02 Nov

Cauliflower: The White ‘Green’ Vegetable


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 its nutritional value, but as a cook I love that it is so 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.

Here are 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 excellent 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!

Click here to try my tasty Cauliflower Whip recipe. Great subsitute for mashed potatoes!



# Kali 2015-11-08 15:25
Is vitamin K found in the white part of cauliflower or the green stems in the cauliflower?
# Julie Daniluk 2015-11-09 09:59
Hi Kali,

The white part of the cauliflower has 140 mcg of Vitamin K per cup (cooked) which puts it in the top 20 for Vitamin K foods! The green leaves will have a higher amount but the white part is still an excellent source.

Cheers, Julie
# Lola 2015-11-08 21:32
Do you have suggestions to reduce gassiness when eating cauliflower?
# Julie Daniluk 2015-11-09 15:04
Hi Lola,

Human beings lack the enzyme to break down raffinose, which means it doesn't get broken down in the small intestine. Instead, raffinose gets passed down to the large intestine where bacteria attempt to break it down as much as possible. This process can produce a lot of gas, particularly if you aren't used to eating foods with raffinose in them. Other foods high in raffinose include beans, cabbage, brussels sprouts and asparagus.

Supplements that contain the enzyme alpha-galactosidase can break down the raffinose in broccoli, which can potentially help prevent gas formation, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. The enzyme typically comes in liquid or tablet form and is taken right before eating to help break down the problematic sugar. It typically only takes one tablet to do the trick, or about five drops if it's in liquid form. A study published in "Digestive Diseases and Sciences" in January 2007 found that participants who ate beans, which contain high amounts of raffinose, and also took alpha-galactosidase experienced significantly reduced gas production when compared with subjects who took a placebo.

If you find that taking an enzyme with alpha-galactosidase doesn't reduce gas when eating broccoli, it's possible that the high amount of fiber in broccoli is to blame, particularly if you aren't used to eating a lot of fiber or are consuming a lot of other foods high in fiber. The bacteria in your intestines eventually get used to the increased fiber, but it may help to consume a smaller portion of broccoli and then gradually increase the amount you consume until your system can adjust.

Cheers, Julie

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