Cauliflower belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family and provides antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and tons of fiber. Although cauliflower is a nutritional powerhouse, it is a relatively bland vegetable. Fortunately, you can easily transform it by sneaking it into various dishes. It can serve as a rice or potato substitute, and it can even be transformed into pizza crusts and pastas.
The antioxidants and phytonutrients in cauliflower may protect against cancer, while the fiber encourages optimal digestion. According to researchers, cauliflower’s unique plant compounds may reduce the risk of several diseases, including heart disease and cancer. Take a look at the nutritional profile for one cup of raw cauliflower below:
- Calories: 25
- Fiber: 3 grams (g)
- Vitamin B6: 11% of the recommended daily intake (RDI)
- Vitamin C: 77% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 20% of the RDI
- Potassium: 9% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 4% of the RDI
- Folate: 14% of the RDI
- Pantothenic acid: 7% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 4% of the RDI
- Manganese: 8% of the RDI
As you can see, cauliflower is a great source of vitamins and minerals. It may help strengthen bones and boost cardiovascular health. Continue reading to learn all about the top benefits of cauliflower.
Cauliflower is a fiber superstar, but it is also a great source of water. Together, water and fiber help prevent constipation and maintain a healthy digestive tract. Several studies indicate that fiber may regulate both inflammation and the body’s immune system. That means that fiber may help decrease the risk of inflammatory digestive disorders like diverticulitis and inflammatory bowel disease. Fiber may also play a role in obesity prevention, in that it promotes feelings of fullness, which reduces overall caloric intake.
Great Source Of Choline
What is choline and why is it important? Most people are deficient in choline, which is an essential nutrient that has several functions in the body. Not only does it help maintain the integrity of cell membranes, but it also aids DNA synthesis and supports metabolism. Choline also plays a role in the production of neurotransmitters, which are necessary for a healthy nervous system. One cup of cauliflower contains 45 milligrams (mg) of choline, which is about 11% of the RDI.
Helps Reduce Inflammation
According to the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the bioactive compounds in cauliflower may effectively reduce inflammation. Not to mention, the antioxidants in cauliflower may counteract oxidative stress. One study noted that oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between the production of cell-damaging free radicals and the body’s ability to fight them. As a result, you experience systemic inflammation, which can increase the risk of premature disease and aging. Eating cauliflower may be a great step towards inflammation reduction.
Cauliflower contains enzymes that are involved in several detoxification processes in the body. According to a 2015 study, these enzymes act like internal garbage collectors, scouring the body for toxins and waste products. These enzymes bind to the toxins and help escort them out of the body. Not everyone likes the word “detoxification,” but it is applicable to cauliflower because it helps to deactivate the potentially damaging chemicals in the body. Cauliflower, and other cruciferous vegetables, all support the detox process.
May Reduce Cancer Risk
Antioxidants work to prevent cellular mutations and reduce oxidative stress from free radicals. One of the primary antioxidants in cauliflower is indole-3-carbinol (I3C), which is a common antioxidant in other cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbages. Studies found that I3C may reduce the risk of reproductive and breast cancers in women and men. Other studies indicated that the sulfur-containing compounds, like sulforaphane, in cauliflower may fight against certain types of cancer. This is because sulforaphane inhibits histone deacetylase (HDAC), an enzyme involved in the progression of cancer cells. So far, scientists say that research on sulforaphane against melanoma, esophageal, prostate, and pancreatic cancer cells is promising.
Improves Heart Health
Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower contain natural compounds that protect the many branches and bends of blood vessels. Those are the areas that are most prone to inflammation. Researchers explain that this may be why people who eat more cruciferous vegetables have a lower risk of their arteries hardening. Cauliflower is also an excellent source of vitamin C, which exhibits anti-inflammatory effects that may improve heart function. Moreover, studies found that high-fiber foods like cauliflower can lower the risk of several diseases, including heart disease.
May Aid Weight Loss
Cauliflower is low in calories, with only 25 calories per cup, but that isn’t the sole reason it may encourage weight loss. As a great source of fiber, cauliflower helps slow digestion and promotes feelings of fullness. Basically, you eat fewer calories and fill up! Reducing the amount of calories you eat throughout the day is an integral component to losing weight. Cauliflower is also 92% water, and consuming lots of water-dense, low-calorie vegetables can aid weight loss efforts.