Veggie Tales

Years ago, I learned something fascinating about vegetables. I know. You’re shocked. Vegetables just aren’t that interesting—unless, of course, you’re watching the latest “Veggie Tales” episode. But I’m talking about a specific category of vegetables called “cruciferous,” which in botany means having parts arranged in the form of a cross.

“Slice into a crucifer and you will likely see a fascinating pattern of leaves, buds, and stems that form a cross shape. Packed within these dark green, white, and sometimes red vegetables are cancer-fighting surprises,” writes Pam Stephan, an health columnist. (

Dr. Michael Lam at says cruciferous vegetables contain phytochemicals that stimulate “our bodies to break down potential carcinogens [cancer-causing substance]. They work by preventing the transformation of normal healthy cells into cancerous cells.” Cruciferous vegetables also reduce oxidative stress, “the overload of harmful molecules called oxygen-free radicals, which are generated by the body. Reducing these free radicals may reduce the risk of colon, lung, prostate, breast, and other cancers.”

In 2007, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, wrote that “Close to 300 case-controlled studies have shown a protective effect of vegetable consumption against cancer, and cruciferous vegetables have the most powerful anticancer effects of all foods. …If consumption of plant food intake goes up 20 percent in a population, cancer rates typically drop 20 percent. But cruciferous vegetables have been shown to be twice as effective. As cruciferous vegetable intake goes up 20 percent in a population, cancer rates drop 40 percent.”

The Linus Pauling Institute (remember, he’s the guy famous for vitamin C research) at Oregon State University lists the following as cruciferous vegetables, many of which can be chopped fresh into salads: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, rutabaga, turnips, bok choy, Chinese cabbage, arugula, horse radish, radish, wasabi, and watercress. (

What an awesome God we have! He not only died on a cross to cleanse us of sin, which so quickly spreads and destroys life, but also created plants with cross-shaped parts to cleanse our bodies of pervasive, destructive cancers. Put cruciferous veggies on your grocery list today (well, maybe not wasabi, unless your nasal passages are tougher than mine!). Becky


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