In trying to eat Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen list of most nutritious foods, I’ve found that most days I lack cruciferous vegetables.
Aside from buying cabbage to add to my stir-fry and soups, and cooking some broccoli as a side dish more often, here is a yummy chocolate way of eating cruciferous vegetables! Can it get any better?!
In addition to checking the cruciferous vegetables box, you’ll also get your daily serving of flaxseed, nuts, one serving of fruit, and a beverage. That’s 5 boxes to check in the Daily Dozen app from one smoothie alone! It’s high in calcium, vitamin C, protein and fiber. In addition, it’s rich in phytochemicals and micronutrients that don’t appear on a Nutrition Facts label.
Why should we eat cruciferous vegetables every day?
Cruciferous vegetables are the ones that have flowers shaped like a cross (thus the name cruciferous). The most common ones are broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, brussel sprouts, arugula, radishes, and bok choy. Horseradish is another, but I definitely pass on that one.
Aside from being high in vitamins E, K, C, folate, beta-carotene, minerals and fiber, they contain sulfur-containing chemical compounds. These compounds are what make them a little bit pungent and bitter, making Brussel sprouts the notorious disgusting vegetable most kids hate. Yet those same compounds are what provide the most powerful health benefits.
Cruciferous vegetables are the only source of sulforaphane, which has gotten a lot of press lately as being very good for gut health. Sulforaphane is also proven to be:
- very powerful protectant against carcinogens (substances that cause cancer)
- have anti-diabetic effects (reducing blood sugar levels)
- anti-inflammatory effects (preventing the narrowing of arteries which leads to heart disease)
- lowers blood pressure
- improves digestion
- improves the behavior of autistic patients
- (click each point to see sources)
This powerful compound is most available from raw or very lightly cooked cruciferous vegetables, and is activated when chewed. This recipe which features raw, blended cauliflower is perfect. Best of all, you can’t even taste the cauliflower!
Anyway, all that to say that this delicious chocolate smoothie with cauliflower is something you can feel really good about! I’d love to hear if it’s a successful way of getting some sulforaphane into your kids!
Sweet and chocolately, yet packed with nutrition! The perfect whole-food plant-based breakfast or treat! You can't even taste the cauliflower.
- 1/2 cup frozen cauliflower (riced or florets)
- 1 large overripe frozen banana (about 1 heaping cup frozen banana chunks)
- 1 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 1 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1-2 TBSP peanut butter (or other nut butter)
- 1 TBSP ground flax seed
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- 1-2 dates (optional, for extra sweetness if desired)
Combine all in a blender or bullet until smooth and creamy. Enjoy!
To make it sweeter, add more bananas or a couple dates.
To make it creamier like a milkshake or higher-calorie for those needing to gain weight, use more peanut butter, and/or canned coconut milk.