Eating cabbage on St. Patrick's Day may bring you more than good luck. Researchers can't give specific recommendations, but one serving a week of cruciferous vegetables appears to provide some protection against colon cancer.
Cruciferous (pronounced crew-SIF-er-us) is the scientific name for vegetables from the cabbage family, including cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, rutabaga, kale and turnips. Because of the good things these vegetables provide, try to eat cabbage or a member of its family at least once a week.
* Cancer connection: Eating cabbage and its cousins may decrease your risk of developing colon cancer.
* Fiber: All cruciferous vegetables are good sources of fiber, another apparent protective factor against colon cancer.
* Potassium: Cruciferous vegetables provide substantial amounts of potassium, an essential mineral.
* Vitamin C: A single one-half-cup serving of broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, or turnip greens supplies all the vitamin C you need in a day.
* Iron: These vegetables, with the exception of cauliflower, are good sources of iron. One serving of brussels sprouts provides about one milligram of the 18-milligram daily iron requirement for women.
* Carotene: Dark green members of the cabbage family are excellent sources of carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A. (If you eat foods high in beta-carotene, research suggests that you may reduce your chance of getting cancer.)
* Calcium: Cruciferous vegetables are among the best non-dairy sources of calcium. A one-half-cup serving of kale provides about 11 percent of a woman's daily calcium requirement.
* Low-calorie: These vegetables contain about 25 to 35 calories per serving and have no fat.