Cruciferous Vegetables for Women’s Health

What are Cruciferous Vegetables?

Cruciferous vegetables are from the Brassica genus of plants and include: broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, radish, turnip, bok choi, pak choi, tatsoi, choi sum, watercress, and rocket.  Some vitamins and minerals found in these vegetables include folate, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, selenium, and calcium.  In addition, cruciferous vegetables are a great source of fibre so are excellent for gut health too. 


How do they help hormones?

They are especially beneficial for women as they contain phytochemicals (plant chemicals that are biologically active) and compounds that help you to detoxify excessive oestrogen out of the body. This can help to prevent hormonal problems such as, endometriosis and oestrogen dependant cancers such as breast cancer.

Detoxification refers to the elimination of toxic or foreign substances in the body.  An example of this could be excess oestrogen or ‘xeno-oestrogens’ (man-made oestrogen-like compounds), pesticides, petrochemicals, alcohol, bacteria, mould, and others.  An excess of these toxins or substances in the body can cause negative effects on a woman’s hormones.

But how does this detoxification occur?  Well, one major way is via the hepatobiliary system, or liver, through particular metabolic pathways known as Phase I and Phase II.   It has been suggested that particular phytochemicals, such as glucosinolates (sulfur-rich compounds) and the consequent isothiocyanates compounds in cruciferous vegetables boost components of both Phases I and Phase II liver detoxification.  Another way is via the gastrointestinal system or gut.  Other consequent compounds from glucosinolates are known as indoles.  These are also naturally occurring in cruciferous vegetables and basically stimulate digestive enzymes that allow for detoxification through the gut.  Indoles support liver detoxification via the Phase I pathway.  Lastly, both isothiocyanates and indoles may work together synergistically to enhance intracellular defences of the immune system against particular chemical agents that can damage genetic information within cells of the body.  

From this, cruciferous vegetables assist in supporting hormonal health via detoxification of toxins and harmful substances.  This can assist in hormonal regulation and may improve negative hormonal symptoms in conditions such as PMS, PCOS and endometriosis. They can also assist the body to eliminate xeno-ostrogens more effectively, therefore reducing the toxic load that we are burdened within this area.


What can they prevent?

It has been suggested that consuming cruciferous vegetables regularly in the diet may be cancer-protective.  



Here is a snippet of the research.  Indoles have a role in cancer prevention and protection during chemotherapy.  In particular, indoles allow for: (1) the 2-OH-estrone: estriol metabolite ratio to increase which then decreases the risk of ER type breast and cervical cancer; and (2) the oestrogen receptor (ER) modulating effect to work as a chemopreventive agent in breast cancer.

Research is also showing potential beneficial effects on cardiovascular health.  In particular, reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol concentration and supporting healthy cholesterol metabolism. 

In addition, cruciferous vegetables have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which essentially protect against inflammation, as well as reducing inflammation within the body.  This then maintains homeostasis of individual cell functioning in bodily systems.

But.. What about thyroid?

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck region.  Conditions such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are associated with this gland.  There is concern that eating too many cruciferous vegetables can be detrimental to the health of the thyroid, especially for those with these conditions.  Glucosinolates, or goitrogens, are also referred to as ‘goiter-causing agents’ and are the suspects in these concerns.  For example, hypothyroidism is the under-functioning of the thyroid gland.  It has been theorised that some glucosinolates may compete with iodine (one of many important cofactors in thyroid health) for uptake by the thyroid gland, which may continue the under-functioning of the thyroid.  However, this does not enhance hypothyroidism unless accompanied by an iodine deficiency.

If you are still concerned, just lightly cook them to deactivate the glucosinolates.  Only a small portion of glucosinolates are absorbed into the small intestine before reaching the large intestine.  But guess what?  Bacterial activity in the colon degrades glucosinolates, which prevents them from being reabsorbed into the body. 

How do I cook them and how much?

Cooking cruciferous vegetables is easy!  It can be as simple as steaming for between 5-10 minutes, stir-frying them in some extra-virgin olive oil or ghee until they’re slightly softened,  or baking them on a tray in the oven for 15-20 minutes.  See the below recipes for some more inspiration!  Aim for at least one cup (or two loosely packed cups) daily for their detoxification promoting effects.

