Eat Your Greens: Brassica Vegetable Family is a Nutrition Powerhouse

April 15, 2009



Eat Your Greens: Brassica Vegetable Family is a Nutrition Powerhouse

CHICAGO — Vegetables in the Brassica family -- such as broccoli, cabbage, kale and Brussels sprouts -- are inexpensive yet very nutritive, providing beneficial phytochemicals as well as vitamins, minerals and fiber, according to a report presented in the Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, a peer reviewed publication of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT).

“There is ever-increasing evidence that a higher consumption of Brassica vegetables may reduce the risk of several types of cancer,” according to researcher Robert Verpoorte. “This review provides a massive body of evidence supporting the nutritional value of Brassica vegetables and should ultimately lead the population to better food choices.”

Brassica production has grown steadily and the vegetables represent a major part of the human diet worldwide. Vegetables from the Brassica family are used as food, spices and a source of vegetable oils.

Researchers at Leiden University in the Netherlands analyzed a variety of Brassica vegetables for their nutritional values. “There are variations both within and between subspecies, which suggest a difference in potential health benefits depending on the growth conditions and environment,” says co-author Robert Verpoorte. “These plants can be biofortified by growing them in a high mineral-containing media, attaining high levels of nutritionally important minerals, but this advantage can be negative as observed in crops that are irrigated with polluting metals.” Stress conditions on Brassica plants can affect flavor and nutritional value.

To read the article, titled “Health-Affecting Compounds in Brassicaceae,” visit



About IFT
Founded in 1939, the Institute of Food Technologists is a nonprofit scientific society with more than 20,000 individual members working in food science, food technology, and related professions in industry, academia, and government. IFT serves as a conduit for multidisciplinary science thought leadership, championing the use of sound science through knowledge sharing, education, and advocacy. For more information on IFT, visit