When you start your journey into healthy eating, it's very easy to feel confused as you come across so many conflicting information online. Should you eat Paleo? High carb? Vegan? Mediterranean? You've probably read wonderful stories of people who've followed one or the other and have had amazing results. If there's ONE thing that all these diets have in common and that everyone agrees on, it's the variety of vegetables we should eat. Vegetables are rich in fibres that can feed you good gut bacteria (and as a result, support your immunity, mood and digestion), they are also rich in phytochemicals, which are little molecules that provide health benefits and protect your cells from ageing, and of course, they provide plenty of vitamins and minerals, which are needed by your body to function optimally.
This article is the first of a series called 'Love your Veggies' and my goal is to inspire you to increase the variety of vegetables you eat on a daily basis, to discover new flavours, try new recipes and hopefully, eat better and feel better!
Today, let's start with a very versatile vegetable which is unfortunately under-loved by many (especially children): lovely Mr Cauliflower.
Cauliflower is part of the Brassica family, alongside Brussels sprouts and Broccoli. Most cauliflowers are white, but there are also green and purple varieties, as well as the sweeter Romanesco cauliflower.
- Vitamin C: A whole head of cauliflower provides 400mg of vitamin C! That's the equivalent of 5 oranges. One portion of cauliflower (about a cup) will cover your daily needs of vitamin C. Of course, vitamin C is important for the immune system, but also increases your production of collagen, a protein very important for the health of your skin, joints, gut and blood vessels.
- Cauliflower is also particularly high in a compound called Sulforaphane, which stimulates a pathway called the Keap1-Nrf2 pathway , whose main function in the body is to protect against cancer formation, toxins, and excessive oxidation.
- Cauliflower also provides a good dose of Indole-3-carbinol, a molecule that supports the detoxification of oestrogen and helps balance hormone levels. This is especially useful for conditions driven by high-oestrogen levels such as endometriosis, fibroids and PCOS. Indole-3-Carbinol may also be protective against cancers driven by oestrogen, and the consumption of cruciferous vegetables has be associated with lower rates of prostate cancers!
Vitamin C is sensitive to heat, so if you want to increase your intake of vitamin C, make sure you don't overcook Cauliflower.
B vitamins are water-soluble, this means that if you cook cauliflower in water and get rid of the water, most of the B vitamins will be gone with it! Prefer steaming or use recipes where you can keep the water, such as soups or stews.
Cauliflower florets can easily be added to stews, soups and currys. They can also be eaten raw, dipped in some hummus or guacamole. If you're looking for more inspiration, here are a few recipes that will hopefully make you fall in love with this beautiful vegetable!
MOROCCAN CAULIFLOWER AND CHICKPEA SALAD
SPICED CAULIFLOWER SOUP
SPANISH CAULIFLOWER RICE
Recipe adapted from Movefuellove.com