With Thanksgiving just around the corner, naturally my mind has been on food. Has yours too?
If it has, then I have a great recipe for you on this Self Care Sunday! I really love the colors and simplicity of this salad. Even more importantly, I love that both of the main ingredients are cruciferous vegetables! I try to eat at least two servings a day, and this salad helps me to reach that goal. It is so much easier to eat healthy, when we understand what our food is doing for our bodies. Knowing the benefits of certain foods can be a real motivator for staying on track with our diets. I want the best from my food, and I am sure you do too; so let’s learn a bit about cruciferous vegetables, and hopefully I will talk you in to adding this delicious, beautiful and nutritious salad to your Thanksgiving spread.
And if you are wondering how we handled Thanksgiving dinner with a tiny RV oven, then you can check out our Thanksgiving meal when we were RVing in Florida. We even had this salad! And we obviously look much warmer!
What are cruciferous vegetables?
They make up part of the Brassica genus of plants. They are best recognized by their pungent aroma and bitter smell due to their sulfur containing chemicals, known as glucosinolates. Cruciferous vegetables include, but are not limited to the following: cabbage, broccoli, collard greens, kale, bok choy, horseradish (a Pennsylvania favorite), cauliflower and brussel sprouts.
What makes cruciferous vegetables so beneficial for our health?
Those same glucosinolates that make cruciferous vegetables recognizable to our senses are broken down during digestion to form several active compounds. One of these compounds is indole-3-carbinol, which is being studied for a wide range of benefits, including certain anticancer effects.
Studies with indoles in animals and in cells grown in laboratories have shown the following effects:
- They help protect cells from DNA damage.
- They help inactivate carcinogens.
- They have antiviral and antibacterial effects.
- They have anti-inflammatory effects.
- They induce cell death (apoptosis).
- They inhibit tumor blood vessel formation (angiogenesis) and tumor cell migration (needed for metastasis). (Source)
Sounds great, but it gets better! One of the metabolic products of indole-3-carbinol is DIM. DIM (Di-Indoly Methane) is used to promote healthier estrogen metabolism. DIM is not a hormone, but it follows a metabolic pathway in our bodies that is very similar to estrogen. The enzymes involved in metabolizing estrogen are the same enzymes involved in metabolizing DIM. Therefore, adding DIM to the body may help the body to metabolize estrogen better and restore a healthy hormonal balance. DIM is used as a supplement for women who want a natural way to fight estrogen dominance and restore hormonal balance.
Cruciferous vegetables are also some of the most nutrient dense foods you can eat. They contain lots of vitamins, especially some that are not as well known such as Vitamin A and Vitamin K. They also contain iron, zinc, magnesium and more.
While adding a few servings of cruciferous vegetables to your diet is not the same as supplementing with DIM, I still believe that it is a great way to enrich your meal with some added benefits. So, I hope you will give this salad a try!
Purple Cabbage & Collard Green Salad
- Half a head of purple cabbage, washed
- A bunch of collard greens, washed
- 1 lemon
- avocado or olive oil
- sea salt, optional
- Thinly slice the cabbage and collard greens. You want equal parts of each. You can just eye ball it. As with any dressed salad, this one is best the same day, so use what you can eat in a meal or two as a guide for your amounts. I usually do half a head of purple cabbage, and then match the amount with collard greens.
- In a small bowl, or glass; combine the juice of 1 whole lemon with 2 T oil. (If you are making a bigger salad, just double the dressing as needed.)
- Combine the sliced cabbage and collard greens in a bowl.
- Pour the dressing on the top.
- Add some sea salt.
- Stir to combine and mix the cabbage and greens together.
Isn’t it a really lovely salad for Thanksgiving? Just beautiful with the purple color. You will find that this salad is bright tasting with all of the lemon juice, and the acid from it breaks down the harshest part of the cruciferous characteristics, or at least it does in my opinion.
This salad is a great side for any meal, and I hope you give it a try! Plus, now you know all about why cruciferous vegetables are so highly recommended.
For further research: