6 Surprising Health Benefits Of Cruciferous Vegetables

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Eating cruciferous vegetables is one of the best ways to increase your fiber intake and boost your overall health.

What are Cruciferous Vegetables?

Cruciferous vegetables include all the vegetables of the Brassicaceae family, such as cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy, rutabaga cabbage, brussels sprouts, collard greens, watercress, kale, and similar leafy greens. The primary characteristics of cruciferous vegetables include impressive nutrient and vitamin concentrations, as well as high levels of glucosinolates and antioxidants. [1]

Cruciferous Vegetables Benefits

The many benefits of cruciferous vegetables include their ability to fight against the spread of cancer, optimize thyroid function, and aid in weight loss, among others.

A close-up shot of cruciferous vegetables

Eating cruciferous vegetables keep you fuller for a long time. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Anti-Cancer Compounds

Cruciferous vegetables have been linked to a lower risk of cancer, thanks to the isothiocyanates present in many of these foods, which can inhibit cancer growth in the case of lung and colorectal cancer. [2]

A 2016 study by the University of Alabama at Birmingham also advocates the ability of cruciferous vegetables to help in preventing cancer. [3]

Furthermore, the National Cancer Institute says that these vegetables can help protect your cells from DNA damage, induce apoptosis, and inhibit tumor progression. [4]

Thyroid Gland Health

If you suffer from hyperthyroidism, these vegetables do contain goitrogens, which will inhibit the intake of iodine by the body, which are necessary for the production (excess or otherwise) of thyroid hormone.


According to a 2016 meta-analysis report published in the Journal of Diabetes Investigation, consumption of fruits and vegetables, especially berries, green and yellow leafy vegetables as well as cruciferous vegetables, can be effective in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.  [5]

Weight Loss

These vegetables tend to be low in calories, but high in nutrients, which means you satisfy your body’s needs, without compromising your caloric goals, thus helping with weight loss. [6]

Chronic Inflammation

Research has found that the active ingredients in this family of vegetables can reduce the inflammatory response in the body, thus helping those who suffer from conditions like arthritis, gout, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and headaches, among others.

Estrogen Balance

One of the main ingredients in these vegetables is indole-3-carbinol, which can produce less potent forms of estrogen in the body, thus helping to normalize hormonal levels.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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