Ideally, vegetables of all varieties should be consumed in their whole
state, either raw or slightly steamed. However, vegetable supplements
in the form of capsules or green foods offered as powders or in tablets
are certainly worth taking.|