With its rich supply of health-promoting phytochemicals, high level of anti-inflammatory compounds, cauliflower is generally considered one of the healthiest foods on earth—and there is good reason why. Studies have shown its ability to ward off cancer, heart disease, brain disease, and even weight gain, and so it seems there isn’t much cauliflower can’t do.
Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous vegetable (or Brassicaceae) family, along with broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts. Some recent studies suggest that these cruciferous vegetables are an excellent source of antioxidants.
It’s believed that brassica vegetables are the largest source of phenolic compounds in the human diet due to their high levels of phytochemicals, as well as delivering healthy doses of carotenoids, essential vitamins, fiber, and minerals.
1. Decreases Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Researchers now know that high levels of inflammation throughout the body directly correlate to an increased risk for heart disease and stroke. Cauliflower’s anti-inflammatory properties, found specifically in its supply of omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin K, and Vitamin C, help to keep arteries and blood vessels plaque-free which lowers high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
2. Reduces Cancer Risk
We know, through numerous long term studies, the strong tie between diet and risk for developing cancer. Studies demonstrate that cauliflower is especially useful for preventing breast cancer in addition to colon, liver, lung, and stomach cancers.
Cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables are also rich in glucosinolates, which gives it its signature smell when cooked. Glucosinolates possess a protective quality, known to break down during the digestion process, into active compounds that help to prevent cancer cells from growing and help repair DNA.
3. Wards Off Inflammation
Inflammation is at the center of nearly all chronic disease that plagues society today. Known to be rich in numerous antioxidants, like boswellia serrata, including beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, caffeic acid, and cinnamic acid, cauliflower’s anti-inflammatory compounds lower oxidative stress and the presence of free-radicals in our body.
Just a one-cup serving of cauliflower contains about 75% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C, helping further reduce inflammation and boost immunity.
4. Improves Digestion
Certain compounds found in cauliflower—sulforaphane, glucobrassicin, glucoraphanin, and gluconasturtiian—are very useful for helping the body to detox due to how they support liver function.
Cruciferous vegetables are beneficial for digestion and detoxification because of their rich supply of sulfur containing compounds called glucosinolates, which support proper nutrient absorption and toxin and waste removal, and stimulate what are known as Phase II enzymes, the body’s natural antioxidant system.
Phase II enzymes help to trigger the liver to produce detoxifying enzymes that block free-radical damage. At the same time sulforaphane facilitates detox and digestion by preventing bacterial overgrowth from occurring in the gut microflora, keeping bad bacteria from overwhelming the digestive system and allowing good bacteria to thrive.
And if you like this cauliflower crust, did you know that cauliflower can be made as a brown rice substitute, too?
Time: 1.5 hours
1 head cauliflower, stalk removed
3 small Leeks, cleaned and chopped
4 ounces wild Mushroom blend, roughly chopped
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Break the cauliflower into florets and pulse in a food processor until fine.
4. Steam cauliflower in a steamer basket and drain well by putting it on a towel to get all the moisture out, then allow to cool.
5. In a bowl, combine the cauliflower with the mozzarella, Parmesan, oregano, salt, garlic powder and eggs.
6. Transfer to the center of the baking sheet and spread into a circle, resembling a pizza crust. Bake for 20 minutes.
7. Saute the leeks and wild mushrooms in a pan with olive oil, over medium heat, until leeks are translucent.
8. Spread leeks and wild mushrooms evenly over cauliflower pizza crust and bake an additional 10 minutes.
9. Garnish with shaved Parmesan and enjoy!
Leeks have much to offer in the way of good health and, like garlic, it's thought that much of their therapeutic effect comes from its sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin which is know to be anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal. As allicin digests in your body, it produces sulfenic acid, a compound that neutralize dangerous free radicals faster than any other known compound.
The high lean protein content found in mushrooms helps burn cholesterol when they are digested. Balancing levels of cholesterol between LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) and HDL (“good” cholesterol) is essential in the prevention of various cardiovascular diseases like artherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke.
Cauliflower is an important part of a healthy diet, especially as a substitute for other ingredients that may be less healthy, or for which you may have an allergy or sensitivity. This recipe for cauliflower pizza crust is the foundation of a delicious meal for any occasion.