Cruciferous Vegetables

The cruciferous vegetables are broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy and kale. According to AICR's second expert report, Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective , non-starchy vegetables, like those listed above, probably protect against some types of cancers. This protective effect is strongest for cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, and stomach.

Research on cruciferous vegetables highlights several components that have been linked to lower cancer risk, including glucosinolates , crambene , indole-3-carbinol and, especially, isothiocyanates (which are derived from glucosinolates).

Several laboratory studies have suggested that cruciferous vegetables help regulate a complex system of bodily enzymes that defend against cancer. Components of these vegetables have shown the ability to stop the growth of cancer cells in various cell, tissue and animal models, including tumors of the breast, endometrium, lung, colon, liver, colon and cervix.

The Research

AICR has funded research on the following topics relating to cruciferous vegetables and the cancer-fighting components they contain. Click each topic to search for relevant AICR-funded research studies performed to date.

Read the full list of AICR’s Recommendations for Cancer Prevention.

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