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Eating raw cruciferous vegetables can reduce the risk of bladder cancer, according to studies conducted by researchers from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute.The cruciferous vegetable family includes broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, arugula, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, daikon, garden cress, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, radish, rape (canola), rapini, rutabaga, tatsoi, turnip, wasabi and watercress.In one study, Roswell Park researchers found that the risk of bladder cancer in rats decreased as the amount of freeze-dried broccoli sprout extract in their diets increased. In another study, people who ate as little as three servings of cruciferous vegetables per month had a 40 percent lower risk of bladder cancer than those who ate less. No benefit was found, however, in those who ate the vegetables cooked.Much of the vegetables' cancer-fighting effect is attributed naturally occurring plant compounds known as isothiocyanates. Isothiocyanates have been linked to decreased risk of both cancerous and noncancerous tumors, and at least one variety has been observed to induce cell death even in chemotherapy-resistant cancer lines.Cooking can destroy 60 to 90 percent of a meal's isothiocyanate content.Isothiocyanates and other components of cruciferous vegetables are believed to help regulate an enzyme response that helps the body protect itself against cancer. In addition to bladder cancer, cruciferous vegetables and their chemical components have been found to protect against cancers of the breast, cervix, colon, endometrium, liver and lung."When they are eaten raw, they induce a kind of enzyme that may detoxify carcinogens," said Roswell Park's James Marshall. A press release from the institute cited the case of Katie Herdlein, who boosted her intake of fruits and vegetables to help her get through chemotherapy.

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