Is Cauliflower Good For You?

Hailing from the cruciferous family, cauliflower is a vegetable that can deliver a number of health benefits and disease fighting properties. To see if cauliflower is good for you, read on about its nutritional profile and healthful perks.

Collectively cruciferous vegetables are known to possess a very dense nutrient profile. They boast impressive quantities of vitamin A carotenoids, vitamin C, folic acid, protein and dietary fiber among others. In addition, cruciferous vegetables are even more renowned for their phytonutrient content. Of these benefits, cauliflower is good for you because it can do the following for your health. Cauliflower has been studied to show a number of benefits for health. To determine what cauliflower is good for health wise, the vegetable has been observed to give the body many detoxifying properties. Its antioxidant content helps in cleansing unwanted toxins from the body and lower the risk of oxidative stress in the cells. In this way, cauliflower can be beneficial in lowering the risk of certain types of cancers.

How is cauliflower really that good for you?

  • Detoxifying potential

Is Cauliflower Good For You, a cauliflower with its green leaves.

  • Anti-inflammatory benefits

As an exceptional source of vitamin K, cauliflower is good for you as it can help provide the body with a lot of anti-inflammatory potentials. Vitamin K has the advantage of acting as a direct regulator of an inflammatory response in the body. Lowering the potential for inflammation also reduces the risk for cancer development.

Lowering inflammation can also help reduce the risk of other inflammation-related conditions such as diabetes and obesity.

  • Supports heart health

Cauliflower is good for you as it supplies some omega 3 content along with Vitamin K, making it a food that can provide heart health benefits.

  • Improves cognitive functioning

The choline content in cauliflower is helpful for boosting brain health. It can boost cognitive function, improve learning and memory as well as diminish age-related memory decline. Choline is also instrumental in maintaining the structure of cellular membranes while assisting in the transmission of nerve impulses.

  • Boosts digestive health

Another reason why cauliflower is good for you involves its fiber content. The dietary fiber yielded by cauliflower is substantially high providing 9 grams of fiber for every 100 calories. This makes it an excellent choice for supporting digestive health in many ways. At the same time, cauliflower also has a high water content making it a high fiber, high water content food ideal for preventing digestive discomfort from problems like constipation.

Cauliflower is also good for you as it’s high fiber is assists in supporting satiety and weight loss.

Cauliflower Good For Your Health, a Cauliflower on a white table.

  • Packed with nutrients

The vegetable is also packed with vitamins and minerals ranging from vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, to thiamin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorous, folate and potassium.

And if all these reasons are not enough to convince you if cauliflower is good for you, then consider this. Cauliflower ranks among the top twenty foods with regard to ANDI score. This is a measure known as Aggregate Nutrient Density Index that measures the vitamin, mineral and phytonutrient content in foods in relation to their caloric content. This means foods that rank high on this index have a higher amount of nutrients with a lower count of calories.

What is the nutritional profile of cauliflower?

Cauliflower is good for you as eating one cup of chopped, raw cauliflower yields a mere 27 calories. In these, there are 2 grams of protein, 0.3 grams of fat and 5 grams of carbs. Even though the carb content may seem high, 2.1 grams of it is dietary fiber while the remaining 2 grams is sugar.

When you eat one cup of raw cauliflower, you will be meeting 77% of you daily vitamin C requirement, 20% of vitamin K and about 10 % of vitamin B6 and folate needs. Additionally, small amounts of various minerals like magnesium, phosphorous, niacin, riboflavin, calcium, iron and potassium will also be provided. 

While high fiber foods like cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli can cause some bloating and flatulence, most people can tolerate them well in proper proportions.

While the entire cauliflower is edible, the white florets are the part that most people eat. Stems and leaves are often added to soup stocks. It is most commonly available either fresh or frozen and fresh varieties can be stored in the fridge in a plastic bag for up to five days.

To cut cauliflower, first, remove its outer leaves and start slicing the florets at the base where they meet the stalks. Florets can be cut into as large or as small pieces as the recipe requires. If there is any brown coloration on the florets, simply trim it off.

Cauliflower is best prepared when lightly sautéed rather than boiled or steamed. While sautéing helps keep cauliflower its crunch and taste, boiling and steaming tend to make it waterlogged, mushy and lose a lot of its flavor. Sautéing cauliflower will also help retain it most of its nutritional value.

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While cooking cauliflower is one way to go, the vegetable can also be served raw, added to salads, included in frittatas, combined in casseroles, or be mashed and seasoned for a healthier variant of mashed potatoes. There is even a soup version of cauliflower. Given its versatile nature cauliflower is good for you to be enjoyed in so many different ways.

New and trendy ways of including cauliflower in the diet suggest using cauliflower rice and cauliflower buffalo bites or wings. Cauliflower rice involves grating the florets finely until they resemble rice grains and use them as a healthier substitute in rice dishes, yielding lots of nutrients and a crunchy texture.

To prepare cauliflower buffalo wings or bites, cauliflower florets are roasted and served with a hot sauce of your choice.  There is even a recipe to prepare cauliflower pizza crust for a grain free pizza crust option.

At a minimum, it is recommended to include cauliflower or other cruciferous vegetables into the diet two or three times during the week, with serving sizes of one and a half cups each.

Image Rights

Images shared via creative commons – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Image One by Horia Valarin – https://www.flickr.com/photos/horiavarlan/4268224037/

Image Two by VegBoxClearout – https://www.flickr.com/photos/55046774@N07/5105562511/

Image Three by Liz West – https://www.flickr.com/photos/calliope/8130880534/

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