Don’t be fooled: cauliflower may be a white vegetable, but that certainly doesn’t indicate a lack of nutritional value. Discover the health benefits of cauliflower, plus how to buy, store, and prepare it.
Cauliflower is actually considered one of the top 30 power food vegetables. This is because it has many health benefits such as preventing cancer, protecting the eyes, and even helps with weight loss. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Aggregate Nutrient Density Index have verified cauliflower’s health benefits.
8 HEALTH BENEFITS OF CAULIFLOWER
1. Prevents Breast Cancer
A number of studies have shown that cauliflower is very helpful in preventing breast cancer.
2. Prevents other Types of Cancer
Brassica vegetables reduce the risk of lung, stomach, colon and rectal cancer. The Brassica family includes cabbage, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
3. Helps with Weight Loss
Cauliflower is exceptionally low in calories (29 calories per cup), has no fat, and is very low in carbs and sugar. It is full of fiber, making it a very filling food. An increase in eating non-starchy vegetables such as cauliflower was found to be linked to weight loss.
4. Good for Digestion and Detoxing
Adding of cruciferous vegetables to your diet can support your gut’s good bacteria. We need good bacteria for digestion. Also, cruciferous vegetables are beneficial for detoxification because of their rich supply of sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates, which support proper nutrient absorption and toxin and waste removal.
5. Prevents Prostate Cancer
Cauliflower and turmeric both help prevent prostate cancer, according to research at the Rutgers University in New Jersey.
6. Supports Healthy Blood and Bones
This vegetable is high in vitamin K, which is necessary for clot formation. If you’re deficient in vitamin K, you will bleed too much after an injury. Also, vitamin K is important for the development of bones, and a lack of vitamin K increases your risk of osteoporosis. One cup of chopped cauliflower contains 16.6 mcg of vitamin K.
7. Protect the Skin From UV Damage
The sulforaphane in cauliflower is helpful in protecting the skin against the damage caused by ultraviolet radiation, according to research studies.
8. Good for Eye Health
Cauliflower has sulforaphane in it which has been found to protect the sensitive tissues in the eyes from oxidative stress that can cause cataracts, macular degeneration, and blindness.
NOTES ABOUT CAULIFLOWER AND YOUR HEALTH
Research has shown that a very large quantity of cruciferous vegetables will cause hypothyroidism, and this risk only exists for those who have an iodine deficiency. In a study, it was found that those who ate 5 oz a day of cooked Brussel sprouts for four weeks had no adverse effects on thyroid function.
If you do have a known thyroid problem, eat cruciferous vegetables that have been cooked and keep them to no more than 1-2 servings daily.
Digestive Problems Including Gas
Often people find it difficult to digest raw cruciferous vegetables. Simply cooking them usually relieves that, because the carbohydrates in these vegetables are not able to get broken down completely in the digestive tract.
Kidney Stones or Gout
Cruciferous vegetables contain purines, which can sometimes break down to form uric acid in the urine. Those who have kidney stones and gout, speak with your doctor before eating large amounts of cauliflower. Usually, small amounts are not a problem.
Cauliflower is a good source of vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, and manganese. Also, 1 cup only has 29 calories.
GETTING THE BEST CAULIFLOWER
Look for creamy white, tightly packed clusters that are not separated. If it is a dull color or spotted, do not purchase. The best heads are surrounded by several thick green leaves and it’s not about size but the quality. There are many types of cauliflower (orange, purple, yellow, and green) and they are all still very nutritious.
HOW TO STORE
Make sure you use the cauliflower within three to seven days after purchasing to be certain its nutrients are all still complete. Store it with the stem side down to stop moisture from developing in the floret clusters.
TIPS FOR PREPARING CAULIFLOWER
It is best to steam the cauliflower as it improves the bile acid binding it and may be healthier than eating it raw. You can eat the leaves and stems which are great for a soup stock.