IVF Babble

Cauliflower, the nutritional superstar

Warm up this autumn with some tasty Cauliflower Soup and reap the amazing nutritional benefits for health and fertility

Like all cruciferous vegetables (these include broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts), cauliflower is high in fibre and also provides an assortment of vitamins and minerals that are essential to good health, including vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and vitamin B6. 

Cruciferous vegetables are also well known to contain a unique group of sulphur containing phytonutrients called Glucosinolates. These special phytonutrients stimulate liver detoxification and the production of antioxidants. One of the breakdown products of these is called Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C), which helps with oestrogen metabolism in the body.

When it comes to fertility….

In addition to the numerous nutrients provided by cauliflowers, the special phytonutrient  found within cruciferous vegetables, including cauliflower, known as DIM (Diindolylmethane) has been linked to potentially reducing oestrogen dominance.

DIM is a metabolic by-product of I3C (indole-3-carbinol.) Oestrogen dominance is a major cause of many fertility issues in women. Endometriosis, PCOS, fibroids and Ovarian Cysts, are all oestrogen dominant conditions. In a research study it was found that women who ate the most fruit and vegetables had the lowest rates of endometriosis (please see reference for the study below under interesting reading).

Both men and women’s bodies can experience oestrogen dominance. Men’s oestrogen levels also increase with age and are subject to the same oestrogen balance problems a female body may face, including improper metabolism of oestrogen. DIM has been shown to inhibit an enzyme called aromatase, which converts testosterone to oestrogen. While more research is needed, it’s thought to help balance hormone levels via its effects on oestrogen.

Cauliflower soup (makes approx. 6 portions).


800g/1¾lb cauliflower, roughly chopped

1 litre/1¾ pints vegetable stock

1 tbsp olive oil

1 finely chopped onion

150ml/5fl oz double cream

1 finely chopped clove of garlic

1 tsp ground coriander and cumin (optional)

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and fry until just softened. Add the chopped cauliflower and vegetable stock. Bring the mixture to the boil, then simmer on low heat for 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Add the ground cumin and ground coriander and fry for a further 1-2 minutes (optional) or season to taste as required with black pepper/pinch of salt. Enjoy!

Interesting reading:

Harris HR, Eke AC, Chavarro JE, Missmer SA. Fruit and vegetable consumption and risk of endometriosis. Hum Reprod. 2018;33(4):715-727. doi:10.1093/humrep/dey014

Thank you so much to Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy). For more from Sue, click here



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