Eat Your Vegetables

In a society where diets are brownie flavored shakes, “eat your vegetables” is boring, and a hard sell. It’s true, drinking a shake while driving is easier than eating brussels sprouts. But I’m sure that’s only part of the equation. We’ve become a society used to sweets and a quick fix. If our energy drags, we grab a protein bar, or a smoothie. The smoothie may have a banana and berries, but doubtful it has broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy or turnips. These are the cruciferous vegetables containing phytochemicals, which seem to have protective effects against some types of cancer.

Cruciferous vegetables look like flowers, and “headless cruciferous” are the dark green leafy vegetables, like kale, and collard greens. If you know someone who scratches their head—not out of quandary, but from dry skin, tell them to lay off the red wine, smoking and instead, add dark green leafy vegetables to their diet. They’ll notice a difference within a few days.

On the cancer front, a Shanghai study with a principal investigator of Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study, and a post-doctoral fellow at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, studied the role of cruciferous vegetables in 4,886 Chinese women with stage 1 to stage 4 breast cancer between 2002 and 2006. In short, the study replicates an earlier study done in U.S. The intake of cruciferous vegetables is much higher among Chinese women than U.S. women. Neither study seems to have definitive results, but both point to a healthy lifestyle making some difference. For further reading about the study:

The take-away from this post is not Chinese food—unless you make it at home with fresh vegetables, go easy on the soy sauce, and share your good fortune with those around you!

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2 thoughts on “Eat Your Vegetables

  1. This post has made me very hungry for some bok choy – great post, and good points too. Isn’t it strange that we don’t crave broccoli the way we crave things like sugar? One is healthy, the other not – and yet the body ‘alert system’ can’t pick up on the important difference! Really – why don’t we crave these sort of vegetables the same way we crave fat, salt and sweet?


    • Oh what fun if a group of friends or neighbors got together – each responsible for bringing an item to put in the meal: broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy or turnip etc. – and prepare it together. Here’s to your health!

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