Cauliflower is one of those humble vegetables we don’t normally pay much attention to. It’s rare that it makes up the main course all by itself. Fortunately, after years of being sidelined, cauliflower is slowly making a comeback as a health food. You’ll be surprised to know that cauliflower packs quite the punch when it comes to nutrition. Here’s how.
Health Benefits Of Cauliflower
1. Contains Fewer Calories
100 grams of cauliflower weighs in at just 25 calories.1 It’s one of those foods you don’t have to worry about when it comes to quantity. When you find out about its great benefits you’ll definitely want to start eating a lot more of these great vegetables. The best part is that it won’t have any effect on your waistline.
2. Is Nutritionally Packed
One serving of chopped cauliflower (around a cup) gives you 80% of the vitamin C you need in a day. It also has a good amount of vitamin B6, vitamin K, magnesium, and potassium. It’s also got a good amount of fiber which is essential for a healthy gut.2
3. Lowers Cancer Risk
Members of the brassica family like broccoli, cauliflower, and kale contain lots of antioxidants which help prevent damage caused by free radicals.3 Studies show that these vegetables can protect from lung cancer.4 They also suggest that they have an association with lowered breast cancer risk as well.5
4. Improves Memory
Cauliflower contains a nutrient called choline which is essential for healthy brain function. Studies show that choline can alter structures in the hippocampus which is the area of the brain responsible for memory. Choline can enhance working memory and helps signals in the brain travel faster.6
5. Unclogs Arteries
Another compound in cauliflower called sulforaphane helps unclog arteries. In rats, sulforaphane helps reduce blood pressure levels. This has great implications for the treatment of hypertension in adults.7 Preserve your heart health with cauliflower.
What You Can Do With It
Contrary to its reputation, cauliflower is anything but boring. It can be used in many different ways. It can take on flavor and at the same time develop its own delicious flavor based on how it’s cooked.
1. Cauliflower Rice
Cauliflower rice is a great substitute for carb-heavy rice. All it takes is a few short pulses in the food processor to break it down. From here it can be used the same way as cooked rice in stir fries, or as an accompaniment to curries, stews, and other foods.
2. Cauliflower Mash
Continuing the theme of carb replacement, cauliflower mash is an awesome way to get flavor without the fattening carbs. Just boil or steam until tender and use a food processor to make a smooth mash. If you’re not ready to go the whole hog, swap out half your potato for cauliflower to make a lighter version of regular mash. Of course, don’t try to compensate for the lower calories, so go easy on the butter and sour cream.
3. Roasted Cauliflower
Roasted cauliflower has a beautiful nutty, caramelized flavor when roasted at high heat. Simply toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper for a simple yet delicious and healthy side dish. If you want to experiment you can add a dash of spices before it goes in the oven. You can even throw them in salads for an interesting flavor contrast.
4. Cauliflower Soup
Their texture lends greatly to soups. Just put some cooked cauliflower in a blender with some vegetable stock and blend to a puree. You’ll find that it makes a velvety smooth soup without the need for cream. Of course, you can flavor this how you want to with herbs and spices. Try a pinch of cayenne pepper for some nice warmth.
Needless to say, cauliflower is versatile, which is great news because it only gives us more excuses to eat more of it. It’s great for your digestion, your brain, your heart and your fitness. Stock up on some cauliflower to see the difference for yourself.
|↑1, ↑2||Basic Report: 11135, Cauliflower, raw. United States Department Of Agriculture|
|↑3||Higdon, Jane V., Barbara Delage, David E. Williams, and Roderick H. Dashwood. “Cruciferous vegetables and human cancer risk: epidemiologic evidence and mechanistic basis.” Pharmacological Research 55, no. 3 (2007): 224-236.|
|↑4||Lam, Tram Kim, Lisa Gallicchio, Kristina Lindsley, Meredith Shiels, Edward Hammond, Xuguang Grant Tao, Liwei Chen et al. “Cruciferous vegetable consumption and lung cancer risk: a systematic review.” Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Biomarkers 18, no. 1 (2009): 184-195.|
|↑5||Cruciferous Vegetables and Cancer Prevention. National Cancer Institute|
|↑6||UNC NRI study: Choline-rich diet supports blood vessel development in fetal brain. Gillings School Of Global Public Health.|
|↑7||Elbarbry, Fawzy, Anke Vermehren-Schmaedick, and Agnieszka Balkowiec. “Modulation of arachidonic acid metabolism in the rat kidney by sulforaphane: implications for regulation of blood pressure.” ISRN pharmacology 2014 (2014).|