fCulflower has made a big comeback in recent years. While you can roast or steam for a quick and tasty way to get your veggies, you can also get pretty creative with it. From cauliflower wings to cauliflower rice, this cruciferous vegetable can replace just about anything—even down to cauliflower steaks and pizza crusts. It’s low in calories, carbs and fat, so it’s easy to see why it’s popular among keto dieters and people with diabetes looking for low carb food options.
The recognizable white cauliflower is not the only option, however. There are purple, orange and green varieties, thanks to the different pigments (which are usually also antioxidants, so vary the colors for more nutrients). Regardless of the shade, all cauliflowers tend to have a similar taste – sweet and nutty with a slight sweetness. You can eat it raw or cooked, which has a slight effect on the taste. Raw cauliflower is slightly more bitter than its cooked counterpart.
Like most produce, cauliflower is best enjoyed when it’s in season, which is during the fall months, according to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). But don’t let that stop you from picking cauliflower the rest of the year—it’s easily found in the freezer section of most grocers year-round.
Taste and versatility aren’t the only reasons to add cauliflower to your regular meal plan. Cauliflower is also rich in numerous health benefits. Here are seven more to consider.
1. Cauliflower is rich in free radical fighting antioxidants
“Being part of the brassica family (cruciferous veggie), cauliflower is rich in special types of antioxidants called phytochemicals, which are known to help fight free radicals from causing damage and aging to our cells,” he says. Jenna Volpe, RDN, which is based in Austin, Texas. She adds that cauliflower also contains antioxidants such as anthoxanthins, flavonoids, chlorophyll, quercetin and coumaric acid.
Free radicals are unstable atoms that cause destruction in cells, but antioxidants are sometimes called “free radical scavengers” because they stabilize and neutralize them. Free radicals occur naturally in the body, but other sources are around us – exposure to the sun is a big one. A diet rich in antioxidants can help mitigate the damaging effects of free radicals and have positive effects on diseases such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, cancer and others, according to a magazine published in 2021 in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.
2. Cauliflower fights inflammation, potentially reducing the risk of disease
There is a silent killer on the loose, and it is known as inflammation. According to research published in 2020 in Natural Medicine, chronic inflammation contributes to some of the leading diseases and causes of mortality worldwide, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and kidney disease. Many factors contribute to inflammation, and your food choices are among them. Some foods lead to inflammation, while others reduce it. Cauliflower is among the latter.
“Cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables have properties that fight inflammation, according to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics“, he says Christine Byrne, RD, which is based in Raleigh, North Carolina. “Inflammation is complex, and some inflammation is good and necessary, but chronic inflammation can increase the risk of premature disease.”
3. Cauliflower can support a healthy immune system with high levels of vitamin C
Oranges, peppers, strawberries – these fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin C and considered useful for your immune system. The amount of vitamin C for food positively affects immune health and reduces susceptibility to infection. magazine published in 2020 in Frontiers in immunology.
Now you can add cauliflower to the list. One serving of cauliflower makes a significant dent in your daily vitamin C needs.
Peru USDA1 cup of chopped raw cauliflower contains 51.6 milligrams of vitamin C, making it an excellent source.
4. Thanks to its vitamin K, cauliflower promotes bone health and blood clotting.
Vitamin K is an essential nutrient, and cauliflower is a good source of it, with 16.6 micrograms packed into 1 cup of the raw, chopped vegetable. It has antioxidant properties like other vitamins, but where cauliflower really shines is blood and bone health.
“Cauliflower is the only white vegetable rich in fat-soluble vitamin K,” says Volpe. “The main role of the nutrient in the body is in blood clotting and coagulation, which explains why its name comes from the Germanic word. coagulationaka the ability to coagulate blood, coagulate, and prevent bleeding.” Without blood coagulation, wounds will continue to bleed and may not heal as a result.
But the vitamin K in cauliflower is not only beneficial for blood clotting, but also plays a primary role in bone health. Calcium is also critical for healthy bones, and together, the duo may be able to positively influence the prognosis of osteoporosis and low bone mineral density, according to a meta-analysis published in 2021 in the Journal of Orthopedic Surgery and Research.
Volpe notes that individuals taking blood-thinning medications need to monitor their vitamin K intake to avoid interactions.
5. Cauliflower is rich in fiber, which supports a healthy gut and heart
Fiber is one of the most important nutrients, but one that many Americans struggle to get enough of. According to a magazine published in 2020 in NutrientsThe typical Western diet lacks fiber, despite its potential health benefits for gut motility, gut microbiota, and colon cancer.
While many Americans fill their plates with animal proteins such as meat, eggs and fish, these foods contain no fiber. So it is up to your dishes to control in foods rich in fiber such as fruits, vegetables, grains and vegetable proteins such as legumes, nuts and seeds. Like many veggies, cauliflower is a good way to increase your fiber intake. One cup of cooked cauliflower has almost 3 grams of fiber, according to USDA data. This goes a long way towards the The USDA 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (PDF) recommended 28 to 34 grams of fiber per day, depending on age and gender.
Fiber is most often associated with supporting intestinal health, but it is also a nutrient for the heart. Fiber is known to reduce the risk of heart disease, but it may also benefit people with heart disease and high blood pressure, according to a meta-analysis published in 2022 in BMC Medicine.
6. Cauliflower can reduce the risk of cancer
Cancer is a leading cause of death in the world, according to the World Health Organization. It is so prevalent that many people know at least one person affected by cancer. Although there is still much to learn about cancer, some evidence indicates that cauliflower has possible anti-cancer properties.
“In general, eating more fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of cancer,” says Byrne. “But cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower may be particularly effective in preventing the growth of cancer cells because of certain phytochemicals they contain.” Byrne emphasizes that this does not mean that eating cauliflower prevents cancer. “No disease can be caused or prevented by a single food or food group, nor is diet the only factor in health,” he adds. Rather, consider cauliflower as a possible weapon in your holistic anti-cancer artillery.
The research makes a case for doing so. Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower have been inversely associated with several types of cancer. According to a study published in 2017 in U Journal of Nutrition, Eating cruciferous vegetables can reduce the risk of lung cancer in nonsmokers. Similar studies have been done on breast, prostate and colorectal cancer. Cancer researchers are particularly interested in cruciferous vegetables for the presence of glucosinolates, which are divided into compounds such as indoles and isothiocyanates that have been shown to inhibit the development of cancer in animal studies, according to the National Cancer Institute.
The antioxidants in cauliflower may also contribute to its possible anti-cancer effects. “In addition to slowing cell damage from oxidation, flavonoids (such as those found in cauliflower) have a strong tendency to help fight cancer cells while maintaining healthy human cells,” he says. Fox.
7. Cauliflower can help you maintain a healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is associated with good health, and fruits and vegetables can help in this respect. According to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionSubstituting low-calorie fruits and vegetables in place of high-calorie foods can help weight loss.
Water and fiber in fruits and vegetables add volume, so you can eat the same portion with fewer calories. Fiber also helps you stay healthier for longer, and high fiber intake is associated with significantly lower body weight, according to a study published in 2019 in The Lancet.
With less than 30 calories per cup, cauliflower is a low-calorie food that is useful in eating plans for weight loss or maintenance. Keto dieters creatively use vegetables to make low-carb fried rice, pizza crust, mashed potatoes, and macaroni and cheese.