Cauliflower: The Colorless Powerhouse Vegetable
“Eat the rainbow.”
“Eat your greens!”
These are a couple of statements that we are used to hearing when we think of eating vegetables.
But what about the plain, old white veggie called cauliflower?
Cauliflower may not be the most glamorous of veggie, but what it lacks in looks and color it makes up for in nutritional impact!
You could even say, move over leafy greens, it’s time for the humble cauliflower to shine!
Cauliflower has gone from being a “boring” vegetable to being one of the hottest veggies on the market. From “mashed-potatoes” to “rice”, and even “pizza crust”, cauliflower is making its place in the veggie world as an extremist in versatility.
Cauliflower can be eaten raw, added to salads, or use it in cooking — don’t neglect including this amazing veggie into your weekly meal plan.
If versatility isn’t enough to excite you about using cauliflower more, these benefits certainly will.
As a member of the cruciferous family, cauliflower contains an array of nutrients. Some include vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and fiber.
CAULIFLOWER: THE COLORLESS POWERHOUSE VEGETABLE
NUTRIENT PROFILE OF CAULIFLOWER
Of all the nutrients found in cauliflower, there are two that stand out just because of their concentration levels — vitamin C and vitamin K.
A single serving of cauliflower has about 70% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C.
- Contains an antioxidant that promotes a strong immune system.
- Aids in many detoxification processes.
- Helps reduce chronic inflammation.
- Assists the body in the production of collagen to build and repair the body’s tissues, including the connective tissues, skin, and gut lining.
This fat-soluble vitamin is responsible for keeping the skeletal structure healthy and helps prevent conditions related to a loss in bone density loss like osteoporosis. Vitamin K is also needed by the body to help with clotting blood and has a positive impact on inflammation.
Consuming cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower has been shown to fight cancer growth in rats and mice during controlled studies, and the same benefit appears to apply to humans.
Cruciferous vegetables are also rich in glucosinolates. Glucosinolates are a large group of beneficial sulfur-containing compounds. These compounds are what gives cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, sprouts, and cauliflower their signature smell when they are cooked.
Glucosinolates are also protective chemicals are known to break down during the chewing and digestion process into biologically active compounds that help to prevent cancer cells from growing.
They are utilized for DNA repair and help prevent cancer by slowing the growth of mutated cancer cells.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY BENEFITS OF CAULIFLOWER
Inflammation is at the heart of nearly all chronic diseases that are so common today.
Cauliflower is rich in antioxidant nutrients like vitamin K, vitamin C, and omega-3 fatty acids.
These nutrients help lower oxidative stress and the presence of free radicals in the body, thus reducing chronic inflammation.
IMPROVES DIGESTION AND AIDS IN DETOXIFICATION
Cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables contain sulforaphane, glucobrassicin, glucoraphanin, and gluconasturtiin.
These are potent sulfur-containing compounds which support proper nutrient absorption and removal of waste and toxins.
Glucosinolates stimulate what is known as phase II enzymes, the body’s natural antioxidant system and help trigger the liver to produce detoxifying enzymes that block free radical damage.
Glucosinolates can also help protect the vulnerable lining of the stomach — reducing the chances of developing leaky gut syndrome or other digestive disorders.
At the same time, these compounds facilitate proper digestion by preventing bacterial overgrowth from occurring in the gut microflora, keeping bad bacteria from overwhelming the digestive system and allowing good bacteria to thrive.
HOW TO PICK, PREPARE, AND ENJOY CAULIFLOWER
When it comes to purchasing cauliflower, look for cauliflower that is tightly packed, pressing firmly together and not splaying open. While most cauliflower is found in white varieties — other types like purple, yellow and green can also be found and are just as nutritious.
No matter the type or color you choose, look for a uniform texture and color across the whole head of cauliflower — avoid any major bruising or color spots on the cauliflower head.
Store cauliflower in the refrigerator and use it within three to seven days. Uncooked cauliflower will last longer than cooked cauliflower, so pre-cooking is not recommended.
The very best method for cooking cauliflower to retain the highest concentration of nutrients is to sauté it on the stovetop gently. You can sauté using a bit of water, broth, lemon juice, or a healthy source of fat.
Using a healthy fat, like avocado oil, coconut oil, or ghee will help you absorb more of the nutrients, especially vitamin K.
Eating cauliflower raw also preserves its nutrients. If you’re in a hurry to make that weeknight dinner, cauliflower can be prepared quickly or even chopped up and eaten raw.
According to research, it takes a large amount of cruciferous vegetables to cause hypothyroidism, and it appears that this risk only exists for those who already have an iodine deficiency.
If you have a known thyroid problem, it is best to consume cruciferous vegetables that have been cooked and keep them to about one to two servings daily.
Some people have a difficult time digesting raw cruciferous vegetables, including cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower.
Cooking these vegetables usually helps relieve the problem. The problem is thought to occur due to the carbohydrates found in these vegetables that do not get broken down entirely in the digestive tract, combined with the high amount of fiber and sulfur.
EXISTING KIDNEY STONES OR GOUT
Cruciferous vegetables contain compounds called purines, which can sometimes break down to form uric acid in the urine.
If you have a pre-existing condition like kidney stones and gout, speak with your doctor before consuming large amounts of cauliflower.
ENJOY THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF CAULIFLOWER
Cauliflower can be found in so many different recipes nowadays. Just search cauliflower recipes on Pinterest, and you’ll be bombarded with recipe ideas to last an entire year!
Because of its versatility and mild flavor, you can add it to almost anything. It’s not hard to find “riced” cauliflower at most grocery stores either fresh in the produce department or can be found in the frozen produce section.
This makes adding it into anything- and I mean anything, super easy. Toss it into soups, stir-fries, add raw riced cauliflower to salads, so many ideas!
Check out this delicious Crazy Simple Cauliflower Soup Recipe!