Everything You Need to Know About Cauliflower

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Everything you need to know about cauliflower

Photo by Horia Varlan

Do you know that cauliflower reduces the risk of cancer, moves blockages within the body, is rich in nutrients and a healthy food overall?

I’ll admit it, until I was aware of just how beneficial cauliflower is to our health, my consumption was limited to nibbling flowerets off an hors d’oeuvres plate or occasionally steamed. I was naive. There are also delicious ways to prepare cauliflower such as roasted, mashed, curried or made into a healthy soup (recipes are at the end of this blog post).

Cauliflower Reduces the Risk of Cancer

There are numerous studies that have been conducted linking cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower) and cancer prevention.

A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute states, “In conclusion, these findings indicate that intakes of cruciferous and dark green vegetables, especially broccoli and cauliflower, are associated with a decreased risk of aggressive, particularly extraprostatic, prostate cancer.”

Scientists at UC Santa Barbara have published in the journal Carcinogenesis, “Breast cancer, the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women, can be protected against by eating cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage and near relatives of cabbage such as broccoli and cauliflower.”

Cauliflower contains anticancer compounds, including indoles and sulforaphane.  According to Brigitte Mars in Rawsome!: Maximizing Health, Energy, and Culinary Delight With the Raw Foods Diet, “because its anticancer compounds enhance enzyme activity that neutralizes carcinogens so they are unable to attack and transform cells, cauliflower is believed to reduce the risk of colon and stomach cancer in particular. It also aids in the body’s metabolism of excess estrogen, helping to curb breast cancer and fibrocystic breast disease.”

Consuming cauliflower is also a great preventative measure for reducing the risk of cancer because of its detoxification, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Cauliflower Moves Blockages Within the Body

Cauliflower aids in detoxification of the body. It cleanses the bodily systems, aiding in bringing them to optimal health. Metabolism will increase and stuck chi (energy) will move. A healthy flow of energy will reduce lumps, fibroids and constipation. The boost in metabolism will also burn off fat.

Cauliflower is Rich in Nutrients

Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and fiber. It is also rich in vitamin B6, omega-3 fatty acids, manganese, potassium, choline, phosphorus, bioflavonoids, biotin, boron, calcium, and sulfur. To view the full nutritional analysis for cauliflower, visit the Nutrition Facts and Analysis website.

Cauliflower as a Healthy Food Source

Cauliflower contains no cholesterol. One cup of raw cauliflower contains only 25 calories, the perfect healthy snack food. Cauliflower is considered more of a winter crop and available freshest between December and March. Look for white heads without brownish discoloration and store in the refrigerator in a plastic or paper bag.

Some of cauliflower’s cancer preventative compounds are destroyed by heat so be sure to also eat some raw or only cook long enough as necessary.

Buy a head of cauliflower, wash it, break it up into flowerets and store in a container (for up to 5 days) in the refrigerator for healthy snacking and to reduce your chances of cancer.

Roasted Cauliflower RecipeRoasted cauliflower recipe

Roasted cauliflower is a quick and delicious way to enjoy cauliflower. Roasting transforms cauliflower into a crispy, mild nutty flavored vegetable.

Wash cauliflower and cut into similar size pieces. Place in bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Add juice from 1/2 lemon, minced or powdered garlic to taste and a little black pepper. Mix together. Spread in single layer on a cookie sheet or shallow baking dish and bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes or until golden brown, turning once.

Mashed Cauliflower “Potatoes”

A delicious, healthy alternative to mashed potatoes is mashed cauliflower. This is a great recipe if you are looking to cut down on your carbohydrates and calorie intake. Although these numbers will change with what you add to the cooked vegetables, 100 grams of cooked potato has 86 calories, 20 g. of carbohydrates and 12% of the daily suggested requirement of vitamin C. 100 grams of cooked cauliflower has 23 calories, 4 g. of carbohydrates,  and 74% of the daily suggested requirement vitamin C. Potatoes are also inflammatory whereas cauliflower is anti-inflammatory. Clearly cauliflower is healthier than potatoes. They are made the same way you would make mashed potatoes. Cut the cauliflower into pieces and steam until tender. Continue as you would for mashed potatoes.

Curried Cauliflower Apple Soup Recipe

(I adapted this recipe from Feb. 1996 Gourmet)

1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 apples
4 cups cauliflower flowerets (about 1 small head)
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cup water
1/2 cup coconut milk (optional)

In a 4-quart saucepan cook onion, garlic, curry powder, and garam masala in butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until onion is softened.

Peel and core apples. Chop apples coarse and add to curry mixture. Add cauliflower, broth, and water and simmer, covered, until cauliflower is very tender, about 30 minutes.

In a blender or food processor puree soup in batches until very smooth, transferring as pureed to another saucepan. Add coconut milk (optional) and salt and pepper to taste and heat over moderate heat until hot.

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