Contributed by Jennifer Dawson

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US, with obesity and sedentary lifestyles doing plenty to contribute to current mortality rates. Dehydrated foods are an ideal way to fight obesity and enjoy nutrition-packed meals and they can help to lower your likelihood of heart disease. The risk of developing additional diseases which are common among women - including breast and ovarian cancers, can also be prevented through a multifaceted approach that includes sound nutrition. If you love the convenience, taste, and low-calorie count of dehydrated produce, dehydrated vegetables are a great place to start.

What do the Studies Say about Cruciferous Vegetables?

Studies have shown that nutritional choices affect reproductive health in a powerful way. Processed foods, sugar, and refined products made with trans fats, for instance, can increase the risk of specific cancers. A study undertaken at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, however, has found that cruciferous vegetables (including broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower) can help prevent female cancers as well as improve the survival rate of women with breast cancer. Another study by scientists at the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that eating more cruciferous vegetables can help prevent ovarian cancer and breast cancer, as well as other cancers common to both men and women - including colon cancer! Dehydrated vegetables like broccoli can be enjoyed on their own, or sprinkled over your favorite salad or soup. Even kids love broccoli when it’s served this way, making dehydrated cruciferous vegetables an ideal snack choice.

Cruciferous Vegetables, Breast Cancer, and Menopause 

One 2017 study undertaken at Georgetown University Medical Center found that consuming soy foods and cruciferous vegetables may help reduce the side effects of breast cancer treatment. The same study showed that higher intake of these foods was also linked to fewer menopausal symptoms. The researchers stated that because symptoms of breast cancer treatment can affect patients’ quality of life, understanding the importance of lifestyle choices is key.

The List of Cruciferous Vegetables is Vast

Most people think of the ‘big three’ when it comes to cruciferous vegetables, and are surprised at how large the full list actually is. Just a few additional items to add to your shopping list for dehydrated products are collard greens, horseradish, radish,  watercress, pak choi, and arugula. Many of these items - particularly radish and turnips - make for beautiful crisp-style snacks you can surprise guests with. Serve them as is or as toppers for pasta or meat dishes.

Why do Cruciferous Vegetables Protect Women’s Health?

The secret of cruciferous vegetables in terms of cancer prevention, scientists have found, is a phytochemical called sulforaphane, which is actually able to alter gene expression in metastasized cancer cells. Researchers believe that sulforaphane may therefore be of use as an adjunct to existing therapies. They added that this powerful phytochemical “has shown toxicity to a number of human cancer cell lines, including prostate, breast, ovarian, colon and pancreatic cancer.”

Breast and ovarian cancer are two of the most common cancers affecting women. Research sheds light on the importance of a sound diet comprising foods like cruciferous vegetables, for prevention and symptom improvement. Women who are on the go and who wish to enjoy a healthy snack while at work or out in nature can rely on dehydrated cruciferous vegetables as an easy, practical way to increase their intake of powerful phytochemicals.