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A Functional Medicine Expert's Favorite Veggie + A Hack To Supercharge Nutrients

Hannah Frye
mbg Assistant Beauty Editor By Hannah Frye
mbg Assistant Beauty Editor
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more.
Cauliflower curry soup and cauliflower recipes
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Do you have a favorite vegetable? Maybe your go-to veggie is one you eat often or that you pair with every meal. We know, we know—it's near impossible to play favorites, but functional medicine expert Amy Sapola, PharmD, director of Farmacy at The Chef's Garden in Huron, Ohio, recently shared her top pick on the mindbodygreen podcast. Her pick? Cauliflower. Below, find out how she prepares this nutrient-rich veggie to maximize its benefits.

Why Sapola loves cauliflower & how to prepare it.

Cauliflower is a type of brassica vegetable, which contains loads of fiber and phytochemicals, including antioxidant-rich glucosinolates. Sapola regards "the ability of Brassica vegetables to detoxify metabolically, especially with hormone metabolism," as very impressive as well. "They pack so much of a punch," she adds. Cauli is also a type of cruciferous vegetable, which boasts benefits for gut health, blood sugar, heart health, and more. It's no wonder cauliflower has become such a trendy, nutritious staple (cauliflower "pasta," anyone?).

However, in order to get the most from this nutritious pick, Sapola recommends consuming the whole plant—leaves and all. "You can even eat the outer leaves," she notes, as they're rich in vitamins and nutrients. (Try drizzling them in olive oil and roasting or grilling them!) The bottom line? Cauliflower is one of the most versatile veggies you can find; if you're looking for some recipe inspiration, here are some more tips to keep things interesting:

  • Roasted with your favorite seasonings
  • As a raw dipping veggie (think hummus, spinach dip, etc.) 
  • Opting for cauliflower pizza crust 
  • In a vegetable stir fry

Sapola even recommends adding cauliflower to your smoothie as a sneaky vegetable boost. Find our favorite green smoothie recipes here to get you started. 

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The takeaway. 

Cauliflower packs a nutrient punch, especially when you consume the leaves, too. There are plenty of ways to cook this vegetable, and you can even toss it into your smoothie to supercharge your blend. Sure, cauli may not be the most underrated vegetable out there, but according to Sapola, the hype is well earned.

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