Natural Health Tips

The Health-Protective Benefits of Cauliflower

The cauliflower has many health-promoting attributes. It provides powerful backup for the liver in cleansing the body and removing toxins that cause cell damage, leading to cancer and other diseases. It also contains phytochemicals that help to strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammatory conditions.

Cauliflower is a member of the Brassicaceae family that includes Brussels sprouts, cabbage and broccoli. It is a crucifer: a sulfur-containing vegetable that forms a compact head referred to as a "curd". There are three main varieties of cauliflower: white cauliflower, which is the most commonly consumed type, broccoflower (a mix between cauliflower and broccoli), and romanesco, which grows a yellow-green color.

Cauliflower is an excellent source of fiber, as well as Vitamin C and zinc, both crucial for strengthening the immune system, as well as a good source of the B vitamins biotin and folate. Cauliflower contains a phytochemical called sulforaphane, which helps the liver produce enzymes that block cancer-causing chemicals from damaging the body.

Health Benefits

Skin and hair Problems

Biotin, a water-soluble vitamin found in cauliflower, has been shown to control dandruff. Biotin also helps thicken nails and reduce splitting and cracking.

Cancer Prevention

In a study published in the British Journal of Cancer, researchers reported on the cancer-fighting properties of indole-3-carinol (I3C). This study showed that what we eat can influence cancer genes. Several other studies support this direction for further investigation into breast cancer. Researchers have seen that the chemical sulforaphane, found in cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, stopped lung cancer cells in an animal trial, and helped kill off and stop the growth of prostate cancer cells in a test tube study on human cells.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Researchers who followed a group of older women for over ten years found that those who consumed more cruciferous vegetables had a decreased risk of rheumatoid arthritis.

Tips on Using Cauliflower

  • Keep cauliflower refrigerated to avoid moisture buildup and rapid spoiling, preferably in the crisper drawer, for up to a week.

  • To minimize the smell and nutrient loss from cauliflower, steam the florets for a short amount of time, no longer than three to five minutes.

  • Eating some of the tender green leaves closest to the flower will increase the amounts of Vitamin C, Beta-carotene and folic acid, than eating just the florets.

  • Add raw cauliflower to vegetable salads, and cooked cauliflower to soups, casseroles or quiche.

References

  • Fan S, Meng Q, Auborn K, Carter T, Rosen EM. BRCA1 and BRCA2 as molecular targets for phytochemicals indole-3-carbinol and genistein in breast and prostate cancer cells. Br J cancer. 2006 Feb 13;94(3):407-26.

  • Anand R, Biedebach M, Jevning R. Cruciferous vegetables and Human Breast Cancer: An Important Interdisciplinary Hypothesis in the Field of diet and cancer. Family Economics and nutrition Review. 1999;12(2).

  • Brandi G et al. Mechanisms of action and antiproliferative properties of Brassica oleracea juice in human breast cancer cell lines. J Nutr. 2005 Jun;135(6):1503-9.

  • Kuttan G, Thejass P. Antimetastatic activity of Sulforaphane. Life Sci. 2006 May 22; 78(26):3043-50.

  • Herman-Antosiewicz A, Johnson DE, Singh SV. Sulforaphane causes autophagy to inhibit release of cytochrome C and apotosis in human prostate cancer cells. Cancer res. 2006 Jun 1; 66(11):5828-35.

  • Cerhan J, Criswell L, Merlino L, Mikuls T, Saag K. Antioxidant Micronutrients and Risk of Rheumatoid arthritis in a Cohort of Older Women. Am J Epidemiol. 2003; 157:345-354.