Like broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts, cauliflower is a brassica (cruciferous) vegetable. While cauliflower contains fewer vitamins and minerals than most other brassica vegetables, it contains numerous substances with suspected or demonstrated cancer fighting properties, including iberin, sinigrin, choline, indole-3-carbinol (I3C), 3,3'-diindolylmethane (DIM), and several other glucosinolates. Cauliflower or its components have been shown to inhibit urinary bladder, small intestine, colorectal and liver carcinogenesis, and reduce the risk of occurrence of gallbladder, prostate, lung, urothelial, and cervical cancer.
Breast cancer-related effects of eating cauliflower
Cauliflower and its component molecules have been found to be promote apoptosis, suppress cell cycle progression and inhibit angiogenesis of human breast cancer cells. Furthermore, cauliflower can protect against cell DNA damage. Consumption of brassica vegetables has been shown to reduce the estrogen metabolite 16alpha-hydroxyestrone, which is a breast cancer promoter, and to be marginally inversely associated with breast cancer risk in a population of premenopausal women. Cauliflower component I3C has been shown increase the anti-cancer effects of the chemotherapy drug Taxol (paclitaxel).
We recommend consuming the cancer-fighting components of cauliflower and other brassica vegetables as food and against consuming them as "broccoli pills" that have been enhanced to boost the proportion of the presumed key anti-cancer chemicals in these vegetables. There is some evidence that concentrated cruciferous vegetable extracts can act as estrogen agonists and promote breast cancer cell proliferation. Also, the anticancer properties of cauliflower are likely to be the result of synergistic interaction of its various chemical components - isolated components have successfully inhibited proliferation in the laboratory, but their efficacy and safety in humans needs to be evaluated in large scale clinical trials.
Below are links to recent studies concerning this food. For a more complete list of studies, please click on cauliflower.