We hope you are now convinced that cruciferous vegetables are a worthy addition to your daily diet!  Who would have thought that these humble vegetables are doing so many good things for our health and wellness?  How good!



Lightly cooked cruciferous vegetables are alkalising for the body, which may then promote bodily systems to optimise their appropriate pH level.


Our osteopath helps Brisbane patients to recover, heal and thrive.

Osteopathy is one of the best modalities if you’re experiencing pain, discomfort or headaches. At Shift at Brisbane Natural Health our osteopath has over 10 years experience in getting you balanced and back to living your best life. 

Osteopaths use advanced techniques that work with the natural rhythms of your own body to correct postural misalignments, areas of tension and pain and help you recover from injury.

Under the gentle care of an osteopath your body can be gently coaxed and encouraged back to where things need to be. Our osteopath uses a holistic model of health care that looks at your musculoskeletal system and where the pain originates, but also takes into account what other issues in your body may be adding to the issue.

What can osteopathy help with?

At our Brisbane clinic, our osteopath Julie Sainsbury works with patients from all walks of life – the young, the elderly and even pregnant women. Julie has over 13 years experience and has helped thousands of patients in her years of practice.

Here’s a list of the most common issues we help patients with at Shift at Brisbane Natural Health.

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Sciatica
  • Knee or foot pain
  • Hip pain
  • Muscular pain
  • Fibromyalgia

Is there any evidence for osteopathy?

The evidence behind the use of osteopathy is mounting. Because osteopathy is an individualised treatment no 2 patients will be treated the same, so it can be difficult to conduct research on the modality as a whole. Here are a collection of studies that show benefit of specific osteopathic techniques for headaches and neck pain. Here are a list of studies showing benefits for lower back and pelvic pain issues.

In most cases, we find osteopathy to be very helpful to those that are in pain.

What to Expect in Your First Treatment

Your Medical History

Your appointment will begin with a thorough medical history assessment. Your practitioner will take the time to listen to you, and ask questions so that there is a more complete understanding of the situation and circumstances that have brought you to seek help. If relevant, questions may be asked about your work routine, diet, pattern of exercise, sleep habits, etc., as these may give clues to help our assessment.  


In addition to a detailed medical history, Osteopathic assessment consists of postural observation, mobility testing and hands on palpation. The Osteopath will perform a physical examination of any structures and systems that could be related to the presenting concerns. Standard orthopaedic and neurological evaluations are performed to ensure osteopathic treatment is appropriate. If further medical investigation or medical follow up is necessary, you will be referred back to your family physician for their intervention. Osteopathy is a form of complementary medicine, designed to work together with your M.D., or other health-care practitioners.

Your Treatment

Osteopaths use a wide range of gentle manipulations, depending on your age, fitness and diagnosis. Treatment is different for every patient but may include techniques such as different types of soft tissue massage, visceral and joint manipulation to release tension, return muscles to their normal length, help relieve pain and mobilize your joints.


At your initial appointment, your osteopath will use several diagnostic techniques to assess your health. Many of these would be similar to what you’d experience in a physiotherapists office. From this information, your osteopath can then develop a custom treatment that will be able to help you as much as possible.


Your osteopathy treatment will help to begin correcting the issue right there on the table. Your recovery and results really depends on how severe the issue is, how long you have had it and what particular factors the therapist is dealing with.


Our main aim is for you to get back to where you want to be. We want to help you  resolve or manage your issue so you can live a life that you love.

We help clients from all over Brisbane – north brisbane, south brisbane and the CBD.

Our clinic is located in Milton, just a short drive from Paddington, Red Hill, Toowong, Indooroopilly, Brisbane city, Kelvin Grove and many other inner city Brisbane locations.  The Milton train station is right across the road and there is a bus stop right out front. Treat yourself to an hour of healing and renewal – book your initial appointment today.

Call our Milton clinic to find out more

Call us on 07 3367 0337 or click the online booking button to make an appointment with an osteopath at Shift at Brisbane Natural Health and start feeling great again!

Appointments are available 6 days –  Weekdays 8am – 7pm and Saturdays 8am – 2pm

Watch our client story video to see how 3 of our clients – Tessa, Tammy and Sam went through their wellness journey with us.