Cruciferous Vegetables (Indoles)

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.
IsoflavonesIsoflavones 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 SupplementationI 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.

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Updated on : 2/19/2012 6:18:52 PM
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