Salad Making with Cruciferous Vegetables
One of my most enjoyable pastimes is in spontaneously putting a meal together in my kitchen.
I love making a meal out of a great salad and combining ingredients that speak to me for their flavor but more importantly are nourishing in their nutritional value ..
I created this salad with the intention of incorporating cruciferous vegetables, as I’ve recently been researching on their amazing benefits for longevity.
All natural food groups provide outstanding support for multiple body systems, and regular intake of foods each group can definitely help us feel our best. But it would be hard to find a single food group that provides broader “all systems” support than the cruciferous vegetables.
This food group shines not only in terms of conventional nutrients (including vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) that support optimal functioning of most body systems, but also in terms of phytonutrients (including carotenoids and flavonoids) that play a more subtle but equally important role in our vitality. Also present in this food group is one group of phytonutrients — the glucosinolates — that is virtually exclusive to this group. When combined with their extremely low-calorie, nutrient-rich nature, these features of cruciferous vegetables make them a uniquely “whole body” support food group.
This whole body impact of the cruciferous vegetables as a group has its parallel in the disease prevention category for which cruciferous vegetables have become most famous.
Nutrients in cruciferous vegetables called glucosinolates are super powerful too. From a chemistry point of view, glucosinolates are sugar-based molecules that contain a modified form of sugar (glucose) together with sulfur and nitrogen. Glucosinolates aren’t found exclusively in cruciferous vegetables, but they are overwhelmingly absent from most other food groups. Over 100 different glucosinolates have been identified in cruciferous vegetables, and all of the glucosinolates studied to date have been shown to have anti-cancer properties.
What is it about glucosinolates that makes them such prominent anti-cancer compounds? It takes the work of an enzyme called myrosinase to convert glucosinolates into anti-cancer compounds. All plants in the cruciferous vegetable family that contain glucosinolates also contain myrosinase enzymes. When the plants are alive, their myrosinase enzymes are also active and functioning. In freshly harvested plants, myrosinase enzymes continue to function, but this function decreases over time. Cooking for more than 10 minutes will typically end all myrosinase function in cruciferous vegetables. Between 1-10 minutes, loss of myrosinase activity will become greater and greater with each additional minute of heating and with each increase in cooking temperature.
Here are great choices for cruciferous vegetables:
This salad was made with a base of Arugula and Shredded Cabbage and Cauliflower
I then added Grilled Eggplant, Grilled Zuchini, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, and Carrots, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes (all drizzled with olive oil before cooking at 350 degrees on a pan for approximately 30 minutes)
Quinoa and Red kidney Beans
I used Apple Cider Vinegar, Olive Oil, Cayenne Pepper, Sea Salt, and Honey for a dressing.