Let’s face it, Americans love to grill and barbecue their meats. So when the World Health Organization came out with a report that summarized the findings from a group of scientists that processed meats (cold cuts, cured meat) and grilled meats are known cancer-causing agents (right up there with tobacco smoke and asbestos) well there was a huge “hooray” from the medical community but not more than a whimper from most Americans. I get it we’re all bombarded by tons of information these days, but this one you want to pay special attention to.
I get it, grilled anything tastes too good for most to avoid during the summer months, but this one you should pay particular attention to, because the data is pretty compelling.
So if you MUST eat grilled meats this summer at least eat THIS along with them: cruciferous vegetables. They are the one vegetable that packs more anti-cancer punch that most other vegetables out there. You’ve seen them before at your local grocery store, and they include:
- Cabbage (red and green)
- Bok choy
- Brussel Sprouts
- Mustard Greens
- Collard Greens
- Turnip Greens
So at your next cookout, add a heaping amount of cole slaw or broccoli slaw right next to your grilled burger because a recent study found that when cruciferous vegetables are combined with grilled meat, they can detox the body of the cancer-causing chemicals from the meat.
Why are these vegetables so potent? They do two things that are really important in the fight against cancer:
- They kill cancer cells, and
- They detoxify the body of cancer-causing agents.
They also have other anti-cancer properties:
- They stop cancer cells from growing uncontrollably
- They improve hormone metabolism, particularly estrogen. When estrogen metabolism gets out of wack, there is more bad estrogen (2-hyrdorxyestrone) compared to good estrogen (16-hydroxyestrone) in the body. Bad estrogen feeds breast cancer growth, and cruciferous vegetables remove bad estrogen from the body.
- They decrease an enzyme known as DNA methylation, which is found in cancer cells and is involved in cancer promotion
- They act as antioxidants, which help fight inflammation and aging in the body
Here’s to your best health!
Deanine Grace, PhD
Lewandowska A, et al. Isothiocyanates may chemically detoxify mutagenic amines formed in heat processed meat. Food Chem. 2014;157:105.
Royston KJ and Tollfsbol TO. The epigenetic impact of cruciferous vegetables on cancer prevention. Curr Pharmacol Rep. 2015;1:46
Tang L, et al. Total isothiocyanate yield from raw cruciferous vegetables commonly consumed in the United States. J Funct Foods. 2013;5:1996.