Cauliflower: A White Knight Against Cancer

Most of us have heard to eat all of the colors of the rainbow, and to avoid the "white stuff," such as white breads, sugars, potatoes, etc. However, cauliflower is one exception to this rule. In fact, cauliflower 'mashed potatoes' is a delicious and healthy alternative to traditional white potatoes.

Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, which means it's related to broccoli, kale, and cabbage. Cauliflower looks a lot like a tree—the head, with all its white “leaves,” is called curd and is actually undeveloped flower buds. The cauliflower is white because the green leaves at the bottom of the plant protect the curd from the sunlight, which stops the process of creating chlorophyll, the green substance that gives plants their color.

Though cauliflower isn't quite as nutrient-dense as its relative broccoli, it still has many of the same health benefits. One of the big ones is its anti-cancer properties. Like broccoli, cauliflower has two compounds, indoles and sulforaphane, which are strong antioxidants and are the chemicals primarily responsible for cauliflower's anti-cancer powers. When we eat cauliflower, the sulforaphane enters the bloodstream and helps to boost the antioxidant capabilities of the body. Then, at the cellular level, sulforaphane helps to detoxify the liver of carcinogens, which are cancer-causing molecules, and remove them safely from the body. Because of the strong antioxidants that cauliflower contains, it also is a great food for boosting and maintaining a strong immune system. In addition to the antioxidants, cauliflower has vitamin C and folate, two nutrients known to boost the immune system. Cauliflower is also a great source of the B vitamins, vitamin K, potassium, phosphorus, boron, and fiber.

Cauliflower "Mashed Potatoes"

Serves 3 to 4

  • 1 large cauliflower (preferably organic)
  • 4 to 5 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • Salt
  • 2½ tablespoons good-tasting extra-virgin olive oil
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
Get the rest of the recipe at nbc.com

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