Sunday dinner almost always included cauliflower as one of the vegetables when I was growing up. My Grandmother always told my siblings and I to “eat your vegetables – they are good for you!”. Yes – Grandma was right, but at the time there was very little published information about the nutrition of vegetables, so she probably had no real verification of cauliflower’s nutrients or health benefits. It turns out that cauliflower has more nutrients than my Grandma ever would have realized, and I am sure she would be amazed by this information if she were alive today!
Cauliflower is part of the same family of vegetables as kale, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage and collards – the cruciferous family. This particular family of vegetables is becoming known as a powerhouse of nutrition. Their health benefits are still being researched, but current data indicates that cruciferous vegetables can have a positive effect on many chronic conditions such as Crohn’s disease, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, obesity and rheumatoid arthritis.
Cauliflower has a very impressive nutritional profile: it contains:
- Vitamin C – important for our skin, our immune system and it is an antioxidant that helps protect our cells by neutralizing free radicals
- Vitamin B1(Thiamine) – necessary for mucous membranes, heart, muscles and the nervous system.
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) – essential for the nerves, the blood cells and regulation of certain hormones.
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin) – helps functioning of the nervous system, decreases cholesterol and trigylcerides in the blood, and could help with digestion.
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) – helps the cardiovascular, immune and nervous systems; important for healthy hair, skin and blood cell formation.
- Vitamin K – important for blood clotting, and for the kidneys.
- Folate (vitamin B9) – important in red blood cell formation, protein metabolism, growth and during pregnancy.
- Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B-5) – important for the metabolism of protein, fat and carbohydrates
- Choline – important for healthy cell structure, and for the brain and nerves
- Manganese – helpful for bones, skin and controlling blood sugar
- Phosphorous – necessary for healthy teeth and bones (along with calcium), beneficial for nerve function and for the kidneys.
- Biotin (Vitamin H) – helps growth and development, and for maintaining general good health.
- Magnesium – helps nerve and muscle function, keeps bones strong and supports the immune system.
- Fiber – necessary for good digestion and elimination, lowers the glycemic impact of foods
- Omega 3 fats – building blocks for the brain and nervous system
- Protein – necessary for tissues, blood cells, bones, enzyme and hormone production and much more.
Six terrific health benefits of cauliflower:
- Helps with detoxification: Cauliflower contains particular phytonutrients, called glucosinolates, that help to maintain the body’s natural detoxification processes by stimulating and regulating detoxification enzymes.
- Can reduce the risk of cancer: Cauliflower contains a high number of antioxidants which help guard the body’s cells against chronic oxidative stress, a major cause of many types of cancer.
- Can reduce the risk of inflammation: Some medical professionals believe that inflammation is the root cause of many chronic diseases, and the nutrients in cauliflower (particularly Vitamin K) can reduce the risk of inflammation.
- The high fiber content helps the digestive system.
- Helps protect the stomach: The glucosinolates in cauliflower can help prevent the overgrowth of Helicobacter pylori in the stomach (H. pylori is a bacteria than can weaken the stomach lining, cause inflammation in the stomach, and cause excess stomach acid)
- Contains good carbohydrates: Cauliflower contains healthy carbs that won’t spike your blood sugar.
Not only is cauliflower very healthy for us, it is a very versatile vegetable. It can be eaten raw, fried, steamed, baked, or boiled. Even though cauliflower has a light and delicate flavor of its own, it will easily pick up the flavor of virtually any spice you pair it with. If you are bored with the common white variety of cauliflower, you may be able to find the less common orange or purple varieties.
Here is an interesting, unusual and delicious way to cook cauliflower: Cauliflower Pizza Crust – it makes a terrific gluten free pizza and it is much healthier than the average wheat based thin crust pizza!
Are you interested in learning more about how adding whole foods to your dietary lifestyle can provide energy and build optimal health? Contact me – I’d be happy to help!
Copyright © 2014 Cathy Ormon – All Rights Reserved