"The Cruciforms"? New boy band? Not so much.
Rather they are winter's shining stars of the veggie world: Brussels sprouts, bok choy, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc -- and we eat them as much as we can each week, at least 3 times.
Three times a week is the magic number researchers at the Cancer Research Center of the University of Pittsburgh discovered. Vegetables containing sulforaphane (our cruciform heroes) were shown to considerably increase the action of the immune system against tumors when consumed three times a week. Second, "tumor-carrying rats that consumed sulforaphane were shown to have half as much risk of developing metastases as those that did not." (Servan-Screiber, Anticancer, pg. 135)
Note, however, that boiling cabbage and broccoli kills their sulfaoraphane molecules.
This week I discovered a new Brussels sprouts recipe that we liked so much I cooked it twice already. It's from anticancer rock star, Kris Carr's, cookbook Crazy Sexy Kitchen and she writes this intro to the recipe:
Are you ready to become a Brussels sprouts addict? This dish is redic! Whether it's a Tuesday night dinner or a holiday celebration, everyone will want a heaping serving of this stupendous side-dish. (pg. 208)
So, there you have it. Kris & I agree -- you've got to make this dish this week!
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pistachios and Cipollini Onions (from Crazy Sexy Kitchen; serves 4)
Brussels sprouts ~ Cruciform vegetables contain sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinols, which are powerful anticancer molecules. They are capable of detoxifying certain carcinogenic substances. They prevent precancerous cells from developing into malignant tumors. They also promote the suicide of cancer cells and block angiogenesis. Consume 3 times a week.
Onions ~ The sulfur compounds in the alliaceous family (garlic, onions, leeks, shallots, chives) reduce the carcinogenic effects of nitrosamines and N-nitroso compounds, which are created in over-grilled meat and during tobacco combustion. They promote cell death in colon, breast, lunch, and prostate cancer, as well as in leukemia. All the herbs in this family also help to regulate blood sugar levels.
Olive oil ~ The green tea of the Mediterranean diet. Olives and olive oil contain particularly high concentrations of phenolic antioxidants. Olive oil is richer in antioxidants if it is cold-pressed, extra-virgin oil. Researchers have found that the consumption of olive oil by women taking Herceptin may increase the efficacy of the medication because the polyphenols and oleic acid in olive oil can inhibit expression of the HER2 gene.*
3 cups Brussels sprouts, cleaned and halved
1 cup cipollini onions or shallots, peeled and quartered
1/4 cup raw pistachios
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 TBSP olive oil
3 TBSP sherry vinegar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients. Give it a good mixing.
Roast the Brussels sprouts mixture on a sheet pan for 12-15 minutes, shaking the pan about halfway through to ensure even cooking.
*Cancer-fighting nutritional info comes from David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD: Anticancer: A New Way of Life.