There shouldn’t be any sort of debate when you talk about how important lungs are. Then again, as the lungs are considerably strong organs, people often take its health for granted, and this could lead to various lung damages in the long run. The problem is that inhaling pollutants, smoke, or any other harmful chemicals are almost impossible to avoid. You can cover your nose all day every day, but your lungs would still be compromised.
This is why you should start looking into improving the health of your lungs, and the first step is looking into what you eat. While there could be numerous kinds of food that can help the lungs, it is always good to take vegetables – cruciferous vegetables can greatly improve the health of your lungs and the rest of your body.
What are Cruciferous Vegetables
A cruciferous vegetable is any food that is a member of the cabbage family. They are generally packed with antioxidants that naturally help your body clear away toxins.
Scientifically speaking, cruciferous vegetables belong to the Cruciferae family, which mostly contains the Brassica genus, but does include a few other genus. Some of the most common ones are cauliflower, cabbage, garden cress, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts and similar green leafy 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.
Consumption of cruciferous vegetables might help protect smokers against lung cancer, according to a number of studies. Findings presented at the Seventh Annual American Association for Cancer Research International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research, held in Washington, DC suggest a remarkable effect of these vegetables to one’s lung health. Studies suggest that the risk of developing lung cancer was reduced by 22% to 50% among smokers who consumed at least 4.5 servings of raw cruciferous vegetables a month, compared with those who consumed less than 2.5 servings per month.
It’s true that things like covering your nose and mouth, or installing the best air purifier in your home can contribute to your overall lung health. However, vegetables like these directly aid the fortitude of a human’s lungs from within because of its nutritional value.
Researchers reveal strong linear inverse associations between intake of fruits and vegetables versus the risk of lung cancer (odds ratio range, 0.53 – 0.70; P for trend < .05). An intake of fruits and total vegetables show a relatively stronger association among non-smokers, whereas significant inverse associations with cruciferous vegetable consumption have only been observed among smokers and former smokers.
Vegetables like these are pretty easy to play around when it comes to preparing dishes that are delicious and exciting at the same time. If you’re wondering how to prepare the perfect dish, read on and see which ones could tickle your taste buds. Here are some recipes that you can try out:
Braised Broccoli with Orange and Parmesan
- 1/4 cup / 60 ml freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 head of broccoli, florets and stalks trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese shavings
- 2 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds
- In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the orange juice and tomatoes.
- Bring this to a boil and stir in the broccoli.
- Stir in the oregano and red pepper flakes, and then cook until the broccoli is just tender and bright green. Be mindful of not overcooking the vegetables, especially the broccoli.
- Season with salt and pepper, and transfer to a serving dish.
- Drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle with the cheese and almonds before serving.
Cauliflower Dumplings with Creamy Chicken Soup
- 1 head organic cauliflower
- leftover roasted chicken (approximately half a chicken)
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups chicken stock (additional)
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper and additional salt, to taste
- Scallions or Italian parsley
- Place the leftover roasted chicken into stock pot with 4 cups of water. Bring this to a boil, then cover and reduce temperature. Let this simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the stock, remove all of the meat (about 2 cups is needed) and set aside.
- Bring the stock back to a boil in order to concentrate the flavor. Reduce the stock to approximately two cups.
- While the broth reduces, divide the head of cauliflower in half. Chop one half of the cauliflower into florets. When the chicken broth has been reduced to about two cups, add the florets to the pot. Add in ¼ teaspoon of both dried thyme and ¼ tsp coarse sea salt. Cover and simmer the seasoned cauliflower florets until tender.
- Break down the second half of cauliflower and load into a food processor. Pulse the cauliflower until a fine rice texture is achieved. Transfer the grain-like bits to a microwave-safe bowl, cover and place in the microwave for 4-6 minutes or until well cooked.
- Once the cauliflower florets are cooked, puree them with the chicken stock to create a creamy base.
- Add the diced carrots and celery to the puree, additional two cups of chicken stock and salt and black pepper to taste. Allow this to simmer at medium-low temperature, allowing the carrots and celery to soften.
- While the vegetables are being processed, the dumplings need to be prepared.
- In small batches, spoon portions of the cauliflower into cheesecloth, wrap completely and twist hard to wring out all moisture.
- Place the strained, cooled cauliflower to a mixing bowl and add an egg, a quarter cup each of tapioca and coconut flours, plus a quarter teaspoon of kosher salt. Bring together with a spoon first in the bowl, then turn out onto a work surface to knead, shape into a square about a half-inch thick and slice into nine squares. Let rest.
- Stir in the shredded reserved chicken, do any final seasoning adjustments with your salt and pepper, then gently top the soup with the cauliflower dumpling squares. Allow them to float on the surface of the soup.
- Serve piping hot, topped with sliced scallions or fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley.
Bacon, Onion and Brussel Slaw
- 2 packages shredded brussel sprouts
- 1 package nitrate-free bacon
- 1/2 sweet onion
- salt and pepper
- balsamic vinegar
- Slice bacon and onion, and add to skillet
- Cook over medium heat until bacon starts to get crispy, and onions are brown
- Add balsamic to deglaze the pan, and scrape the bacon bits off the bottom using a wooden spoon
- Dump in the shredded brussel sprouts and mix everything together, adding more balsamic, salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover the pan, and let it steam over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes.