July 17, 2012

Veggie Fact of the Day

Cauliflower is a white, flowering vegetable belonging to the cruciferous family - which also includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, cabbage, and bok choy. 

Cauliflower is very low in calories (26 calories/100 g), and virtually no fat or cholesterol and it is super rich in dietary fiber (2 g/100 g). Cauliflower florets apparently contain several anti-cancer phytochemicals like sulforaphane and plant sterols such as indole-3-carbinol which appears to function as an anti-estrogen agent. Together these compounds have proven benefits against prostate, breast, cervical, colon, ovarian cancers by virtue of their cancer cell growth inhibition, cytotoxic effects on cancer cells. One Canadian study found that eating a half cup of cauliflower per day reduced the risk of prostate cancer by 52%. It also contains Di-indolyl-methane (DIM), a lipid soluble compound that has been found effective as an immune modulator, an anti-bacterial and an anti-viral compound by potentiating Interferon-Gamma receptors and its production.

Fresh cauliflower is excellent source of vitamin C, an excellent antioxidant that boosts immunity and prevents against infections and cancers. It also contains good amounts of many essential B-complex group of vitamins such as folates (B9), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6) and thiamin (B1), niacin (B3) as well as vitamin K. As a source of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin K, cauliflower can help to prevent chronic inflammation that leads to conditions such as arthritis, chronic pain, and certain bowel conditions. It has also been shown to contain allicin, which has been found to reduce the occurrence of stroke and heart disease. Additionally, cauliflower can help to lower cholesterol levels in the body. It is also good source of minerals such as manganese, copper, iron, calcium and potassium. Manganese is used in the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase. Potassium is an important intracellular electrolyte helps counter the hypertension effects of sodium. Cauliflower is a great food to include in your diet if you're trying to lose weight because it is low in calories and can be used in a variety of ways. Grated into rice, as intact florets in stir-fries and boiled and mashed in place of mashed potatoes.

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