"Who Knew: chopping cauliflower releases enzymes that increase the bioavailability of its nutrients. Delaying cooking for 5-10 minutes after cutting helps insure that heat won’t destroy these enzymes’ effectiveness. Also, the enzymes need Vitamin C to activate, which can be accomplished with a hit of lemon or lime juice."
which activated my brain (without chopping, mind you) to elaborate upon this statement since there is so much more to consider.
How is this possible?
It’s the phytochemicals! Breaking the cells (chewing, cutting) in cabbage (other cruciferous family foods too) actually releases myrosinase, an enzyme that breaks down glucosinolates into cancer fighters and increases them by like 400%! Researchers suggest it’s the plant’s defense mechanism. Same thing with onions, we cry due to the enzyme released by the veggie once cut into. It is the glucosinolates that make the brassica family so cancer fighting. The Brassica and Allium family foods are the leaders in cancer fighting foods.
Bummer fact most people don’t consider is that heat greatly alters the structure and reduces the quantity of bioavailable phytonutrients. So the level of glucosinolates in the brassica family vary greatly depending on the method of cooking, time and temperature, veggie to water ratio and so much more. There are researchers in the UK studying how long a veggie has to sit, chopped and enzyme activity increasing, to have enough enzymes remain in tact after heating. That’s why I want to see a book which lists EACH food and the affect heat plays on it specifically; at which temperatures, by what processing, for what duration, etc. Haven’t seen one yet though so I’m left up to generalities like – Eat your veggies raw or lightly blanched!