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How Cabbages Help Fight Cancer

Cancer is a devastating diagnosis, losing a loved one is horrible but watching helplessly as they painfully fall apart before you  is something everyone would love to avoid. I had seen it before and was determined to do my best to stop it happening again. While desperately researching ways to keep Mike alive I found the power of what I call Natural or God’s chemo, how foods help us fight cancer and one of the biggest groups and most fascinating is how cabbages help fight cancer.

There are many published papers on the effects of the many foods which aid our immune system to beat cancer, but few as powerful as the humble cabbage.

Not only cabbages but the whole cabbage family, or to give them their botanical name the  Brassicaceae or  Cruciferous vegetables. This group is a very large group of green and root vegetables, which are high in nutrients as well as phytochemicals which have antioxidant actions in our bodies and help us fight inflammation and cancers.

It would be beneficial if we all included more of them in our diet. As they are a large and diverse group, it is not hard to get a variety of them in your diet without being bored by the flavors. The following is a list of vegetables in the cabbage family:

  • Arugula / Rocket
  • Bok Choi
  • Broccoli of all kinds
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage, green, red, Savoy
  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Collard greens
  • Field Pepperweed
  • Horseradish
  • Kale, all kinds
  • Kohlrabi
  • Komatsuna
  • Land cress
  • Maca
  • Mizuna
  • Mustard
  • Nasturtium
  • Radish all, including Daikon
  • Rutabaga
  • Tatsoi
  • Turnip
  • Wasabi
  • Watercress

 

Abundant recipes can be found for all of them, allowing  for  delectable taste bud delights for any tastes. They are inexpensive and prolific throughout the world and a highly undervalued vegetables.

cabbage family

Cancer Fighting Properties

SULPHORAPHANE

How the cabbage family helps to fight cancer is interesting in that they have more than one cancer fighting phytochemical and the amount are higher in some of the family and lower in others. The compounds are known as glucosinolates need to be activated by being chopped or chewed well for the enzyme myrosinase to convert it to the compound Sulforaphane which is the cancer fighting form. It is highest in broccoli, about 60 mg per serving, but three day broccoli sprouts are up to 100 times higher. Myrosinase is highest in mustard, land cress, daikon radish and wasabi, so by combining them we will enhance the cancer fighting effect.

It is capable of bringing about apoptosis (cell death), and was the only substance to destroy cells of the child cancer, Medulloblastoma, and colon, prostate and acute lymphoblastic Leukaemia.

Sulphoraphane has antibiotic and bacterial properties and has shown itself to be effective against the cancer and ulcer causing bacteria Helicobacter Pylori.

Another way in which the cabbage family help us fight cancer is by increasing our bodies’ ability to flush out toxic substances linked to cancers it helps the sulphur detoxification pathway as cabbages contain sulphur which gives them their distinct smell.

I have included diagrams from studies, even though most will not understand all the pathways and genes affected it will still give a good idea of how powerful plants can be in our fight against the dreaded C.

The diagram below is from the following study and illustrates the anticancer effects.

Anti-Carcinogenic Glucosinolates in Cruciferous Vegetables and Their Antagonistic Effects on Prevention of Cancers
Prabhakaran Soundararajan and Jung Sun Kim
Molecules (MDPI): Received: 15 October 2018; Accepted: 13 November 2018; Published: 15 November 2018

sufforaphane effects in cancer fighting

PHENETHYL ISOTHIOCYANATE

Yet another cancer fighting compound in the cabbage family and is higher in Chinese cabbage and watercress. I fed Mike watercress every day as part of a salad, it has a very low carbohydrate count of .36 gm per cup and a very high nutrient content.

PEITC shows itself to be toxic to tumours, especially leukaemia, colon and prostate cancer cells and induces apoptosis.

It shows promise in helping fight existing tumours and in the prevention of cancer.

NNK is a toxic carcinogen found in tobacco smoke, in a study involving smokers who were given 60 grams of watercress per meal for 3 days it reduced the amount of NNK in their bodies, showing how it can prevent cancers.

A picture is worth a thousand words, in this case 2 pictures from different studies.

The diagram below is from the following study and illustrates the anticancer effects.

Anti-Carcinogenic Glucosinolates in Cruciferous Vegetables and Their Antagonistic Effects on Prevention of Cancers
Prabhakaran Soundararajan and Jung Sun Kim
Molecules (MDPI): Received: 15 October 2018; Accepted: 13 November 2018; Published: 15 November 2018

I have included this diagram showing the effect PEITC has on genes in the different “Hallmarks of Cancer” pathways.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25152445/
PEITC and cancer pathways
PEITC hallmarks of cancer pathways

INDOLE-3-CARBINOL

Yet another interesting compound in the cabbage family which works through oestrogen metabolism and its ability to interfere with oestrogen dependent cancers. Once more the cabbage family has shown itself to be a powerhouse of interesting cancer fighting compounds, kept separated until chopped and chewed to mix the Indole-3-Carbonol with the magic enzyme Myrosinaise into diindolylmethane (DIM), which is a more stable molecule and does the same thing.

Dim can be bought as a supplement and has been shown to improve oestrogen metabolism.

