Cauliflower is know as one of the healthiest foods on earth due to its rich supply of health-promoting phytochemicals, high level of anti-inflammatory compounds, and ability to ward off cancer, heart disease, brain disease, and even weight gain. It appears there isn’t much cauliflower can’t do. Recent studies suggest that cruciferous vegetables are an excellent source of natural antioxidants due to their high levels of various phytochemicals, as well as good suppliers of essential vitamins, carotenoids, fiber, soluble sugars, minerals, and phenolic compounds.
Powerful Nutrition Profile of Cauliflower
Cauliflower is believed to be beneficial due to its special combination of antioxidants which are currently being extensively researched in order to understand more about how they keep the body healthy.
A one-cup serving of cauliflower contains:
- 29 calories
- Close to zero grams of fat, sodium, or sugar
- 73% daily value (DV) of Vitamin C
- 19% DV of Vitamin K
- 15% DV of folate14%
- 13% DV of pantothenic acid
- 12% DV of Vitamin B6
- 11% DV of choline
- 11% DV of fiber
- 9% DV of Omega-3 fatty acids
And these values are for only one cup of cauliflower. Due to the large volume and low calorie count of cauliflower, it’s easy to eat 2 cups or more of cooked cauliflower at one time, especially when you use as rice. This means you can get 2x the health benefits listed above.
Top 6 Health Benefits of Cauliflower
- Fights Inflammation
Inflammation is at the heart of nearly all chronic diseases that we are faced with today. Cauliflower is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds which lower oxidative stress and the presence of free radicals in our body. The important range of antioxidants found in cauliflower- including the vitamins listed above but also beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, caffeic acid, cinnamic acid, ferulic acid, quercetin, rutin, and kaempferol- help to reduce oxidative stress in the body, which when left unregulated can lead to cancer and various other conditions. Just a one-cup serving of cauliflower contains at least 73% or more of the recommended daily value of vitamin C, helping to reduce inflammation, boost immunity and keep the body free of harmful bacteria, infections, and the common cold.
- Decreases Risk for Heart Disease & Brain Disorders
Researchers now know that high levels of inflammation are correlated with an increased risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Cauliflower’s anti-inflammatory abilities- found especially in its supply of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, various antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids- help to keep arteries and blood vessels free from plaque build-up, lessening the chances of high blood pressure and out of control cholesterol levels developing. These serious conditions can lead to further inflammation, allergies and autoimmune responses, and even possible cardiac arrest. Cauliflower’s powerful nutrients help to stop the immune system from operating on overdrive, creating auto-immune reactions that can lead to oxidative stress capable of damaging brain cells.
- Provides High Levels of Vitamins and Minerals (especially important Vitamin C and Vitamin K)
In addition to Vitamin C and other antioxidants, cauliflower is also a good source of Vitamin K. Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin, meaning it is absorbed in the intestines along with fat, so this is one reason why eating cauliflower along with a source of healthy fat (like coconut oil for example) is important. Vitamin K is responsible for keeping the skeletal structure healthy and helps to prevent conditions related to loss in bone mineral density like osteoporosis. Additionally it helps with blood clotting as well as bone calcification. But perhaps even more importantly, Vitamin K has been shown to have direct positive impacts on turning off inflammation in the body. It’s believed that a poor diet- much like the standard American diet that many people eat today- is one of the fey factors playing into a Vitamin K deficiency that so many people experience. Other reasons for Vitamin K deficiency include long-term use of antibiotics, digestive and intestinal problems such as chronic inflammatory bowel disease, and popular cholesterol lowering pharmaceutical drugs. Luckily cauliflower is able to provide a high dose of the much needed essential Vitamin which can help offset problems associated with a poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle habits.
- Improves Digestion and Detoxification
Certain compounds found in cauliflower- sulforaphane, glucobrassicin, glucoraphanin, and gluconasturtiian- are very useful for helping the body detox due to how they support liver function. Cruciferous vegetables are beneficial for digestion and detoxification because of their rich supply of sulfur containing compounds called glucosinolates, which support proper nutrient absorption and toxin and waste removal.
Glucosinolates stimulate what are known as Phase II enzymes, the body’s natural antioxidant system; there they help to trigger the liver to produce detoxifying enzymes that block free-radical damage. Glucosinolate can also help protect the delicate lining of the stomach, reducing the chances of developing leaky gut or other digestive disorders. At the same time sulforaphane facilitates detox and digestion by preventing bacterial overgrowth from occurring in the gut microflora, keeping bad bacteria from overwhelming the digestive system and allowing good bacteria to thrive.
- Aids in Weight Loss
Cauliflower is extremely low in calories (only 29 calories per cup), has virtually zero grams of fat, very low levels of carbs and sugar, and yet is high in volume and filling fiber. This makes it an excellent choice for those looking to lose weight, since you can consume large amounts of cauliflower and fill up, without over-consuming calories, fat, sugar, or carbs.
Cauliflower also helps to reduce constipation and to keep excess waste or water weight moving out of your body, which helps you to feel immediately better.
- Helps Balance Hormones
Consuming a diet rich in whole foods and antioxidant-filled vegetables like cauliflower has been shown to help balance hormones partially by reducing unhealthy levels of estrogen. High estrogen foods can be harmful to health when they begin destroying the vulnerable hormonal balance that many people struggle to maintain.
A poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle makes hormonal imbalances very common; processed foods like soy, meat, dairy, yeast, and refined can all lead to an unhealthy level of estrogen in the body. Too much estrogen in the blood stream is associated with health issues like hypothyroidism, autoimmune disease, chronic fatigue, and ovarian cancer.