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Superfood Alert: Try This Delicious Salad Recipe With Anti-Cancer Properties

Updated: Nov 27, 2023


October is breast cancer awareness month. Pink ribbons have made their appearances on the city streets, on merchandise in stores, on social media, and at annual fundraising events. But I think that the symbol color of fighting cancer should be green. Because green is the color of cruciferous vegetables, a powerhouse of cancer-fighting nutrients.



The medicinal benefits of cruciferous vegetables are truly astounding. There is a large body of evidence showing that a high intake of cruciferous like broccoli, kale, cauliflower, mustard greens, cabbage, arugula, watercress, and radishes can significantly reduce cancer risk and even shrink tumors! Cruciferous vegetables have been found to be effective in preventing and treating various types of cancers, including ovarian, breast, prostate, gastric, oral, colon, and bladder [1], [2], [3], [4], [5],[6]. Cruciferous vegetables protect the liver from toxins, and our mitochondria from oxidative stress. They have been shown to reduce inflammation, improve insulin resistance, and balance hormones. The benefits are just too numerous to list!


Amazing benefits of cruciferous vegetables


One specific compound that all cruciferous vegetables have in abundance is glucoraphanin, a type of glucosinolate that turns into sulforaphane by the myrosinase enzyme when the vegetables are chewed or crushed. Sulforaphane has been studied extensively for its modulating effect on estrogen metabolism. Daily cruciferous vegetables are a must if you have symptoms of estrogen dominance, a condition associated with increased breast cancer risk. Sulforaphane redirects pro-cancerous estrogen metabolites to safer pathways and promotes their excretion. Sulforaphane also has the ability to cause apoptosis or "programmed cell death" of the cancer cells [7]. Broccoli sprouts are found to have the highest levels of sulforaphane.


If there was only one thing we could do to protect ourselves from cancer it would be having at least one serving of cruciferous vegetables every day (1 cup cup raw) and 1/2 cup of cooked.


Unfortunately, many struggle to eat them even once a week. Luckily, there are various ways to incorporate these wonderful health treasures into daily meals.


My favorite way to make sure I hit my daily target of cruciferous vegetables is by making this chopped salad every couple of days. It stays fresh in the fridge for 2-3 days and doesn't get slimy like the salads made from regular salad greens. It saves me a great deal of time in the kitchen because I don't need to worry about making it fresh every single day. The salad is high in vitamins C, K, folate, magnesium, and DIM (indole-3 carbinole), another beneficial cancer-busting glucosinolate. Glucosinolates are also responsible for the slightly pungent and spicy flavor of cruciferous vegetables.


This dish makes a perfect dinner side. To make a full meal out of it, add some protein for a balanced meal like a hardboiled egg, cooked chickpeas, chicken, beef, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or hemp hearts...the possibilities are endless.

I like to add shredded apple and carrot for added sweetness and to cut the pungency of glucosinolates. I usually alternate between two kinds of dressing for this salad, lemon tahini, or apple cider vinaigrette.


There is a lot of chopping and shredding involved, so feel free to use a food processor for veggies like cabbage, carrot, kohlrabi, and radishes to save your hands from overexertion:)


Here is what you will need to make...



Cancer-Fighting Kale Salad


  • 1 bunch lancinato (dino) kale

  • 1/2 of a small head of green or red cabbage, shredded

  • 1-2 kohlrabi, peeled and shredded

  • 4-5 red or white radishes, washed, stemmed and shredded

  • 2 cups lightly steamed broccoli, chopped.

  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded (optional)

  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and shredded

  • 4 Tablespoons of Extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tsp of Celtic sea salt

  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, hemp hearts, or both.

  • Fresh broccoli sprouts (add them when you are ready to eat them on your plate)

  • Any protein of your liking


Directions:


1. Wash kale and remove stems. Chop the leaves, place in a deep wide bowl, and sprinkle with sea salt and olive oil. With your hands massage and gently squeeze kale to fully cover it in olive oil so that it starts to release juices.

2. Wash the cabbage and remove the outer leaves. Cut the head in half and shred the half with a knife or a food processor. Massage and squeeze shredded cabbage in the same way as kale until it starts to release juices. I usually do it right on the kitchen counter. Don't skip this step because it softens the vegetables making them much easier to chew.

3. Add the rest of the shredded vegetables.

4. Pour over the dressing, mix well and enjoy! Keep in the closed container in the fridge for 2-3 days.



Lemon-Tahini Dressing

  • 1/4 cup tahini paste (I use Artisana brand)

  • 1/3 cup of water

  • 2 lemons, juiced

  • 2 cloves of garlic

  • 1 Tbs of raw honey or maple syrup

  • 1/2 tsp of sea salt

Directions: Whisk all of the ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk. I like to blend it in an 8 oz Vitamix cup. It makes it super creamy.


Apple Cider Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

  • 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive oil

  • 1 Tbs of Raw Honey

  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

Directions: Whisk all of the ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk or in your high-power blender.

 

My ultimate motto is always FOOD FIRST. But if you find it hard to be consistent with eating cruciferous vegetables, there are a few supplements that I can recommend. One of my favorite products is BroccoProtect by Designs for Health. It is a powdered broccoli and mustard seed extract with added myrosinase enzyme to ensure proper conversion of glucoraphanine to sulforaphane. You can purchase it through my supplement dispensary on Fullscript.


What are your favorite ways to eat cruciferous vegetables?

Drop me a comment below!

 

References:


  1. Hu, J., Hu, Y., Hu, Y., & Zheng, S. (2015). Intake of cruciferous vegetables is associated with reduced risk of ovarian cancer: a meta-analysis. Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition, 24(1), 101–109. https://doi.org/10.6133/apjcn.2015.24.1.22

  2. Zhang, N. Q., Ho, S. C., Mo, X. F., Lin, F. Y., Huang, W. Q., Luo, H., Huang, J., & Zhang, C. X. (2018). Glucosinolate and isothiocyanate intakes are inversely associated with breast cancer risk: a case-control study in China. The British journal of nutrition, 119(8), 957–964. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007114518000600

  3. Liu, B., Mao, Q., Cao, M., & Xie, L. (2012). Cruciferous vegetables intake and risk of prostate cancer: a meta-analysis. International journal of urology : official journal of the Japanese Urological Association, 19(2), 134–141. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1442-2042.2011.02906.x

  4. Mitra, S., Emran, T. B., Chandran, D., Zidan, B. M. R. M., Das, R., Mamada, S. S., Masyita, A., Salampe, M., Nainu, F., Khandaker, M. U., Idris, A. M., & Simal-Gandara, J. (2022). Cruciferous vegetables as a treasure of functional foods bioactive compounds: Targeting p53 family in gastrointestinal tract and associated cancers. Frontiers in nutrition, 9, 951935. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2022.951935oral

  5. Nandini, D. B., Rao, R. S., Deepak, B. S., & Reddy, P. B. (2020). Sulforaphane in broccoli: The green chemoprevention!! Role in cancer prevention and therapy. Journal of oral and maxillofacial pathology : JOMFP, 24(2), 405. https://doi.org/10.4103/jomfp.JOMFP_126_19

  6. Tse, G., & Eslick, G. D. (2014). Cruciferous vegetables and risk of colorectal neoplasms: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrition and cancer, 66(1), 128–139. https://doi.org/10.1080/01635581.2014.852686

  7. Burnett, J. P., Lim, G., Li, Y., Shah, R. B., Lim, R., Paholak, H. J., McDermott, S. P., Sun, L., Tsume, Y., Bai, S., Wicha, M. S., Sun, D., & Zhang, T. (2017). Sulforaphane enhances the anticancer activity of taxanes against triple-negative breast cancer by killing cancer stem cells. Cancer letters, 394, 52–64. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.canlet.2017.02.023


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