Something we hear a lot of these days is “Don’t eat white foods” or “Avoid white bread, white pasta, white rice and sugar.” And so, with our new-found focus on eating a rainbow of veggies, it’s easy to lose sight of foods that are naturally white and incredibly good for us.
A great example of this is cauliflower. As a nutritionist, I love cauliflower for it’s nutritional value, but as a cook I love that it is sooooo versatile! It can be puréed for a dairy substitute in a soup, it can be whipped to mimic mashed potatoes, it can be roasted for a crispy snack or eaten raw with a dip.
Five reasons to buy cauliflower on your next shop:
1. Cauliflower can prevent ulcers. Cauliflower contains a compound called sulforaphane that acts as an antibacterial agent for the bacteria helicobacter pylori. This type of bacteria is found in the stomach and is one of the biggest causes of gastric ulcers, as well as being linked to stomach cancer. Sulforaphane has also been shown to kill the bacteria that have become resistant to conventional antibiotics!
2. Cauliflower is great for the prostate. In all of the vegetable kingdom, cauliflower contains one of the highest levels of the compound I3C (Indole-3-carbinol). In many studies, I3C has stopped the growth of cancerous cells in the prostate and caused cell death of existing cancer cells.
3. Cauliflower lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease. As a member of the cruciferous family, cauliflower has been shown in studies to decrease the occurrence of stroke. Cauliflower also has a high vitamin C content that combats free radical damage to the arteries and prevents the build-up of artery clogging cholesterol, lowering the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
4. Cauliflower is an amazing source of vitamin K. Vitamin K is known for it’s wonderful ability to boost bone strength. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows a positive relationship between dietary vitamin K intake and bone mineral density (BMD) in women.
Note:When people are on blood thinners such as warfrin for cardiovascular disease, it’s important to balance intake of vitamin K foods because they assist the body with blood clotting.
5. Try snacking on raw cauliflower to activate cancer preventing enzymes. Chewing on raw cauliflower releases a group of compounds called glucosinolates, which inhibit the oxidization of benzopyrenes. Benzopyrenes are present in many meats that have been charred or cooked on high temperature grills. When benzopyrenes are oxidized, this mutation creates cancer-causing compounds. So be sure to serve a raw veggie platter that includes cauliflower at your next BBQ to combat this reaction!
Mashed cauliflower recipe
Puréed cauliflower has the same texture as mashed potatoes and is an excellent source of B-vitamins, vitamin-C, and fibre. By replacing potato, you can balance blood sugar levels for diabetics and slash calories (one cup/250 mL of mashed potato contains 200 calories compared to 100 for this cauliflower whip).
2 cups (500 mL) filtered water
1 small head cauliflower
1/4 cup (60 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp (5 mL) grey sea salt or pink rock salt (reduce if needed)
1 tsp (5 mL) lemon juice
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
1. Cut the cauliflower into florets. Place them in a large pot with the water over high heat and cover.
2. Steam for 6-8 minutes or until soft when pierced with a knife. Uncover, and remove from heat.
3. Transfer the cooked cauliflower, garlic, salt, lemon juice and olive oil to a food processor or blender and purée until very smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl using a rubber spatula.
Makes 2 cups (500 mL).
Julie Daniluk hosts Healthy Gourmet (OWN: the Oprah Winfrey Network), a reality cooking show that highlights the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition. Her first book, Meals That Heal Inflammation (Random House) is now available and will help people enjoy allergy-free foods that taste great and assist the body in the healing process.