Below is a diagram that illustrates how helps against oestrogen driven cancers from the following study

Attenuation of Carcinogenesis and the Mechanism Underlying by the Influence of Indole-3-carbinol and Its Metabolite 3,3′-Diindolylmethane: A
Therapeutic Marvel
Article in Advances in Pharmacological Sciences · May 2014

Dim and its effect on cancer

BENZYL ISOTHIOCYANATE

Higher concentrates of this compound are found in cabbage, garden cress and Indian cress, it has antioxidant, anti-cancer and antimetastatic properties in blood, breast, brain, colon and pancreatic cancers.

The diagram below from the same study as the ones above, shows the anticancer actions of this compound.

Cooking

The compounds are water-soluble and sensitive to heat, therefore care needs to be taken when cooking any of the cabbage family. Eating them raw and chewing them well, or using in a juice or smoothie are good ways to go, but if, like me, the thought of raw broccoli or cauliflower is a bit much to stomach, lightly cooking them in a tiny amount of liquid, stir frying or steaming them al dente would be the best options.

Frozen vegetables are often blanched at a high temperature and will a lot of the properties will be destroyed.

Fermented vegetables are a great way to eat the cabbage family. Sauerkraut and kimchi spring to mind. By fermenting them you add another cancer fighting property to them, namely prebiotics which are abundant in fermented vegetables.

Fermenting makes the nutrients more available and more easily digestible for us, we should aim at a spoon full of fermented cabbage at every meal as a condiment. Sauerkraut and avocado is one of my favourite breakfasts.

I eat it in the morning and ideally before each meal as cabbages stimulates the production of stomach acid which is essential for good digestion and protects us against parasitic, fungal, viral and bacterial infections.

Combining Broccoli with tomato increases the cancer fighting properties of both.

Here is one of my recipes:

Cancer Bashing Broccoli

1 Chopped medium onion

2 C chopped mushrooms  Olive/coconut oil

4 large Tomatoes

Basil to taste, do not be shy.

1 large Broccoli

1 tsp of mustard, freshly ground

Garlic to taste

1 TBS Turmeric

½ C Seaweed

Salt and pepper
Finely chop garlic, leave. 

Lightly steam broccoli al dente and put aside

Sauté onions in oil. Add the tomato and mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes using some of the steaming water from the broccoli. Add seaweed, turmeric and basil, cook 5 mins only. Remove from heat, add garlic, salt and pepper and ground mustard and blend.
Pour over steamed broccoli, sprinkle with chopped Brazil nuts.

Red cabbage has an additional cancer fighter in the red colour called anthocyanins which are antioxidants and savoy cabbage has an additional cancer fighting compound called sinigrin, by using these you can increase the cancer fighting ability of your diet.

broccoli

Yet another cancer fighting compound in the cabbage family and is higher in Chinese cabbage and watercress. I fed Mike watercress every day as part of a salad, it has a very low carbohydrate count of .36 gm per cup and has a very high nutrient content.

PEITC shows itself to be toxic to tumours, especialy leukaemia, colon and prostate cancer cells and induces apoptosis.

It shows promise in not helping fight existing tumours but also in prevention of cancer.

NNK is a toxic carcinogen found in tobacco smoke, in a study involving smokers who were given 60 grams of watercress per meal for 3 days reduced the amount of NNK showing how it can prevent cancers.

A picture is worth a thousand words, in this case 2 pictures from different studies.

The diagram below is from the following study and illustrates the anticancer effects.

Anti-Carcinogenic Glucosinolates in Cruciferous Vegetables and Their Antagonistic Effects on Prevention of Cancers
Prabhakaran Soundararajan and Jung Sun Kim
Molecules (MDPI): Received: 15 October 2018; Accepted: 13 November 2018; Published: 15 November 2018

I have included this diagram showing the effect PEITC has on genes in the different “Hallmarks of Cancer” pathways.

The Amazing Family

By now I am sure you are as astounded at how cabbages help fight cancer and realize what amazing vegetables they are.

There are studies showing that one to two servings of the cabbage family reduce the risk of breast cancer by 40%. They have been shown to decrease the risks of lung, gastrointestinal and prostate cancers.

What is not to like about this large, versatile and delicious family of vegetables. 

Sources

Beliveau, R. Prof. Gingras, D. Dr. Foods to fight cancer. Essential foods to help prevent

Anti-Carcinogenic Glucosinolates in Cruciferous Vegetables and Their Antagonistic Effects on Prevention of Cancers
Prabhakaran Soundararajan and Jung Sun Kim. Published in Molecules Published: 15 November 2018

Cancer-Fighting Phytochemicals: Another Look
Jeya Shree T1, Poompavai S1, Mahaboob Begum SMF2, Gowri Sree V1, Hemalatha S2, Sieni E3, Sundararajan R4. Journal of Nanomedicine &
Biotherapeutic Discovery

Attenuation of Carcinogenesis and the Mechanism Underlying by the Influence of Indole-3-carbinol and Its Metabolite 3,3′-Diindolylmethane: A
Therapeutic Marvel
Article in Advances in Pharmacological Sciences · May 2014

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5571834/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2737735/

https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/cruciferous-vegetables-fact-sheet

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6085252/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25152445/

https://www.thorne.com/take-5-daily/article/what-is-dim-is-it-the-same-as-i3c

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