[This article is from Vivian Goldschmidt’s email update. She is the founder of the Save Institute for Natural Health.)
With the colder weather of winter approaching and with active COVID-19 infections, a strong immune system is crucial to your health. So today we’re going to review the science-backed benefits of foods that boost your immune system and your bone health: cruciferous vegetables.
We’ll also take a look at a just-published study, and review the many other health benefits– including for bones– offered by these types of foods.
Cruciferous Vegetables Improve Immune Function
Cruciferous vegetables are well-known for their numerous health benefits and high vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant density. But a new study published in the journal Cell has located an additional reason to include them in your diet: protecting your immune system.
Researchers conducted a study to observe the effects of dietary vegetable intake on immune cells in the gut and the skin. These cells, called intra-epithelial lymphocytes (IELs) are the first line of defense in wound repair. They depend on adequate levels of a cell-surface protein called the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) that is regulated by dietary ingredients found in cruciferous vegetables.1
The researchers observed this relationship in a group of mice. When the mice were fed a vegetable-poor diet for two to three weeks, they lost 70 to 80 percent of their protective IEL cells. Additionally, the mice’s intestinal microbiome fell out of balance.1
The researchers concluded their study with the following:
“Our results provide a molecular basis for the importance of cruciferous vegetable-derived phytonutrients as part of a healthy diet in sustaining important elements of the immune system and in controlling bacterial colonization.”1
A new study found that when mice were fed a diet low in vegetables they lost 70 to 80 percent of an important type of immune cell. The cells depend on a protein that requires nutrients found in cruciferous vegetables.
Cruciferous Vegetables: Foundation Foods That Provide Multiple Benefits
Cruciferous vegetables include foods you’re probably quite familiar with. They are readily available and many are coming into season this fall and winter. Here are the most common cruciferous vegetables:
- Bok choy
- Brussels sprouts*
- Chinese cabbage
- Collard greens*
- Daikon radish
- Mustard greens*
- Shepherd’s purse
There’s no doubt that cruciferous vegetables are good for your bones. They are chock-full of Foundation Supplements, which are bone-healthy nutrients found in whole foods. For example:
- Cabbage is an excellent source of Vitamin C, calcium, silicon, and polyphenols.
- Broccoli offers calcium, boron, Vitamins K and C, and flavonoids.
- Brussels Sprouts provide Vitamins K and C.
- Cauliflower boasts Vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, and magnesium.
- Kale contains Vitamin K and calcium.
All of these nutrients are Foundation Supplements because of their exceptional role in building and maintaining healthy bones. Let’s take a closer look at a few cruciferous vegetables and learn about the benefits they have to offer.
See the list of cruciferous vegetables above. These veggies are rich in bone-building Foundation Supplements like Vitamin C, B Vitamins, Vitamin K, calcium, silicon, boron, magnesium, and more.
Leafy-green kale is readily available in most grocery stores, and even organic kale is generally inexpensive. Kale comes in flat, curly, and even purple varieties and all variations are good for your bones. It’s one of the few vegetables that reaches its flavor peak in the cold winter months.
Kale is alkalizing and surprisingly versatile – you can juice, steam, sauté, stir-fry, and bake kale. It adds bright green color and valuable nutrients when added to soups, and it can stand in for spinach or stand out as a main dish.
One cup of cooked kale has an astounding 1,062 micrograms of Vitamin K, more than 1,300% of the recommended daily value. Ample research supports Vitamin K’s role in bone health. In conjunction with Vitamin D, it regulates osteoclast production, making Vitamin K an important part of healthy bone remodeling.
Kale is readily available at your local grocer, alkalizing, and incredibly versatile. Juice it, steam it, sauté it, stir-fry it, bake it– and get the benefit of its abundance of Vitamin K.
What The Nutrients In Watercress Can Do For You
Watercress is closely related to Brussel sprouts, cabbage, and kale- but is lighter and easier to prepare than many of its cruciferous cousins. It’s not any less powerful though! Let’s have a look at what this little leaf provides.
Vitamin C – Many people only think of Vitamin C as necessary for the immune system, but it is also vital for the production of collagen, which composes the majority of your bone’s living tissue.2 Collagen supports tensile strength in healthy bones, which helps prevent fracture. Also, Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that prevents free radical damage that can harm your bones.
Vitamin A And Carotenoids – Watercress contains zeaxanthin and lutein, carotenoid antioxidants that are part of the Vitamin A family. They’ve been shown to reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.3 Research has confirmed that reduced vision increases the risk of falls and subsequent fractures.4
Water – Proper hydration is essential for your bones. Water is one of the three most significant components of bone, and it impacts strength, density, and the remodeling process.5 Drinking water is essential, but it’s easy to forget that we can also choose hydrating foods- some of which announce their contents right in their name, like watermelon and watercress.
Watercress is a rich source of antioxidants, Vitamins K, C, and A, carotenoids, and water. All of these nutrients help to improve your health and protect your bones.
Cauliflower Exemplifies The Detoxifying Power Of Cruciferous Vegetables
Like other cruciferous vegetables, cauliflower is a very good source of a detoxifying phytochemical called d-glucarate.
