In recent years, cauliflower has had a major resurgence. You may get very inventive with it, but the fastest and tastiest way to obtain your vegetables is to roast or simmer it. This cruciferous vegetable may be used to make anything from cauliflower wings to cauliflower rice, even cauliflower steaks, and pizza dough. It’s understandable why keto dieters and those with diabetes seeking low-carb food options favor it because it’s low in calories, carbs, and fat.
There are more options besides the well-known white cauliflower, though. Thanks to various colors, there are purple, orange, and green variations (which are usually also antioxidants, so vary the colors for more nutrients). Regardless of color, cauliflower generally has a mild, nutty flavor with a hint of sweetness. It can be consumed either raw or cooked, which somewhat alters the flavor. Comparatively speaking, cooked cauliflower tastes less bitter than raw cauliflower.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, cauliflower is best consumed during its season, which is throughout the fall months (USDA). But don’t let that deter you from purchasing some cauliflower the rest of the year; you can get it simply in the freezer department of the majority of supermarkets.
Cauliflower can be a great addition to your normal diet for many reasons than just its flavor and adaptability. Additionally loaded with several possible health advantages is cauliflower. Here are seven more things to think about.
1. Cauliflower Is High in Antioxidants That Fight Free Radicals
According to Austin, Texas-based registered dietitian Jenna Volpe, “Being a member of the brassica (cruciferous vegetable) family, cauliflower is high in particular sorts of antioxidants called phytochemicals, which are known to help fight off free radicals from causing damage and aging to our cells.” She continues by pointing out that antioxidants such as anthoxanthins, flavonoids, chlorophyll, quercetin, and coumaric acid are also present in cauliflower.
Antioxidants are sometimes referred to as “free radical scavengers” because they stabilize and neutralize free radicals, which are unstable atoms that cause damage to cells. Although the body produces free radicals naturally, there are numerous outside sources as well, with sun exposure being a major one. According to a review published in 2021 in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, an antioxidant-rich diet can aid in reducing the negative effects of free radicals and have beneficial impacts on diseases including cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, cancer, and other conditions.
2. Cauliflower Reduces Inflammation and May Lower Disease Risk
Inflammation is a silent killer that has escaped control. According to a study that was published in Nature Medicine in 2020, chronic inflammation plays a role in some of the most common illnesses and fatality causes in the globe, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and renal disease. Your dietary choices are one of many elements that cause inflammation. While certain foods promote inflammation, others work to combat it. One of those is cauliflower.
According to a study that was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables have anti-inflammatory qualities, says Raleigh, North Carolina-based RD Christine Byrne. Although some inflammation is beneficial and required, persistent inflammation raises the chance of developing early-onset diseases.
3. Cauliflower’s High Vitamin C Content Supports a Healthy Immune System
Oranges, bell peppers, and strawberries—these foods are rich in vitamin C and are recommended for strengthening the immune system. According to a review published in 2020 in Frontiers in Immunology, getting enough vitamin C through food has a good impact on immunological health and lowers susceptibility to infection.
Now you can add cauliflower to the roster. A serving of cauliflower makes a significant dent in your daily vitamin C requirements.
Per the USDA, 1 cup of raw chopped cauliflower contains 51.6 milligrams of vitamin C, making it an excellent source.
4. Cauliflower Promotes Bone Health and Proper Blood Clotting Due to Vitamin K Content
Cauliflower is a strong source of vitamin K and contains 16.6 micrograms of it in every cup of raw, chopped vegetables. While cauliflower has antioxidant effects similar to those of other vitamins, its greatest benefits are to blood and bone health.
According to Volpe, cauliflower is the only white vegetable that is high in fat-soluble vitamin K. The nutrient’s primary function in the body is to aid in blood clotting and coagulation, which explains why its name derives from the Germanic term coagulation, which means the capacity to clot blood, coagulate, and stop bleeding. Blood clotting prevents bleeding from wounds, which prevents them from healing.
But the vitamin K in cauliflower also plays a crucial role in bone health, making it good for healthy blood clotting as well. According to a meta-analysis that was published in 2021 in the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research, calcium is also essential for strong bones, and the two may be able to improve the prognosis of osteoporosis and low bone mineral density.
Volpe points out that people taking blood thinners should watch their vitamin K intake to prevent problems.
5. Fiber-rich cauliflower supports a healthy gut and heart.
One of the most crucial nutrients, fiber, is one that many Americans find difficult to consume enough of. The normal Western diet is deficient in fiber, despite fiber’s potential health advantages for gut motility, gut microbiota, and colon cancer, according to a review published in Nutrients in 2020.
Although many Americans pile meat, eggs, and fish onto their plates, these foods don’t include fiber. As a result, it is up to your side dishes to include fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and plant-based proteins like lentils, nuts, and seeds. Cauliflower is a wonderful way to improve your intake of fiber, just like many other vegetables. According to USDA statistics, a cup of cooked cauliflower has almost 3 grams of fiber. This significantly exceeds the 28 to 34 grams of fiber per day suggested by the USDA’s 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (PDF), depending on age and sex.
Although fiber is frequently linked to promoting gastrointestinal health, it is also a vitamin that is good for the heart. According to a meta-analysis published in 2022 in BMC Medicine, fiber is known to lower the risk of heart disease, but it may also assist patients who already have heart disease and high blood pressure.
6. Cauliflower May Decrease the Risk of Cancer
According to the World Health Organization, cancer is one of the major causes of mortality worldwide. Since it is so common, most individuals know someone who has the disease. Even though there is still much to understand about cancer, some research suggests that cauliflower may have anti-cancer characteristics.
According to Byrne, eating more fruits and vegetables is generally linked to a lower risk of cancer. But due to the compounds they contain, cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower may be especially efficient in stopping the formation of cancer cells. Insisting that this does not imply that eating cauliflower prevents cancer, Byrne. No single food or food group may cause or prevent an illness, and nutrition is not the primary element in health, the author continues. Instead, think about cauliflower as one potential weapon in your all-natural arsenal against cancer.
The evidence from research supports doing precisely that. Several forms of cancer have been inversely related to cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower. Eating cruciferous vegetables may lower the incidence of lung cancer in nonsmokers, according to a 2017 study that appeared in The Journal of Nutrition. Similar research has been done on colorectal, prostate, and breast cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, cruciferous vegetables are of special interest to cancer researchers because they contain glucosinolates, which are converted into substances like indoles and isothiocyanates that have been found to prevent the growth of cancer in animal tests.
Cauliflower’s potential anti-cancer properties may also be aided by its antioxidant content. According to Volpe, “flavonoids (such those present in cauliflower) have a significant potential to help fight off cancer cells while retaining healthy human cells in addition to slowing down cell damage from oxidation.”
7. Cauliflower Might Support Healthy Weight Maintenance
Good health is correlated with maintaining a healthy weight, and fruits and vegetables can support this goal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, replacing high-calorie foods with low-calorie fruits and vegetables can help people lose weight.
Due to the water and fiber in fruits and vegetables, you can consume the same amount of food while taking in fewer calories. A 2019 study in The Lancet found that increased fiber intake is linked to significantly lower body weight. The fiber also prolongs your feeling of fullness.
Cauliflower is a low-calorie item that is useful in meal programs for weight loss or maintenance because it contains less than 30 calories per cup. Keto dieters ingeniously use vegetables to produce low-carb pizza crust, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and fried rice.