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Can Cruciferous Vegetable Consumption Reduce the Risk of Stomach Cancer?

Posted by Manuela Boyle on 27 December 2021
Can Cruciferous Vegetable Consumption Reduce the Risk of Stomach Cancer?

Cruciferous vegetables are a part of the Brassica family of plants which include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, arugula, turnip greens, watercress and mustard. These are named so as their four-petal flowers resemble a cross or crucifer (one who carries a cross).

Cruciferous vegetables are no less than any superfoods, as these are packed with several nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants & dietary fibres including sulforaphane, genistein, melatonin, folic acid, indole-3-carbinol, carotenoids, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, omega-3 fatty acids and more. In the last two decades, the association of cruciferous vegetable intake with the risk of different types of cancer were extensively studied and researchers mostly found an inverse association between the two.

But, will adding cruciferous vegetables to our diet reduce the risk of Stomach Cancer? Let’s glance through a recent study published in Nutrition and Cancer and understand what the experts say! 

A clinical study conducted at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York, analyzed a questionnaire-based data from patients who were recruited between 1992 and 1998 as part of the Patient Epidemiology Data System (PEDS).(Maia E. W. Morrison et al, Nutr Cancer.,2020) The study included data from 292 stomach cancer patients and 1168 cancer-free patients with non-cancer diagnoses. 93% of the patients included in the study were Caucasian and were aged between 20 and 95 years.

Below is the summary of the key findings of the study:    

  1. High intake of total cruciferous vegetables, raw cruciferous vegetables, raw broccoli, raw cauliflower and Brussels sprouts was associated with 41%, 47%, 39%, 49% and 34% reduction in the risk of stomach cancer respectively.
  2. High intake of total vegetables, cooked cruciferous, non-cruciferous vegetables, cooked Broccoli, cooked cabbage raw cabbage, cooked cauliflower, greens and kale and sauerkraut had no significant association with the risk of stomach cancer.

In short, this study suggested that high intake of raw cruciferous vegetables may be associated with a low risk of stomach cancer. The chemopreventive property as well as the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-estrogenic properties of the cruciferous vegetables may be attributed to their key active compounds/micronutrients such as sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol. Many previous population-based studies have also shown strong association between higher consumption of cruciferous vegetables and reduced risk of other types of cancers including lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, renal cell carcinoma, ovarian cancer and breast cancer (American Institute of Cancer Research). The bottom line is, adding cruciferous vegetables to our daily diet in adequate amounts may help us reap health benefits, including cancer prevention.

Author:Manuela Boyle
Tags:NewsPrevention & RecoveryCancerFood as Medicine

Associations

  • The Institute for Functional Medicine
  • Society for Integrative Oncology
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology
  • Australian Traditional-Medicine Society
  • Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia