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Cruciferous vegetables are vegetables of the family Brassicaceae (also called Cruciferae). These vegetables are widely cultivated, with many genera, species, and cultivars being raised for food production such as cauliflower, cabbage, cress, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts and similar green leaf vegetables. The family takes its alternate name (Cruciferae, New Latin for "cross-bearing") from the shape of their flowers, whose four petals resemble a cross.
Ten of the most common cruciferous vegetables eaten by people, known colloquially as cole crops, are in a single species (B. oleracea); they are not distinguished from one another taxonomically, only by horticultural category of cultivar groups. Numerous other genera and species in the family are also edible. Cruciferous vegetables are one of the dominant food crops worldwide. They are high in vitamin C and soluble fiber and contain multiple nutrients and phytochemicals.
Extensive selective breeding has produced a large variety of cultivars, especially within the genus Brassica. One description of genetic factors involved in the breeding of Brassica species is the Triangle of U.
|common name||genus||specific epithet||Cultivar group|
|collard greens||Brassica||oleracea||Acephala Group|
|Chinese broccoli (gai-lan)||Brassica||oleracea||Alboglabra Group|
|Savoy cabbage||Brassica||oleracea||Savoy Cabbage Group|
|Brussels sprouts||Brassica||oleracea||Gemmifera Group|
|Broccoflower||Brassica||oleracea||Italica Group × Botrytis Group|
|Broccoli romanesco||Brassica||oleracea||Botrytis Group / Italica Group|
|wild broccoli||Brassica||oleracea||Oleracea Group|
|Komatsuna||Brassica||rapa||pervidis or komatsuna|
|Rapini (broccoli rabe)||Brassica||rapa||parachinensis|
|Chinese cabbage, napa cabbage||Brassica||rapa||pekinensis|
|Turnip root; greens||Brassica||rapa||rapifera|
|Wrapped heart mustard cabbage||Brassica||juncea||rugosa|
|Mustard seeds, brown; greens||Brassica||juncea|
|White mustard seeds||Brassica (or Sinapis)||hirta|
|Black mustard seeds||Brassica||nigra|
Iso-thio-cyanates are an important factor in the action of wasabi against Helicobacter pylori,. Sulforaphane demonstrates anti-inflammatory effects on Helicobacter pylori-infected gastric mucosae in mice and human subjects.
Cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates which in turn are converted into a number of chemicals which may have anticancer properties. For example, 3,3'-diindolylmethane (DIM) in Brassica vegetables is an androgen receptor antagonist (i.e., an antiandrogen) and is antiproliferative human prostate cancer cells.
Cruciferous vegetable consumption correlates with low cancer rates. Furthermore, indole-3-carbinol (I3C) and 3,3'-diindolylmethane (DIM) also affect estrogen metabolism and lead to favorable shifts in hormone markers which in turn may reduce the incidence of several types of cancer.
I3C promotes cell death in breast, prostate, endometrium, colon, and white blood cancer cells. Ulyasov and others found positive results against leukemia with DIM, Glucobrassicin being a precursor of DIM through indole-3-carbinol.
Chemicals contained in cruciferous vegetables induce the expression of the liver enzyme CYP1A2. Furthermore some drugs such as haloperidol and theophylline are metabolized by CYP1A2. Consequently consumption of cruciferous vegetable may decrease bioavailability and half-life of these drugs.
Brassicaceae contain a number of compounds under preliminary research for their potential hepato-protective properties. Alliaceous and cruciferous vegetable consumption may induce glutathione S-transferases, uridine diphosphate-glucuronosyl transferases, and quinone reductases all of which are potentially involved in detoxification of carcinogens such as aflatoxin. High consumption of cruciferous vegetables has potential risk from allergies, interference with drugs like warfarin and genotoxicity.
Cruciferous vegetables can potentially be goitrogenic (inducing goiter formation). They contain enzymes that interfere with the formation of thyroid hormone in people with iodine deficiency. Cooking for 30 minutes significantly reduces the amount of goitrogens and nitriles. At high intake of crucifers, the goitrogens inhibit the incorporation of iodine into thyroid hormone and also the transfer of iodine into milk by the mammary gland.