While most mothers know how important veggies are for the growth and development of their toddlers, they might not be aware of the importance of variety. So, apart from the usual potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and spinach, you definitely need to introduce cruciferous vegetables in your child’s diet as well. These are essentially flower-bearing vegetables with a somewhat cross-shaped arrangement of the flower petals. The family comprises members like cauliflower, cabbage, turnip, radish, mustard, bok choi, kale, and broccoli. Most of these vegetables owe their characteristic pungent flavour to a unique compound that is known to enter the bloodstream to carry out some amazing anti-cancerous tasks. To know more, read on.

The many benefits of cruciferous vegetables

  • Enriched with anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, cruciferous vegetables are commendable immune boosters.
  • Like most other veggies, these too are a wonderful storehouse of dietary fibre! Being a tough structure to break down, the fibre ends up stimulating the digestive muscles to work harder and digest all other food better, in the process.
  • Cruciferous vegetables contain plenty of water-soluble vitamins (like folate and vitamin C). These nutrients are essential for your child’s mental development and immunity. However, since these nutrients dissolve easily in water, you must be careful about the method of cooking, to minimize the chances of these vitamins leaching out in the water you discard. Making soups and stews which reserve the water content can be a good idea. Or, you can grill or roast these veggies as well.
  • These veggies also have fat-soluble vitamins (A, E and K). They are known for their antioxidant properties, and the way they can contribute to good vision and healthy skin. Additionally, they are known for their high potassium content and can manage high blood pressure.
  • You might also be surprised to know that cruciferous vegetables are known to work remarkably well as antidepressants and pain relievers, as suggested by several studies. Additionally, a phytochemical present in these, known as sulforaphane, can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Eating these vegetables regularly can lower the risk of childhood obesity and high blood pressure in the future.

Cruciferous veggies for a healthy future

The best part about including cruciferous veggies in your toddler’s diet is that, these can lay the foundation for a healthy adulthood too. For instance, some recent studies show that sulforaphane in these veggies can act as cognitive therapy for Alzheimer’s patients! This chemical compound might have a positive impact on autistic children too. Besides, consuming these veggies can treat Helicobacter Pylori infections that can gravely disturb your child’s digestive tract by causing gastric inflammations and severe stomach ulcers.

So, going the cruciferous way can not only provide immediate nutritional benefits for your toddler, but can also reduce your child’s future vulnerability to several health issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and Alzheimer’s.

Things to remember while cooking cruciferous veggies

Luckily, most of these cruciferous vegetables can be subjected to various methods of cooking. The leafy ones can be boiled or steamed, baked to make white sauce bases, turned into soups and juices, etc. Florets of cauliflower or broccoli can be pureed, or used in salads, toppings, and even curries. Steaks and barbecue versions are always welcome too. Or, you can simply stir fry the veggies and spice it up with herbs.

However, as a precaution, remember that cruciferous vegetables are often infested with pests, which might be hidden in their multilayer structures. Cleaning them in warm salt water can be helpful in this regard. So, now, you are all set to make cabbage, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower a part of your toddler’s daily diet. If you are introducing these for the first time, do so one by one. This way, you can identify if your toddler if reacting negatively to any of the veggies.