Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable like cabbage and broccoli and is a member of the Brassica family.
It has a high content of both fiber and B vitamins as well as antioxidants and phytonutrients that can protect against cancer. It is also a rich source of choline which is important for learning and memory development.
Cauliflower can also be effective in weight loss as its fiber content helps with satiety.
Cauliflower Nutrition Facts
100 g of cauliflower is said to provide 25 calories, 1.9 g of protein, 0.3 g of fat, and 5 g of carbohydrates, including 2 g of fiber and 1.9 g of sugar, this is according to the USDA National Nutrient Database (2).
Also, consuming 100 g of cauliflower provides 80 percent of your vitamin C daily needs, 20 percent of vitamin K, 10 percent or more of vitamin B6 and folate needs, as well as smaller amounts of other nutrients like thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and manganese.
10 Amazing Health Benefits of Cauliflower
To earn a high rank, food must have a high amount of nutrient for a few calories. Here are ten amazing cauliflower benefits you should know and why you should eat them.
Cauliflower contains glucosinolates which are sulfur-containing compounds that give its pungent smell and flavor. Glucosinolates activate the body’s detoxification system.
A study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research shows that these compounds can be effective in reducing the risk of colon and rectal cancer.
Chewing breaks down glucosinolates into their active components such as sulforaphane and isothiocyanates.
During the process of chewing, glucosinolates are broken down into their active form, which triggers the detoxification process. A study shows that these bioactive compounds have antiestrogen and chemopreventive properties that prevent the growth of cancer cells (4)
After broccoli, cauliflower contains the second highest amount of glucosinolate, which proves why it is effective in cancer prevention (5).
2. High in Fiber
Cauliflower has high fiber content which is quite beneficial for overall health.
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Statistics show that there are 3 grams of fiber in one cup of cauliflower, which is about 10 percent of your daily need (6). Fibers are very important because they feed the healthy bacteria in the GIT that help reduce inflammation and promote digestive health (7).
However, several types of research show that a fiber-rich diet like cauliflower is linked with a lower risk of several illnesses including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes (9).
3. Rich Source of Powerful Antioxidants
Cauliflower is a rich source of powerful antioxidants, which protects the cells against damage by reactive oxygen species (ROS).
Antioxidants are molecules that safely interact with free radicals to help relieve oxidative stress; this is according to a 2010 article published in Pharmacognosy Review. (11)
As mentioned earlier, cauliflowers are extremely high in glucosinolates and isothiocyanates. These two powerful antioxidants have been shown to slow the growth of cancerous cells (12).
Consumption of these antioxidants rich vegetables also helps your body resist aging caused by everyday exposure to chronic stress and pollutants. Otherwise, you will be at a greater risk of oxidative stress, which accelerates tissue and organ damage.
Cauliflowers are also high in vitamin C which acts as an antioxidant.
Vitamin C is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties that may boost the immune system and reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer (13).
4. Aids in Weight Loss
One of the benefits of cauliflower is its ability to aid in weight loss.
Cauliflower contains only 25 calories per cup and zero gram of fats, very low carbs and sugar levels and extremely high in fiber content.
This makes cauliflower an excellent choice for those who are trying to shed more pounds, since eating cauliflower actually fills you up without too many calorie intakes.
As a good source of fiber, cauliflower stimulates bowel movement and promotes a feeling of fullness.
Cauliflower also contains a compound known as indoles which have anti-obesity properties.
A 2012 research published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry indicates that consumption of cauliflower is beneficial in preventing various metabolic and inflammation disorders in the body as well as help in stimulating fat-burning thermogenesis and preventing obesity (14).
5. Essential For Brain Health
Cauliflower is a rich source of choline, an essential nutrient for brain development (15).
A cup of cauliflower contains about 45 mg of choline, which is about 11 percent of the adequate intake (AI) for women and 8 percent for men (16).
Choline has so many important functions in brain health.
To begin with, choline plays a vital role in maintaining the integrity and structure of cell membranes, synthesizing DNA and supporting metabolism (17).
Choline is also important in brain development and the production of neurotransmitters including norepinephrine and dopamine which are necessary for a healthy nervous system. It also helps prevent cholesterol accumulation in the liver (18).
However, not many foods contain choline, another reason you should include cauliflower in your diet.
6. Helps In Pregnancy
Cauliflower can also be beneficial during pregnancy due to the presence of essential folate.
This nutrient helps prevent neural tube effects, such as spina bifida, in the fetus; this is according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (21).
Choline may also prove effective in this regard, although studies are inconclusive (22).
Cauliflower also contains essential vitamins and mineral which facilitates pregnancy and promotes overall health.
7. Protects Skin
Sulforaphane present in cauliflower is beneficial for protecting the skin against damage caused by ultraviolet radiation; this is according to findings of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (23).
This compound, sulforaphane defends the body against inflammation, skin cancer and cellular damage and UV-induces erythema (24).
Vitamin C is also important in the synthesis of collagen which helps in maintaining skin integrity.
8. Boosts Eye Health
The antioxidants and vitamin C content of cauliflower has been shown to reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
Another compound sulforaphane has also been found to protect retinal tissue from damage caused by oxidative stress as well as vision impairment and various eye ailments.
9. Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Cauliflower contains zero gram of cholesterol and is rich in phytosterols (plant sterols).
These plant sterols help keep the level of blood cholesterol in check by blocking the absorption of cholesterol in the gut.
A 2004 study published in the Current Opinion in Lipidology suggests that foods rich in phytosterols effectively decrease the levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol when given as a supplement.
However, smaller amounts of phytonutrients in natural foods have also been shown to be important to overall health (28).
10. Lowers Blood Pressure Levels
Cauliflower can also help in lowering blood pressure.
A 2012 research published in the American Journal of Hypertension discovered that sulforaphane can also normalize kidney function and significantly reduce blood pressure (29).
Another study published in International Scholarly Research Notices Pharmacology demonstrated the benefits of sulforaphane in lowering blood pressure. The researchers used spontaneously hypertensive rats that were treated with sulforaphane, after eight weeks, higher doses of sulforaphane significantly reduced their blood pressure (30).