Brassica vegetables like kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage are some of the most nutrient-rich vegetables you can enjoy. Also called cruciferous vegetables, brassicas are low in calories but rich in good-for-you Omega-3 fatty acids, which help lower blood pressure and reduce cardiovascular risk.
Here are six more health benefits of brassicas that will inspire you to grow a crop of your own:
This group of antioxidants — like the beta-carotene that our bodies convert into Vitamin A — are important for healthy skin and eyes, as well as your immune system. Broccoli has high levels of beta-carotene, while a cup of raw kale delivers more than twice the daily value of Vitamin A recommended by the FDA.
Also known as Vitamin B9, folate is essential for red and white blood cell growth and healthy cell function. It’s also vital for pregnant women, helping to reduce the risk of birth defects affecting the brain and spine. Brassicas are loaded with the vitamin: A half cup of cooked Brussels sprouts gives you 12% of your recommended daily value.
Another antioxidant, Vitamin C has been shown in studies to fight inflammation and reduce blood pressure. It may also help lower LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, and improve heart health. Both green and red cabbage are brimming with C, packing 54% and 85% of your daily recommended value, respectively, in just one cup of raw chopped leaves.
A cup of raw kale contains more than 600% of your recommended daily value of Vitamin K — which helps blood clot and aids in bone metabolism, leading to fewer osteoporosis-related fractures. Collard greens are another Vitamin K powerhouse.
Ever notice how full you feel after eating brassicas? That’s because the vegetables — especially cauliflower — are good sources of fiber, which keeps you satisfied for longer on fewer calories. Fiber is also important for the promotion of good gut bacteria.
Brassica vegetables are high in Vitamin E, which may boost brain health and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. It can also protect you from free radicals that cause cellular damage. Turnip greens are a ripe source of Vitamin E, giving you 10% of the recommended daily value per cup.
Shop brassica vegetables at Burpee and start cultivating the ingredients of nutritious homegrown meals.