7 Potential Health Benefits of Cauliflower

7 Potential Health Benefits of Cauliflower

It’s praised as a low-carb replacement for rice or a meatless stand-in for chicken wings, but cauliflower has even more to offer, particularly nutritionally.

Cauliflower contains a number of minerals, including fiber and vitamins K and C.

In recent years, cauliflower has experienced a tremendous resurgence. You can get fairly inventive with it, but the fastest and tastiest method to get your vegetables is to roast or steam it. This cruciferous vegetable can be used to make anything from cauliflower wings to cauliflower risotto, even cauliflower steaks and pizza dough. It’s understandable why keto dieters and those with diabetes seeking low-carb food choices favor it because it’s low in calories, carbs, and cholesterol.

There are other options besides the well-known white broccoli, though. Thanks to various dyes, there are purple, orange, and green types (which are usually also antioxidants, so vary the colors for more nutrients). Regardless of color, broccoli generally has a mild, nutty taste with a hint of sweetness. It can be consumed either raw or cooked, which slightly alters the flavor. Comparatively speaking, prepared cauliflower tastes less acrid than raw cauliflower.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, broccoli is best consumed during its season, which is during the autumn months (USDA). But don’t let that stop you from picking up some broccoli the rest of the year — it’s readily available in the frozen area of most supermarket stores year-round. Cauliflower can be a great addition to your normal diet for more reasons than just its flavor and adaptability. Additionally loaded with numerous possible health advantages is cauliflower. Here are seven more things to think about.

1. Cauliflower Is Rich in Free-Radical-Fighting Antioxidants

“Being a member of the brassica (cruciferous vegetable) family, cauliflower is rich in specific kinds of antioxidants called phytochemicals, which are known to help fend off free radicals from causing harm and aging to our cells,” explains Austin, Texas-based registered dietitian Jenna Volpe. She continues by pointing out that antioxidants like anthoxanthins, flavonoids, chlorophyll, quercetin, and coumaric acid are also present in broccoli. Antioxidants are sometimes referred to as “free radical scavengers” because they steady and eliminate free radicals, which are unstable atoms that cause damage to cells. Although the body produces free radicals naturally, there are numerous outside sources as well, with solar radiation being a major one. According to a review released in 2021 in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, an antioxidant-rich diet can aid in reducing the negative impacts of free radicals and have beneficial effects on diseases like cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, cancer, and other conditions.

2. Cauliflower Fights Inflammation, Potentially Reducing the Risk of Disease

Inflammation is a quiet murderer that has escaped control. According to study that was released in Nature Medicine in 2020, chronic inflammation plays a role in some of the most common illnesses and fatality causes in the world, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and renal disease. Your dietary decisions are one of many elements that cause inflammation. While some nutrients promote inflammation, others work to combat it. One of those is cauliflower. According to a research that was released in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, cauliflower and other cruciferous veggies have anti-inflammatory qualities, says Raleigh, North Carolina-based RD Christine Byrne. Although some inflammation is beneficial and essential, chronic inflammation raises the chance of developing early-onset diseases.

3. Cauliflower Can Support a Healthy Immune System With High Levels of Vitamin C

Oranges, bell peppers, strawberries—these foods are rich in vitamin C and are recommended for strengthening the defense system. According to a study released in 2020 in Frontiers in Immunology, getting enough vitamin C through food has a beneficial impact on immune health and lowers vulnerability to infection. Cauliflower has recently been added to the list. Your daily vitamin C needs are significantly reduced by one portion of broccoli. According to the FDA, 1 cup of uncooked, chopped broccoli is a very good supply of vitamin C, containing 51.6 milligrams in it.

