Cauliflower ~ Super Vegetables
Inhibit tumor growth
Boost the immune system
Mark Twain once called cauliflower "a cabbage with a college education" a bit more refined, perhaps, but essentially the same plain-Jane vegetable.
What Twain didn't know is just how valuable this super vegetable is in our quest for good health.
(If he had, Huckleberry Finn and Jim might have spent their days eating this veggie raw, instead of greasy catfish fillets.)
Like other members of the cruciferous family, this super vegetable is loaded with nutrients that seem to wage war against a host of diseases, including cancer.
It's also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals that are essential for keeping the immune system strong.
Although cauliflower's darker-hued brother, broccoli, has gotten most of the attention for its healing potential, this super vegetable is also generously endowed with cancer-preventing powers.
In fact, it's one of the most powerful healing foods you can buy.
Researchers have found two potent munitions in cauliflower's cancer fighting arsenal: the phytonutrients sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol, or IC3.
Getting the Gout
Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Henry VIII all had one thing in common.
They should have stayed away from cauliflower.
If you have gout, like they did, you should, too.
It contains amino acids called purines that break down into uric acid in the body.
The uric acid crystals can trigger a painful case of gout, a form of arthritis that occurs when the sharp edged crystals jab into the joints, causing pain and swelling.
If you have gout and can't eat this particular super vegetable, you can still get the same cancerfighting benefits from its cruciferous siblings like broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts, which contain lower concentrations of purines.
These compounds, which are found in all cruciferous vegetables, may be the reason that studies consistently show that folks who make a habit of crunching crucifers are less likely to get cancer.
In one study, 145 laboratory animals were exposed to high doses of an extremely powerful cancer-causing agent.
Of those, 120 were given high levels of protective sulforaphane.
Fifty days later, 68 percent of the unprotected animals had breast tumors, compared with only 26 percent of those that received the sulforaphane.
Sulforaphane works by stepping up the production of enzymes in your body that sweep toxins out the door before they can damage your body's cells, making them cancerous.
Cauliflower's other tumor-squelching compound, I3C, works as an anti-estrogen.
In other words, it reduces levels of harmful estrogens that can foster tumor growth in hormone-sensitive cells, like those in the breasts and prostate gland.
That's why, although studies show that people who eat cruciferous vegetables are protected from all kinds of cancers, these foods are probably most useful for fighting cancers of
the colon, breast, and prostate.
Cauliflower does more than protect against cancer.
It's also packed with vitamin-C and folate, two nutrients that are well-known for keeping your immune system in peak condition.
Just three uncooked florets of this crisp crucifer supply 67 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin-C, more than the amount in a tangerine or a white grapefruit.
By upping your level of vitamin-C, along with other antioxidant vitamins like vitamin-E and beta-carotene, you can keep your immune system strong while staving off a host of conditions, among them heart disease, cancer, and cataracts.
It also contains folate, which is important because too little folate is perhaps the country's most common nutritional deficiency.
Three uncooked florets provide 9 percent of the DV for folate.
Since folate can help blood work more efficiently, it's often recommended for preventing anemia.
In addition, research has shown that folate is essential for normal tissue growth.
Not getting enough folate over the long term could set the stage for diseases like cancer and heart disease down the road, say researchers.
Folate is particularly important for women of childbearing age because it plays an important role in preventing birth defects of the brain and spinal column.
A Crucifer Combo
Maybe you don't like the cabbage like flavor.
Or the way those stringy florets get stuck between your teeth.
Is there a way to combine the benefits of crucifers with a taste and texture you enjoy?
Look for that nitro-green vegetable in the produce section, the one that looks like cauliflower on Saint Patrick's Day: broccoflower.
A California-born hybrid that combines the best of broccoli and cauliflower, brocco-flower is sweeter, milder, and easier to chew than either of its parents.
Plus it has more nutrients: a half-cup serving has as much as 125 percent of the Daily Value for vitamin-C.
It's also rich in tumor-squelching phytonutrients like sulforaphane and indoles, experts say.
Getting the Most
Look for a clear complexion.
Unless you're lucky enough to live near a farmer's market, it's not always easy to find this super vegetable that's truly at its nutritional prime.
But wherever you shop, always avoid if it has brown spots on its ivory (or purple) florets.
That means that it's already past its nutritional peak.
Enjoy it raw.
To keep the cancer-fighting indoles intact, keep it out of the heat.
Your best bet is either eating it raw or cooking it quickly in a steamer, wok, or microwave.
Boiling is the worst way to cook this crucifer.
Submerging in the hot, roiling water will cause it to lose about half of its valuable indoles.
If you're wondering how to include it with tonight's dinner, may we suggest;
Roasted Cauliflower and Aged White Cheddar Soup
It never ceases to amaze me how simple vegetable soups like this one can be so good with so few ingredients and that might be why we keep coming back to them.
The main vegetable in this soup is of course the one we've been discussing and it's roasted before being added to the soup to concentrate its flavor and to get a bit of caramelization going.
Up next is the basics with the onions and garlic followed by the herb of choice, thyme and finally the cheese.
For the cheese we went with a white cheddar, and one trick to keep in mind when adding cheese to soup like this is that if you use a stronger flavored cheese like an aged cheddar then you won't need to use as much of it to get the same flavor.
This soup can be amazingly creamy if you use heavy cream for some of the liquid but you can keep it on the lighter
side by using milk.
If you're not worried about trying to keep things on the lighter side then cook some double smoked bacon for garnish and use the grease to saute the onions and garlic.
This will add even more flavor and a really nice smokiness.
A creamy white cheddar cauliflower soup with a hint of thyme.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 Tbs. oil
1 Tbs. oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. thyme, chopped
3 c. vegetable broth
1 1/2 c. aged white cheddar, shredded
1 c. milk or cream
salt and pepper to taste
Toss the cauliflower florets in the oil along with the salt and pepper and arrange them in a single layer on a large baking sheet.
Roast the cauliflower in a preheated 400F oven until lightly golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.
Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat.
Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
Add the garlic and thyme and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
Add the broth and cauliflower, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
Puree the soup until it reaches your desired consistency with a stick blender.
Mix in the cheese, let it melt and season with salt and pepper.
Mix in the milk, remove from heat and serve.
We hope you enjoy!
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