Go ahead and cook your crucifers as long as you eat raw ones at the same meal, says a scientist from the University of Illinois, who presented her recent findings at last week’s annual conference of the American Institute of Cancer Research. (Yes, I attended.)
The problem with cooking crucifers is that heat destroys the enzyme myrosinase, which turns compounds called glucosinolates into other cancer-fighting compounds. But Dr. Elizabeth Jeffery says that if you eat raw and cooked crucifers in the same meal, the enzymes in the raw veggies will convert the glucosinolates in both the raw and cooked plants.
That’s liberating advice for those of us who slave in the kitchen to satisfy others — the modern day equivalent of trashing our girdles!
Practically speaking, what does this mean for all of us who strive to create anti-cancer recipes? What raw crucifers, for example, could you consume along with the Jittery Cook’s yummy cauliflower curry?
Eat cooked crucifers with a small radish or two, says Jeffery, or 1/2 teaspoon of wasabi or spicy mustard. Or munch on some slices of raw kohlrabi. Or here’s my favorite: Serve the curry on top of raw watercress. (Watercress, it turns out, really shouldn’t be cooked.)
And don’t forget to chew your raw crucifers. Chewing breaks down the plant’s cell walls, thus releasing all those bombshells–the anti-cancer enzymes.