Seinfeld’s “Newman” may have called broccoli a vile weed, but he had no idea what he was missing health-wise with that cruciferous catch.

ground beef and kaleBroccoli and other cruciferous vegetables can help protect health in significant ways, and this likely applies to your dog too.

Cruciferous vegetables are named after their four petals resembling a cross, or ‘crucifer.’ There are also ‘headless’ versions which do not fit this description. Conventional cruciferous vegetables include Newman’s favorite, broccoli, along with broccoli rabe, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, turnips and cabbage; headless crucifers include kale and collard greens. Several other cruciferous veggies exist but may be too spicy for dogs. These include horseradish and arugula.

Cruciferous vegetables can help fight cancer

Cancer and many other diseases are now common in dogs. Several studies support the use of cruciferous vegetables to combat cancer, including one from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, which found these edible treasures contain several compounds that can help prevent cancer by removing carcinogens and suppressing tumor growth.

Protecting your dog’s heart is an additional benefit

While they’re at it being superheroes, these veggies can also protect the heart, according to many studies like the one from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Heart health is becoming an increasingly concerning issue in dogs, too, with the rising incidence of dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs. (See my post on this issue,)

These vegetables also offer many vitamins, minerals and water.

One thing to note about crucifers. They can have goitrogenic effects, which means they can interact with thyroid function. However, never fear! Cooking appears to destroy the compound responsible for this effect. Cooking also makes them more digestible for your dogs. So feel free to include cooked broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collards and more in your dog’s diet. You will be doing him a favor in numerous ways.

Putting an excellent dog diet together

I am here to help you create a truly supportive diet for your dog. I hope you will consider spending some time with me and we will work together to make it happen!

Best wishes,

Sarah Whitman, MS