Everything you need to know about cauliflower

Table of Contents

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable rich in fiber and B-vitamins, naturally.

It contains phytonutrients and antioxidants that can protect against cancer. It also includes fiber, choline, which is important for learning and memory, and several other significant nutrients to support weight loss and digestion.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released an article that places cauliflower 24th on a list of “powerhouse fruits and vegetables.”

Important facts about cauliflower:

Here are some primary cauliflower facts. More detail is in the main article.

  • Cauliflower is a good source of vitamins and fiber as well.
  • Its components can help to strengthen the bones, increase the cardiovascular system and prevent cancer.
  • Tasty cauliflower eating methods include pizza with cauliflower crust and cauliflower and cheese soup.
  • People who use blood thinners should not suddenly start consuming a lot of cauliflower because the drugs could respond adversely to the high levels of vitamin K.

Nutrition

Cauliflower
Cauliflower is high in fiber and nutrients.

One cup of chopped raw cauliflower, cut into half-inch pieces and weighing about 107 grams, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, contains:

  • 27 calories
  • 2 grams (g) of protein
  • 0.3 grams of fat
  • 5 g of carbohydrate, including 2.1 g of fiber and 2 g of sugar
  • 24 milligrams (mg) of calcium
  • 16 mg of magnesium
  • 47 mg of phosphorus
  • 320 mg of potassium
  • 51.6 mg of vitamin C
  • 16.6 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K
  • 0.197 mcg of vitamin B6
  • 61 mcg of folate

One cup of raw cauliflower will provide:

  • 77 percent of daily vitamin C needs
  • 20 percent of daily vitamin K needs
  • 10 percent or more of daily needs for vitamin B 6 and folate

They also contain thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and manganese in smaller quantities.

Benefits

It has been discovered that eating fruits and vegetables of all sorts reduces the risk of having many adverse health conditions.

It has been found that consuming more plant foods, such as cauliflower, decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and general mortality while encouraging healthier skin, increased energy, and lower weight overall.

Digestion

Cauliflower has high amounts of water and fiber. Both are important for the prevention of constipation, the preservation of a healthy digestive tract and the reduction of colon cancer danger.

Studies have shown that dietary fiber also helps to control inflammation and the immune system. As a consequence, it may help reduce the risk of conditions associated with inflammation, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity.

A high consumption of fiber has been related to a substantially lower risk of developing:

A higher consumption of fiber tends to help lower levels of blood pressure and cholesterol, improve insulin sensitivity, and increase weight loss for people with obesity.

Cancer

Cauliflower contains antioxidants which help to prevent cellular mutations and reduce free radical oxidative stress.

Indole-3-carbinol or I3C, typically contained in cruciferous vegetables such as cabbages, broccoli, and cauliflower, is one of these antioxidants. It has been shown that it decreases the risk of male and female breast and reproductive cancers.

A reduced risk of lung and colon cancer has been linked with consuming more cruciferous vegetables for the last 30 years.

Studies have proposed that compounds containing sulfur, known as sulforaphane, can help combat various cancer types. Sulforaphane is what gives the bitter bite to cruciferous vegetables.

Sulforaphane, researchers suggest, will inhibit the enzyme histone deacetylase (HDAC), which is believed to be involved in cancer cell progression.

Sulforaphane is now being tested by scientists to see whether it could delay or hinder cancer. For melanoma, esophageal, prostate, and pancreatic cancers, there have been positive findings so far.

If HDAC enzymes are blocked by foods containing sulforaphane, they may be used in the future as part of cancer treatment.

Memory

Choline in cauliflower is an essential and flexible “vitamin-like component” that helps with sleep, movement of the muscles, learning, and memory.

It also helps to preserve the cellular membrane structure, helps to transmit nerve impulses, helps to absorb fat, and decreases chronic inflammation.

Strong bones

A low intake of vitamin K has been linked with an increased risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture.

By acting as a modifier of bone matrix proteins, enhancing calcium absorption, and preventing the excretion of calcium in the urine, vitamin K intake may improve bone health.

Healthy circulation

To decrease the risk of cardiovascular disorders, a high intake of fiber has been established.

People who take calcium supplements may be at risk of calcium build-up in the blood vessels, but calcium intake of vitamin K may minimize the probability of this occurring.

Diet

Cauliflower is fresh or frozen and available. Fresh cauliflower must have a firm head with no dark spots, and bright green leaves attached to the stem. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in a plastic bag.

Serve it:

  • steamed or roasted as a side dish
  • baked in a cheese sauce, as cauliflower cheese
  • fried until golden brown, then added to rice dishes
  • as the main ingredient in a curry

Some more innovative ways to use cauliflower include:

  • cauliflower crust pizza
  • cauliflower “rice”
  • buffalo cauliflower “wings”

The following delicious, healthy recipes also include cauliflower:

Creamy cauliflower soup with white cheddar

Garlic parmesan mashed cauliflower with chives

Curry-spiced cauliflower with breadcrumbs

Risks

Some unwanted effects of consuming cauliflower can occur, especially if it is eaten in excess.

Bloating and flatulence: Increased bloating and flatulence may be caused by foods that are rich in fiber. Most individuals can tolerate these foods in moderate portions, though.

For health reasons, someone who raises their consumption of high-fiber foods should do so gradually and track symptoms to assess which foods cause bloating, if any.

Blood clotting: For a person taking blood thinners, high levels of vitamin K can cause complications, as vitamin K helps the blood clot.

Anyone taking blood-thinning medications, such as Coumadin or warfarin, should not immediately start consuming large quantities of vitamin K-containing foods.

For preventing illness and achieving good health, the overall diet is important. Consuming a diet with a range is healthier than relying on particular foods.

Sources

  • ANDI food scores: Rating the nutrient density of foods. (n.d.) (LINK)
  • Bakken, (2013, March 22). Foods can help fight inflammation
    (LINK)
  • Basic report: 11135 Cauliflower, raw. (2016, May) (LINK)
  • Di Noia, J. (2014). Defining powerhouse fruits and vegetables: A nutrient density approach. Preventing Chronic Disease 11, 130390
    (LINK)
  • Maresz, K. (2015, February). Proper calcium use: Vitamin K2 as a promoter of bone and cardiovascular health. Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal 14(1), 34-39
    (LINK)
  • Marques, F. Z., Nelson, E. M., Chu, P.-Y., Horlock, D., Fielder, A., Ziemann, M., …Kaye, D. M. (2016, December 7). Heart failure in DOCA-salt hypertensive mice. Circulation
    (LINK)
  • Tortorella, S.M., Royce, S. G., Licciardi, P. V., & Karagiannis, T. C. (2015, June 1). Dietary sulforaphane in cancer chemoprevention: The role of epigenetic regulation and HDAC inhibition. Antioxidants and redox signalling 22(16), 1382–1424
    (LINK)
  • Zeisel, S. H., da Costa, K.-A. (2009). Choline: An essential nutrient for public health. Nutrition Reviews 67(11), 615-623
    (LINK)

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