Food as Medicine, Healthy Recipes, Uncategorized

Roasted Cauliflower with Almonds, Parmesan, and Olives served with Basil-Kale Pesto Pasta.

I created the following recipes just for you. They are easy to prepare and picky-kid-approved. Enjoy!

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, cauliflower is used to reduce heat and stagnation in the body, particularly in the lungs. Western science has also demonstrated the health benefits of cauliflower. According to the National Cancer Institute:

“Indoles and isothiocyanates have been found to inhibit the development of cancer in several organs in rats and mice, including the bladder, breast, colon, liver, lung, and stomach.”

National Cancer Institute, Cruciferous Vegetables

A study published in Carcinogenesis also found sulforaphane may reduce the incidence and rate of chemically induced mammary tumors in animals Other studies have demonstrated that the sulforaphane in cauliflower significantly improves blood pressure and kidney function. Cauliflower is high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, including choline, which is important to brain function. It is also great for the digestive system.

Combining cauliflower with oils and protein is not only delicious, it also enhances absorption. I often serve this dish with pasta tossed in my Basil-Kale Pesto, which is also very healthy, delicious, and kid-approved.

I created this basil-kale pesto as a way to get some more nutrition into my picky ten-year-old daughter. It worked! She loves it, and I know she is getting extra greens, garlic, and healthy fats in her diet. I reserve some extra pesto to use on salmon or chicken for future meals. To store in the fridge, just add a little oil to the top and seal with a lid or kitchen wrap. You can also use an ice-cube tray, and freeze the remaining pesto in serving size chunks; just pop out a few next time you want to use pesto in a dish. You can also experiment with different herb and nut combinations to create pestos with different health benefits and flavor profiles.

In addition to being a cruciferous vegetable like cauliflower (with similar health benefits), Kale is one of the most nutritionally-dense foods available. It is packed with vitamins A, B6, C, E and K. Parsley, another ingredient in these dishes, is also high in vitamin K which is important to blood-clotting and bone metabolism.

Because of its high vitamin K content, patients on blood-thinners should talk to their prescribing doctor before adding any more vitamin K to their diet.

Kale is also very high in fiber, copper, manganese, calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron. It has very high concentrations of the anti-oxidants lutein and beta carotene, which are important for your eyes, overall immunity, and fighting cancer. Kale is also a power anti-inflammatory, which is important for the prevention and maintenance of joint and muscle pain, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and autoimmune diseases.

*Pine Nuts are full of healthy fats and lead to the release of CCK, an appetite-suppressing hormone. They contain high concentrations of magnesium, which is helpful since most of us are deficient which leads to numerous health issues. They also help boost energy, support heart health, contain lutein for eye health, and are full of anti-oxidants.

*Basil is also high in vitamin K, making this dish a vitamin K powerhouse. (Check with your doctor if you are on blood-thinners or other medications!) Like kale, it is also high in vitamin A, C, iron, manganese, magnesium, and calcium. Its natural oils and flavonoids have antibacterial properties that have demonstrated the ability to fight even the toughest bacteria.

*We’ve discussed the well-researched health benefits of garlic many times here before, but in short: garlic is one of the best foods you can consume to boost immunity and anti-oxidant levels. It is also a powerful ally in maintaining heart health and reducing blood pressure and cholesterol. I would say it is one of the top three most important foods to have in your daily diet.

*Olive oil and olives, are full of healthy fats, increase the absorption of the vitamin and mineral contents of the other ingredients, are high in cancer-fighting anti-oxidants, may reduce this risk of stroke, protect the heart, protect against ulcers, and may protect against type-2 diabetes. They also have wonderful anti-inflammatory effects, which is important for protecting our brain from Alzheimer’s, as well as being beneficial for those with joint and muscle pain, arthritis, and auto-immune disorders. They are also antibacterial and show promise in protecting against colon, skin, and breast cancer.

I had fun testing and creating these recipes and continue to have fun serving them to my loved ones. I hope you will enjoy them.

To your health,