4. Thanks to Its Vitamin K, Cauliflower Encourages Bone Health and Proper Blood Clotting

Vitamin K is an important vitamin, and cauliflower is an excellent source of it, with 16.6 micrograms crammed into 1 cup of the uncooked chopped vegetable. While broccoli has antioxidant qualities similar to those of other vitamins, its greatest benefits to blood and bone health. According to Volpe, cauliflower is the only white vegetable that is high in fat-soluble vitamin K. The nutrient’s primary function in the body is to aid in blood clotting and coagulation, which explains why its name derives from the Germanic term koagulation, which means the capacity to clot blood, coagulate, and stop hemorrhaging. Blood coagulation prevents bleeding from incisions, which prevents them from healing.

But the vitamin K in broccoli also plays a crucial part in bone health, making it good for healthy blood clotting as well. According to a meta-analysis that was released in 2021 in the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research, calcium is also essential for strong bones, and the two may be able to improve the prognosis of osteoporosis and poor bone mineral density. Volpe points out that people taking blood thinners should watch their vitamin K consumption to prevent complications.

5. Cauliflower Is Rich in Fiber, Which Supports a Healthy Gut and Heart

One of the most crucial nutrients, fiber, is one that many Americans find difficult to consume enough of. The normal Western diet is deficient in fiber, despite fiber’s potential health advantages for gut motility, gut bacteria, and colon cancer, according to a study published in Nutrients in 2020. Although many Americans pile meat, eggs, and seafood onto their platters, these meals don’t contain fiber. As a result, it is up to your side meals to include fiber-rich foods like fruits, veggies, whole cereals, and plant-based proteins like lentils, nuts, and seeds. Cauliflower is an excellent method to increase your intake of fiber, just like many other vegetables. According to USDA statistics, a cup of prepared broccoli contains almost 3 grams of fiber. This significantly exceeds the 28 to 34 grams of fiber per day suggested by the USDA’s 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (PDF), based on age and sex.

Although fiber is frequently linked to promoting digestive health, it is also a substance that is good for the heart. Fiber is known to lower the chance of heart disease, but it may also help individuals with heart disease and elevated blood pressure, according to a meta-analysis published in 2022 in BMC Medicine.

6. Cauliflower May Reduce Cancer Risk

Cancer is a major source of death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Since it is so common, most individuals know someone who has the disease. Even though there is still much to learn about cancer, some research suggests that broccoli may have anti-cancer qualities.

According to Byrne, eating more fruits and veggies is generally linked to a reduced chance of cancer. But due to some phytochemicals they contain, cruciferous veggies like broccoli may be especially successful in stopping the development of cancer cells. Insisting that this does not imply that consuming cauliflower protects cancer, Byrne. No single food or food category can cause or avoid an illness, and nutrition is not the only element in health, the author continues.

The evidence from research supports doing just that. Several kinds of cancer have been inversely related to cruciferous veggies like cauliflower. Eating cruciferous vegetables may lower the chance of lung cancer in nonsmokers, according to a 2017 research that appeared in The Journal of Nutrition. Comparable research has been done on colon, prostate, and breast cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, cruciferous vegetables are of special interest to cancer experts because they contain glucosinolates, which are converted into substances like indoles and isothiocyanates that have been shown to prevent the growth of cancer in animal studies.

Cauliflower’s potential anti-cancer properties may also be aided by its antioxidant content. According to Volpe, flavonoids (like those in broccoli) “have a strong propensity to help fend off cancer cells while keeping healthy human cells” in addition to slowing down oxidative cell harm.

7. Cauliflower May Help Maintain a Healthy Weight

Good health is correlated with maintaining a reasonable weight, and fruits and veggies can support this goal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, replacing high-calorie meals with low-calorie fruits and veggies can help people lose weight. Due to the water and fiber in fruits and vegetables, you can consume the same amount of food while taking in fewer calories. A 2019 research in The Lancet found that high fiber intake is linked to considerably lower body weight. The fiber also prolongs your feeling of fullness.

Cauliflower is a low-calorie food that is useful in diet plans for weight reduction or maintenance because it contains less than 30 calories per cup. Keto eaters ingeniously use the vegetable to create low-carb pizza crust, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and fried rice.

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