New research from the Linus Pauling Institute gives pregnant women another very good reason to eat their veggies

Promising results are developing from the first research ever showing cancer protection of offspring through a mother’s diet. Researchers at the Lining Pauling Institute at Oregon State University found cancer risk was dramatically reduced in offspring of mice that consumed substances derived from cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower and cabbage.

The studies showed that offspring of mice that ingested a phytochemical supplement derived from cruciferous vegetables called indole- 3- carbinole (I3C) during pregnancy were much less likely to get cancer, even when exposed to a known carcinogen. Even after being weaned from the mother’s breast milk and never encountering this protective chemical again, the offspring were protected from cancer well into middle age. The effect of the I3C in the mother’s diets was considerable, reducing the number of lung tumors in the offspring by one-third and significantly protecting offspring from death due to lymphoma- the most common childhood cancer. The doses given to pregnant and nursing mothers in this study were equivalent to about twice the amount that a person would consume if taking a commercially available form of the I3C dietary supplement. With further research, there may be a dietary supplement that women can take during their pregnancy to prevent their children from getting cancer.

Until then, pregnant women can strive to incorporate more of these antioxidant-rich veggies into their daily diets. Veggies that contain indole-3 carbinole include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts and are considered cruciferous vegetables.

Cruciferous vegetables are one of the most nutrient-packed veggies out there. Not only are they high in vitamin A carotenoids, vitamin K, vitamin C, folic acid, and fiber, but 100 calories' worth of cruciferous vegetables typically provides somewhere between one-third and one-half of a gram of omega-3 fat (333-500 milligrams). This omega-3 fat is primarily in the form of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which serves as the basic building block for all other forms of omega-3 fats in the body.

Try adding any of these nutrition superstars to a salad, top your pizza with broccoli, cook some stuffed cabbage for an Irish-inspired dinner, puree cauliflower and add to mashed potatoes for a nutrition-boost, or snack on them crudités-style with dip. Two to three servings of green leafy vegetables are recommended during pregnancy and one serving equals approximately one cup-but feel free to go above and beyond these guidelines as the health benefits of this group of veggies continues to grow. You’ll be doing your and your baby’s body good by “getting green” (and leafy) before, during, and after pregnancy.

Source: Linus Pauling Institute

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