The beneficial effects of Brassica vegetables on human health.

Department of Human Nutrition, Agricultural University of Cracow, Cracow, Poland.

Roczniki Panstwowego Zakladu Higieny. 2012;(4):389-95


The products of plant origin are a rich source of biologically active substances, both nutritive and referred as anti-nutritive. A large group of these compounds are substances with antioxidant activity that fights against free radicals. In the family of Brassicaceae vegetables, Brassica, is the largest and most widely consumed a group of plants in Europe and all over the world. They are characterized by different levels of nutrients. However because of their large and frequent consumption, they may become a significant source of nutrients and bioactive compounds in the daily diet. The beneficial effects of Brassica vegetables on human health have been somewhat linked to phytochemicals. They prevent oxidative stress, induce detoxification enzymes, stimulate immune system, decrease the risk of cancers, inhibit malignant transformation and carcinogenic mutations, as well as, reduce proliferation of cancer cells. Brassica vegetables contain a lot of valuable metabolites, which are effective in chemoprevention of cancer, what has been already documented by numerous studies. Due to the presence of vitamins C and E, carotenoids and antioxidant enzymes such as catalase, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and peroxidase, these vegetables are considerable source ofantioxidants, and due to the presence of polyphenols and the sulfur-organic compounds exert also antimutagenic action. Moreover, these vegetables are also rich in glucosinolates, which are unstable compounds and undergo degradation into biologically active indoles and isothiocyanates under the influence of enzyme presented in plant tissues- myrosynase. These substances through the induction of enzymatic systems I and II phase of xenobiotics metabolism may affect the elimination or neutralization of carcinogenic and mutagenic factors, and consequently inhibit DNA methylation and cancer development. Despite many healthy benefits upon eating of cruciferous vegetables, it has been also seen a negative impact of their certain ingredients on the human body.

Methodological quality

Publication Type : Review


MeSH terms : Eating