Cruciferous vegetables -What if some of the cancer-fighting compounds and chemicals found in certain fruits and vegetables are most effective in the earliest stages of disease, or even before the cancer can be detected?
What if some of the cancer-fighting compounds and chemicals found in certain fruits and vegetables are most effective in the earliest stages of disease, or even before the cancer can be detected? This is precisely the question that was asked of the cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, and kale.
Carcinogens, or substances that are known to cause cancer, are ingested and incorporated into the body on a regular basis. Fortunately, the body's defense system includes specialized proteins that help to clear out the different carcinogens before they wreak havoc. Early in the development of prostate cancer, a group of these protective proteins is knocked out, allowing the damage caused by the carcinogens to spread. Sulforaphane, a compound found in cruciferous vegetables, increases activity of proteins that enable the body to clean up the damage caused by these carcinogens, thereby helping to slow down the cancer growth process.
In a number of long-term studies, no association was found between cruciferous vegetable intake overall and the risk of prostate cancer development. However, something intriguing was noted in one of these studies: men who consumed 5 or more servings of cruciferous vegetables per week up to 8 years earlier showed a 10% to 20% lower risk of developing prostate cancer. Biologically speaking, this makes sense. Because sulforaphane enables the body's protective proteins to do a better job at clearing out carcinogens, it would clearly be most effective during those periods that carcinogens are most active—when the tumor cells are first starting to grow, well before the disease is clinically detectable..