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Add these wonder veggies to your diet

Looking for a super way to soup up your diet? Cruciferous vegetables may be just the answer.

Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, bok choy, kale, cabbage, turnips, watercress, collards, mustard greens, rutabaga and kohlorabi. The word cruciferous refers to the cross-shaped pattern found on the underside of these vegetables’ central stalks or cores.

Cruciferous vegetables are a wonderful source of vitamin C and fiber, but the phytochemicals in these greens are what make them superfoods.

Studies have shown that phytochemicals, natural health-protecting compounds found in plant foods, can help protect against lung, breast, colon, prostate and other types of cancers. They work as detoxifying agents to inhibit cancer cell growth, and they balance hormone production for normal cell growth.

Cabbage seems to be particularly effective against breast cancer. Broccoli’s phytochemicals guard against colorectal cancer. Studies suggest that men and women ages 50 to 74 who consume about three to four servings a week of broccoli are 50 percent less likely to develop colorectal cancer.

With so many different cruciferous vegetables readily available throughout the year, it’s possible to reap their benefits in many ways. Make a medley or try them in soups and salads. Munch on them lightly steamed or in a crudite with a delicious low-fat dip. Whether you eat them raw or cooked, cruciferous vegetables added to your diet every day can help you stay healthy.