According to researchers at Michigan State University and the National Food and Nutrition Institute of Warsaw in Poland, eating sauerkraut and raw cabbage may significantly reduce a women’s risk of developing breast cancer.
To study the relationship between sauerkraut consumption and breast cancer risk, researchers evaluated the diet of Polish immigrants living in the areas surrounding Chicago and Detroit.
The study, triggered by one of the researchers observation that breast cancer risk of polish women rose three-fold upon immigrating to the United States, found that women who ate at least three servings a week of raw- or short-cooked cabbage and sauerkraut had a significantly reduced breast cancer risk compared with those who only ate one serving per week.
In Poland women traditionally eat an average of 30 pounds of cabbage and sauerkraut per year, as opposed to just 10 pounds per year among American women.
Researchers found the lowest rate of breast cancer to be among women who consumed high amounts of raw- or short-cooked cabbage during adolescence.
Researchers believe that high levels of glucosinolates, compounds found in cabbage, and known to have anti-cancer activity in the lab, are responsible for the association between cabbage and sauerkraut consumption, and a lower risk of breast cancer.
Other cruciferous vegetables that contain glucosinolates include broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale. However, research has shown that these compounds are destroyed by storage and processing. Chopping, on the other hand, helps to increase the availability of compounds.
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