“Superfood." Does this word call to mind exotic, pricey foods with fantastical properties coming from a land far, far away? To many of us, it surely does! But even though popular modern superfoods like acai, goji and maca are packed with health supportive nutrients, we shouldn’t let the bounty of nutrient-dense foods we have growing in our own backyards fall by the wayside. These foods are local, not overly processed, and seasonal… three essential qualities for foods our bodies actually want and need to be healthy! Let’s take a look at an “average” item we see at the grocery store, and think about why it might also qualify as a superfood: cauliflower. Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, which include its more popular green cousins broccoli, kale and cabbage. Ever wonder why cauliflower is pale in color? It’s thick leaves actually shield the immature flower buds from the sun’s harsh rays. This common food surely deserves to make regular appearances in your dietary regime since it boasts a vast quantity of high quality vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other health supportive phytochemicals. Here’s why cauliflower is so super: Cancer-Combatting The sulforaphane in cauliflower has been shown to destroy cancer stem cells. Translation: tumor growth is halted. Many scientists are convinced that eradicating these stem cells may be an essential tool in fighting and controlling cancer. As an example, studies have demonstrated that cauliflower and curcumin (the active compound in turmeric) may work synergistically to prevent and treat prostate cancer. Cardio-Supportive Sulforaphane plays a role in lowering blood pressure, and also enhances kidney function. Researchers assert that these benefits are associated with sulforaphane’s ability to ameliorate DNA methylation, a process essential for cellular function and proper gene expression. This is especially important in the vulnerable inner lining of the blood vessels. Anti-Inflammatory To some degree, inflammation in the body helps to maintain health. Excessive inflammation, on the other hand, is not a good thing. If your immune system erroneously mounts an inflammatory response without the presence of an actual threat, this can wreak havoc on the body and its systems. Heightened inflammation has been linked to cancer and other chronic illnesses. If you eat cauliflower, you will get the benefit of anti-inflammatory compounds that help combat these abnormal responses. Vitamins and Minerals Galore Eating cauliflower regularly is a great way to get nutrients the body needs to function properly. As an example, you get 77 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C in a single serving of cauliflower. Not to mention vitamin K, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, and manganese. Better for the Brain Cauliflower provides a great amount of choline, a vitamin that plays a key role in brain health and development. Studies show this vitamin may enhance cognitive function, and improve learning and memory skills. It may even reduce age-related memory loss and provide a defense against toxins in the brain. Detoxify Cauliflower offers its own detoxification system. Packed with antioxidants that support detoxification along with sulfur-containing nutrients necessary for other detox roles, cauliflower is a superfood when it comes to this important activity. Cauliflower also contains glucosinolates, which are important for stimulating the body’s detox enzymes. Gut Health Two words: dietary fiber. Cauliflower provides a vast amount of this important nutrient for digestive health. Additionally, the sulforaphane derived from a glucosinolate in cauliflower may help defend the vulnerable stomach lining from H pylori bacteria. Antioxidants and Phytonutrients, oh my! If you eat cauliflower regularly, it’s almost as though you’ve won the lottery — at least when it comes to antioxidants and phytonutrients. This cruciferous veggie is packed with vitamin C, beta-carotene, kaempferol, quercetin, rutin, cinnamic acid, and many more health-supportive compounds. Antioxidants defend the cells in the body from reactive oxygen species, which can “attack” cells and create oxidative damage. Antioxidants bolster your body’s cells with the proper defenses, which helps prevent aging due to daily exposure to pollutants, chronic stress, etc. So there you have it. Plenty of reasons to take cauliflower off of the “average” food list and add it to the “superfoods” list. The next new superfood may just be lurking in your backyard or hanging out at your grocery store… stay tuned! For more tips, check out my blog at http://www.threeleavesfoods.com/#!blog/cnh4 ! Cauliflower Recipes: Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Personal Pan Cauliflower Pizzas Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower Note: PLEASE consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.