Vital Veggies | Fit Pregnancy

Vital Veggies

Enjoying fruits and vegetables offers lifelong health advantages--and now a new benefit has emerged.

Enjoying fruits and vegetables offers lifelong health advantages--and now a new benefit has emerged: Eating cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, radishes and turnips, during pregnancy may lower your child's cancer risk--both in infancy and in young adulthood.

When pregnant lab animals were given supplements containing indole-3-carbinol, one of many beneficial "phytochemicals" found in cruciferous vegetables, their offspring enjoyed significant protection against certain cancers, including lung cancer and lymphoma. Protective phytochemicals like those found in the cruciferous vegetables may cross from mother to fetus during pregnancy, says study author David Williams, Ph.D., a researcher at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. They may leave fetal genes with an imprint that protects against disease.

More research remains to be done, Williams adds, but for now, pregnant women should eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. "We have yet to find any 'magic bullet' that would allow someone to take a capsule or two a day and forget about a balanced diet," he says. "Until, and if, that day comes, a balanced diet is best."

Most Popular in nutrition