Because of its beneficial effects on numerous aspects of health, cauliflower can easily be described as a superfood. Ten of its most impressive benefits follow:
1. Fight Cancer
Cauliflower contains sulforaphane, a sulfur compound that has also been shown to kill cancer stem cells, thereby slowing tumor growth. Some researchers believe eliminating cancer stem cells may be key to controlling cancer.
For instance, research has shown that combining cauliflower withcurcumin (the active compound in the spice turmeric) may help prevent and treat prostate cancer.
A study published in Carcinogenesis also found sulforaphane may reduce the incidence and rate of chemically induced mammary tumors in animals. It also inhibits the growth of cultured human breast cancer cells, leading to cell death.
Other compounds in cauliflower also show anti-cancer effects. According to the National Cancer Institute:
“Indoles and isothiocyanates have been found to inhibit the development of cancer in several organs in rats and mice, including the bladder, breast, colon, liver, lung, and stomach.”
2. Boost Heart Health
Sulforaphane in cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables has been found to significantly improve blood pressure and kidney function.Scientists believe sulforaphane’s benefits are related to improved DNA methylation, which is crucial for normal cellular function and proper gene expression, especially in the easily damaged inner lining of the arteries known as the endothelium.
3. It’s Anti-Inflammatory
You need some level of inflammation in your body to stay healthy. However, it’s also possible, and increasingly common, for the inflammatory response to get out of hand.
If your immune system mistakenly triggers an inflammatory response when no threat is present, it can lead to significant inflammation-related damage to the body, a condition linked to cancer and other diseases, depending on which organs the inflammation is impacting.
Cauliflower contains a wealth of anti-inflammatory nutrients to help keep inflammation in check, including indole-3-carbinol or I3C, an anti-inflammatory compound that may operate at the genetic level to help prevent the inflammatory responses at its foundational level.
4. It’s Rich in Vitamins and Minerals
Most Americans are seriously lacking in nutrients their body needs to function. Eating cauliflower regularly is a simple way to get these much-needed nutrients into your body. For instance, one serving of cauliflower contains 77 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. It’s also a good source of vitamin K, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, and manganese.
5. Boost Your Brain Health
Cauliflower is a good source of choline, a B vitamin known for its role in brain development. Choline intake during pregnancy “super-charged” the brain activity of animals in utero, indicating that it may boost cognitive function, and improve learning and memory. It may even diminish age-related memory decline and your brain’s vulnerability to toxins during childhood, as well as conferring protection later in life.
6. Detoxification Support
Cauliflower helps your body’s ability to detoxify in multiple ways. It contains antioxidants that support Phase 1 detoxification along with sulfur-containing nutrients important for Phase 2 detox activities. The glucosinolates in cauliflower also activate detoxification enzymes.7
7. Digestive Benefits
Cauliflower is an important source of dietary fiber for digestive health. But that’s not all. According to the World’s Healthiest Foods:
“Researchers have determined that the sulforaphane made from a glucosinolate in cauliflower (glucoraphanin) can help protect the lining of your stomach. Sulforaphane provides you with this health benefit by preventing bacterial overgrowth of Helicobacter pylori in your stomach or too much clinging by this bacterium to your stomach wall.”
8. Antioxidants and Phytonutrients Galore
Eating cauliflower is like winning the antioxidant and phytonutrient lottery. It’s packed with vitamin C, beta-carotene, kaempferol, quercetin, rutin, cinnamic acid, and much more. Antioxidants are nature’s way of providing your cells with adequate defense against attack by reactive oxygen species (ROS).
As long as you have these important micronutrients, your body will be able to resist aging caused by your everyday exposure to pollutants, chronic stress, and more. If you don’t have an adequate supply of antioxidants to help squelch free radicals, then you can be at risk of oxidative stress, which leads to accelerated tissue and organ damage.
Skin Benefits of Cauliflower:
As a vegetable, cauliflower already contains properties that can help you to stay fit and healthy. One of the benefits of consuming cauliflower is that it helps to rejuvenate your skin.
11. Cauliflower contains antioxidants, which work as anti-aging agents for the skin .
12. Vitamin C and manganese, found in abundance in cauliflower, are powerful antioxidants. The antioxidants increase the amount of oxygen in the blood and accelerate the metabolism. Healthy and fast metabolism will help you to digest easily and derive all the nutrition from your food. The more oxygen is in your blood, the more toxic materials your body will excrete. Skin becomes healthy , if the amount of toxic materials in your blood is low. Some of the signs of unhealthy skin are, acne, flaky skin, dark spots, wrinkles, warts, moles and rashes.
If you experience these symptoms, it is time to take some drastic measures. Cauliflower can help you to get rid of these skin problems. Simply consuming and making it a part of your diet will help your skin look younger and ageless.
Although the incidence may be rare, some people may suffer an adverse reaction to eating cauliflower. Cauliflower may prompt an allergic response characterized by symptoms such as severe itching, facial and hand swelling and breathing difficulties. If you develop allergy symptoms after eating cauliflower, seek medical attention.
Cauliflower contains purines. Purines are naturally occurring substances found in various foods and vegetables such as offal meats, sardines, pilchards, beef, spinach, kale, aubergine and cabbage. Purines are broken down in the body to form uric acid. An excess of purines triggers a gout attack in sensitive individuals, and may form kidney stones. If you suffer from gout — a condition caused by deposits of uric acid in your tissues — avoid purine-rich foods such as cauliflower to avoid aggravating your condition,
Gas and Bloating
Cauliflower contains non-digestible carbohydrates that cause gas and bloating in the digestive system. Sulphur-rich cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower leads to a smellier variety of gas, according to the BBC guide.
Nutrition in cauliflower:
How to choose, store and prepare:
Not so long ago, cauliflower was about the most boring looking vegetable on the planet, coming in beige and only in beige. Today, cauliflower is a riot of color.
At farmers markets right now you can find it in a lovely shade of orange (a variety called “Cheddar”) and even lavender (called “Graffiti”). If that’s not enough, you can always check out our old friend romanesco, with its tightly shaped pale green cones (this is called a broccoli, but genetically it is a cauliflower variety).
The good thing about all of this color is, unlike with many vegetables, it lasts through cooking — particularly if you add a little acidity, either vinegar or lemon juice.
Choosing: Cauliflower heads should be firm and tightly closed. White varieties should be very pale, with no dark “sunburned” spots. Reject any heads that show signs of softness, that’s the start of spoilage.
Storing: Though it seems durable, cauliflower is extremely perishable. Keep it tightly wrapped in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
Preparing: These cauliflowers have smooth, creamy curds and a sweet flavor. Try roasting them: Break the head into florets and toss them with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper; spread the florets on a baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees until they begin to brown and smell quite nutty, about 15 minutes.