Introduction and description
Brassicas are a type or class of vegetables, the correct family name being Brassicaceae. The family takes its alternate name - Cruciferae, New Latin for "cross-bearing" - from the shape of their flowers, whose four petals resemble a cross. They include plants like:
- Mustard greens
- Collard greens
- Cabbage – including speciality cabbages like bok choy and chinese cabbage
- Brussels sprouts
The links take you to a description of each plant and a lot more detail of their medicinal value and how you can use them.
All these plants are delicious, and are as a consequence used extensively in cooking. They have been cultivated for centuries and are often the staple of allotments and vegetable gardens. According to Wikipedia “ Cruciferous vegetables are one of the dominant food crops worldwide. Widely considered to be healthy foods, they are high in vitamin C and soluble fiber and contain multiple nutrients and phytochemicals”.
And there are many healing properties that brassicas possess.
Brassicaceae contain a number of hepato-protective agents. Alliaceous and cruciferous vegetable consumption induces glutathione S-transferases, uridine diphosphate-glucuronosyl transferases, and quinone reductases all of which participate in detoxification of carcinogens such as aflatoxin.
Iso-thio-cyanates are an important factor in the action of some brassicas such as wasabi against Helicobacter Pylori, so they have an antibiotic capability. Sulforaphane demonstrates anti-inflammatory effects on Helicobacter pylori-infected gastric mucosae in mice and human subjects.
It is worth adding that Chemicals contained in cruciferous vegetables 'induce the expression of the liver enzyme CYP1A2'. Theophylline and Xanthine are metabolized by CYP1A2. Consequently consumption of cruciferous vegetable may decrease the effects of this chemical. This may not sound a very positive statement, but put very very simply if you wish to gorge on chocolate you need to eat your greens, because cocoa beans contain theophylline.
Lightly boil, stir fry in butter or olive oil, steam or eat raw in salads.
How it works
All these have healing capabilities and the mechanisms are explained in the observations from PubMed.
Easily grown and hardy
All brassicas taste much sweeter and nicer when they are freshly picked and although supermarkets do their best, shop bought brassicas somehow do not taste as good as freshly gathered ones.
They do make you fart, but as the old adage goes:
"brassicas are good for the heart, the more you eat the more you fart, the more you fart the better you feel, brassicas for every meal".
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