Cruciferous vegetables

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Cabbage plants

Cruciferous vegetables are vegetables of the family Brassicaceae (also called Cruciferae). These vegetables are widely cultivated, with many genera, species, and cultivars being raised for food production such as cauliflower, cabbage, garden cress, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts and similar green leaf vegetables. The family takes its alternate name (Cruciferae, New Latin for "cross-bearing") from the shape of their flowers, whose four petals resemble a cross.

Ten of the most common cruciferous vegetables eaten by people, known colloquially as cole crops,[1] are in a single species (Brassica oleracea); they are not distinguished from one another taxonomically, only by horticultural category of cultivar groups. Numerous other genera and species in the family are also edible. Cruciferous vegetables are one of the dominant food crops worldwide. They are high in vitamin C and soluble fiber and contain multiple nutrients and phytochemicals.

List of cruciferous vegetables

Extensive selective breeding has produced a large variety of cultivars, especially within the genus Brassica. One description of genetic factors involved in the breeding of Brassica species is the Triangle of U.

The taxonomy of common cruciferous vegetables
common name genus specific epithet Cultivar group
Horseradish Armoracia rusticana
Land cress Barbarea verna
Ethiopian mustard Brassica carinata
Kale Brassica oleracea Acephala group
collard greens Brassica oleracea Acephala Group
Chinese broccoli (gai-lan) Brassica oleracea Alboglabra Group
Cabbage Brassica oleracea Capitata Group
Savoy cabbage Brassica oleracea Savoy Cabbage Group
Brussels sprouts Brassica oleracea Gemmifera Group
Kohlrabi Brassica oleracea Gongylodes Group
Broccoli Brassica oleracea Italica Group
Broccoflower Brassica oleracea Italica Group × Botrytis Group
Broccoli romanesco Brassica oleracea Botrytis Group / Italica Group
Cauliflower Brassica oleracea Botrytis Group
wild broccoli Brassica oleracea Oleracea Group
bok choy Brassica rapa chinensis
Komatsuna Brassica rapa pervidis or komatsuna
Mizuna Brassica rapa nipposinica
Rapini (broccoli rabe) Brassica rapa parachinensis
Choy sum (Flowering cabbage) Brassica rapa parachinensis
Chinese cabbage, napa cabbage Brassica rapa pekinensis
Turnip root; greens Brassica rapa rapifera
Rutabaga (swede) Brassica napus napobrassica
Siberian kale Brassica napus pabularia
Canola/rapeseed Brassica rapa/napus oleifera
Wrapped heart mustard cabbage Brassica juncea rugosa
Mustard seeds, brown; greens Brassica juncea
White mustard seeds Brassica (or Sinapis) hirta
Black mustard seeds Brassica nigra
Tatsoi Brassica rosularis
Wild arugula Diplotaxis tenuifolia
Arugula (rocket) Eruca vesicaria
Field pepperweed Lepidium campestre
Maca Lepidium meyenii
Garden cress Lepidium sativum
Watercress Nasturtium officinale
Radish Raphanus sativus
Daikon Raphanus sativus longipinnatus
Wasabi Wasabia japonica


Cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates which are under basic research for their potential properties and may reduce the risk of some types of cancer.[2][3][4][5]

Drug and toxin metabolism

Chemicals contained in cruciferous vegetables induce the expression of the liver enzyme CYP1A2.[6] Furthermore some drugs such as haloperidol and theophylline are metabolized by CYP1A2. Consequently consumption of cruciferous vegetables may decrease bioavailability and half-life of these drugs.[7]

Brassicaceae contain a number of compounds under preliminary research for their potential hepato-protective properties.[8] Alliaceous and cruciferous vegetable consumption may induce glutathione S-transferases, uridine diphosphate-glucuronosyl transferases, and quinone reductases[9] all of which are potentially involved in detoxification of carcinogens such as aflatoxin.[10] High consumption of cruciferous vegetables has potential risk from allergies, interference with drugs like warfarin and genotoxicity.[11][12]


People who can taste phenylthiocarbamide (PTC), which is either very bitter or tasteless, are less likely to eat cruciferous vegetables,[13] due to the resemblance between isothiocyanate (ITC) and PTC.



Cruciferous vegetables can potentially be goitrogenic (inducing goiter formation). They contain enzymes that interfere with the formation of thyroid hormone in people with iodine deficiency.[14][15] Cooking for 30 minutes significantly reduces the amount of goitrogens and nitriles. At high intake of crucifers, the goitrogens inhibit the incorporation of iodine into thyroid hormone and also the transfer of iodine into milk by the mammary gland.[16]


Brassica species may cause baby colic in breast-feeding, although the evidence for this is not strong.[17]


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  3. Le HT, Schaldach CM, Firestone GL, Bjeldanes LF (June 2003). "Plant-derived 3,3'-Diindolylmethane is a strong androgen antagonist in human prostate cancer cells". J. Biol. Chem. 278 (23): 21136–45. doi:10.1074/jbc.M300588200. PMID 12665522.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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Further reading