RFTH Cauliflower


Real Foods that Heal
volume 2, #2
April 8, 2008


This week, I am writing about cauliflower and its cancer preventing qualities as well as its delicious and subtle taste. I am also relieved to be finally writing about a vegetable that is white, but good for you (can you think of any others?). As children, my siblings and I were prompted by its ghostly white color to derisively call cauliflower “dead broccoli.” So while it is a close relative of broccoli (see bulletin # 10, March 11, 2008) in the brassica family of vegetables, it is anything but dead.

Cauliflower is full of powerful health benefits even before enumerating its anti-cancer properties. It is an excellent source of fiber, and ½ cup of cooked cauliflower provides over 25 mg vitamin C, a moderate amount of folate; and even though it is a very low-fat food, that same serving gives you over 100 mg of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. It also has a very low glycemic index, meaning it does not raise blood sugar in an unhealthy way.

Cauliflower is a great choice when eating specifically to reduce risk of breast cancer. It is a rich source of a class of phytonutrients called flavones. A study of women from Long Island, published in 2006, showed that women with the highest dietary intake of flavones had an almost 40% lower risk of breast cancer. This is consistent with other previous research which showed that higher intake of any type of flavonoid nutrient protected women against breast cancer. And like other vegetables in the brassica family, it is also rich in a compound called indole-3-carbinol (I-3-C). Foods high in I-3-C shift the metabolism of estrogen in women to a form that is less likely to promote the growth of breast tumors. Cauliflower, like other brassica vegetables (broccoli, kale, etc.) is able to assist the liver in detoxification of potentially dangerous environmental compounds, also reducing cancer risk.

So what are you waiting for? 

Cauliflower Soup


Chop one head of cauliflower, 2/3 cup of leeks or green onions, and saute in a large pot with 1 tbsp. olive oil and ¼ cup of water. When the cauliflower has softened, add 2 tsp.dry chopped parsley leaves, 1 and ¾ cup vegetable broth or chicken stock, 1 and ¼ cups fat-free milk, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer until cauliflower is very soft. Carefully, in at least 2 batches, puree the soup in a blender, then serve hot with a garnish of a few more fresh green onions sprinkled over, and a small dollop of sour cream if desired.

To your health,



Robert Pendergrast, MD



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