Your body has a natural system that regulates toxins. It holds on to some and lets others go. D-glucarate works with this system to stimulate the “letting go” mechanism so that toxins can be released and excreted from the body.
D-glucarate does this by suppressing an enzyme that triggers the “hold on” mechanism in the body. Thus, consuming d-glucarate helps cleanse the body of toxins.
Cauliflower, and other cruciferous vegetables, contain a detoxifying phytochemical called d-glucarate that helps your body release and excrete toxins.
The Impressive Nutritional Profile of Cabbage
All cabbage varieties offer bone-healthy nutrients and delicious flavor, whether eaten cooked or raw (eat it both ways for maximum nutrient variety and absorption). Here are some of the varieties you’re likely to see in the grocery store:
- Bok-choy (Chinese cabbage)
- Red (this variety is higher in Vitamin C than Green)
- Green (Green cabbage has nearly twice the Vitamin K as Red)
- Brussels sprouts
They all contain an impressive array of bone-building nutrients. In addition to nutrients profiled above, like Vitamin C and K, cabbage contains the following compounds:
Vitamin B9 (Folate) – One of the B-complex vitamins, folate works in conjunction with Vitamin B6 (also found in cabbage) and B12 to convert homocysteine to other amino acids.
Potassium – This mineral is important for proper muscle function. It is also an electrolyte that helps regulate water balance inside and outside cells and it alkalizes the pH of blood.
Tryptophan – While it’s not a Foundation Supplement, tryptophan may sound familiar to some Savers. Tryptophan is vital for the formation of picolinic acid, a chelating agent that promotes the absorption of minerals (such as calcium) through the intestinal walls.
Manganese – This mineral helps in the synthesis of cartilage, bone, and protein and promotes the formation of thyroxine (the main hormone produced by the thyroid gland). Manganese contributes to the activation of important enzyme systems, such as superoxide dismutase.
In addition to these and other vitamins and minerals, cabbage contains bone-healthy phytonutrients such as:
Polyphenols, Powerful Antioxidants – All cruciferous vegetables rank high in the antioxidant department, but cabbage deserves special recognition as being especially high in these free-radical fighters.
Anthocyanins – These anti-inflammatory compounds boost cytokine production and act as antioxidants.
There are many varieties of cabbage, and they all offer an astounding variety of bone-building nutrients and compounds like potassium, manganese, B vitamins, antioxidants, and anthocyanins.
Sulforaphane Is A Key Cruciferous Compound
Sulforaphane is a naturally-occurring organosulfur compound, which means that it’s a sulfur-containing organic compound. These are very common since sulfur is an essential building block of life.
It’s obtained from common foods like broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and cabbage. Interestingly, sulforaphane actually doesn’t exist in its final, bone-building form until you’re in the process of eating a cruciferous vegetable.
The compound is produced when the plant matter is damaged by chewing or crushing, allowing two-component compounds to mix and react. Then your digestive system absorbs and delivers it.
Sulforaphane has the unique ability to alter the expression of your genes to favor the production of strong new bone. Through a series of chemical reactions, it essentially pushes the “go” button on the process that leads to osteoblast creation and osteoclast reduction.5
The cruciferous vegetable with the highest concentration of sulforaphane are broccoli sprouts, (not to be confused with Brussel sprouts!) and they make a great addition to salads or sandwiches.
Sulforaphane is a naturally occurring sulfur-based compound that activates gene expression to favor the production of strong new bone. It’s found in cruciferous vegetables, especially broccoli sprouts.
What This Means To You
Make cruciferous vegetables a regular part of your diet. Savers are already familiar with these veggies, many of which are Foundation Foods because they contain bone-essential vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.
If detoxifying foods such as cruciferous vegetables aren’t already on your plate, consider OsteoCleanse™ The Seven Day Bone Building Accelerator. This whole-health cleanse is focused on inclusion and not deprivation, making it healthier (and easier!) than starvation-based fad cleanses. Cruciferous vegetables play a significant role in the dietary specifications of the seven-day cleanse that flushes out the toxins and osteoporosis drugs out of your body and sets the stage for restoring the health of your bones.
Isn’t it great to know that there is so much power in what we eat? Feel empowered by this knowledge, and use it to make life-changing improvements to your bone-building habits today!
Yours in excellent health,
Vivian Goldschmidt, MA
Save Institute for Natural Health
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- The Save Our Bones All-Access Bundle which includes all of our evidence-based natural bone-building programs.
Learn more about the Save Our Bones All-Access Bundle »
- The Osteoporosis Reversal Program is the original evidence-based step-by-step natural protocol used by thousands of Savers from all around the world that reverses osteoporosis and osteopenia without drugs.
Learn more about the Osteoporosis Reversal Program »
- Bone Appétit includes over 200 bone-healthy recipes plus a 30-day meal planner. It takes the guesswork out of preparing bone-healthy meals that taste great.
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If you haven’t already signed up for her programs, consider at least going to her website and checking out what’s available.
Till next time,
“Please be kind to everyone you meet, for we all have our hidden sorrows.” Tzaddi.