These delicious, sulfur containing vegetables are mostly found in the ‘brassica’ family, including kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy.

They have a VERY important job in the body, most importantly supporting liver function.

Brassica Vegetables contain Glucosinolates which is the sulfur containing compound in these foods that is processed in the liver in a process called ‘Hydrolysis’ which is the ‘Breakdown’, result in the formation of isothiocyanates and indoles.

Broccoli is found in isothiocyantes.

These compounds (Glucosinolates-brassica) VEGETABLES, support the detoxification pathways within the liver and there are TWO phases…

“Epidemiological studies have shown some benefits of eating cruciferous vegetables and prevention of cancer” 

Phase ONE…
Takes toxins apart
Phase TWO…
Gets these toxins ready for excretion!

We want to avoid…. Anything that makes phase ONE OVER active…

  • Alcohol, caffeine, drugs, cigarettes, and intestinal permeability (leaky gut)
  • Treatment: Antioxidants and cruciferous vegetables (brassicas)

And support the IMPROVEMENT of PHASE TWO….Which is inhibited by…

  • Stress, fatigue, inadequate amino acids from protein, inadequate B vitamins from vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs,
  • Treatment: Cruciferous vegetables, brocoli, brussel sprouts turmeric etc.

How should I be cooking these vegetables?

  • Absorption of these vegetables is BETTER when its either RAW or COOKED VERY SLIGHTLY
  • This helps with the release of the glucosinolates
  • The best method is steaming lightly

What is a serving?

  • 1/2 C brussel sprouts, cabbage, brocoli and cauliflower
  • 1 C of kale, watercress, horseradish

What about the liver… What is its function?

  • Filters the blood!
  • Processes hormones and stores vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A and Iron
  • Processes toxins and drugs such as alcohol and medications, rendering them available for excretion from the body.
  • Detoxification
  • Stores glucose in the form of glycogen (carbohydrates) to be used for fuel later
  • Synthesises cholesterol
  • Removes unnecessary cholesterol by sending it in to bile to be excreted.

Signs of a sluggish liver…  🙁

Foggy head, chronic fatigue syndrome, Hormonal imbalance, bad breath, inflammation, immune issues, fatty, liver, headaches, constipation, IBS, gallstones, eczema, arthritis, poor concentration and memory.

Emily Bingham
EMpower Fitness and Nutrition
November 2015

 

References

http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/indole-3-carbinol
http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/isothiocyanates