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Cauliflower Benefits and Nutritional Profile

Want to learn more about how cauliflower benefits your health? This vegetable is packed with valuable antioxidants. It also contains fiber that can help support healthy weight loss.

SUMMARY

Cauliflower benefits wellness by providing the body with ample amounts of vitamin C; it’s also one of the best plant sources of choline. This cruciferous veggie has enough nutrition to help stave off conditions such as heart disease and cancer. The health benefits of cauliflower also include its ability to help support weight maintenance and weight loss. 

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When it comes to the nutrition it provides, cauliflower packs a more potent punch than many people realize. 

Like broccoli, Brussels sprouts and bok choy, this plant-based food is a cruciferous vegetable. Cruciferous veggies such as cauliflower are great sources of fiber and antioxidants. 

And cauliflower benefits your health and wellness in other ways. It contains choline, a nutrient that’s hard to come by. And this low-carb food is an excellent alternative to potatoes, grains and legumes for those who are on a keto eating plan. 

Let’s take a closer look at the nutritional profile and health benefits of cauliflower. 

In this article, we will:

  • Share some basic facts regarding this healthy cruciferous vegetable
  • Discuss cauliflower nutrition
  • List key cauliflower benefits that support your health

Cauliflower basics

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that’s part of the Brassica oleracea family. This family of vegetables also includes Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, collard greens and cabbage.

Typically, only the head of the cauliflower is eaten. The head is made up of cauliflower florets that are easily separated. 

Types of cauliflower

There are different types of cauliflower, and they come in a variety of colors:

1. White cauliflower

White cauliflower is the most common variant of this cruciferous veggie. It has a white head surrounded by green leaves 

2. Green cauliflower

Green cauliflower is also referred to as broccoflower. It has a shade of green that’s similar to that of broccoli. Green cauliflower has a less crumbly texture than the white variant of this vegetable. Aside from those two differences, though, green cauliflower is similar in many ways to the white version.  

3. Purple cauliflower

Purple cauliflower has a deep purple head surrounded by leaves that are bluish-green in color. Relative to other variants of this vegetable, purple cauliflower benefits your health in a unique way thanks to the presence of an antioxidant called anthocyanin. Anthocyonin is what gives this type of cauliflower its rich purple hue, and it can help prevent heart disease and reduce inflammation. Purple cauliflower has a sweeter, milder taste than other variants of this vegetable. 

4. Orange/yellow cauliflower

This version features orange or yellow cauliflower florets surrounded by green leaves. The orange/yellow color tends to grow even more intense during the cooking process. One of the health benefits of cauliflower that’s orange/yellow in hue concerns beta-carotene, a nutrient that supports eye health. As you might have guessed from its color, orange/yellow cauliflower is higher in beta-carotene than the white variety. 

Cauliflower nutrition

It’s time to take a deep dive into cauliflower nutrition. This vegetable contains a wide range of valuable nutrients. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a cup of raw cauliflower contains the following:

  • Water – 101 g 
  • Calories – 27.5
  • Protein – 2.11 g
  • Fat – 0.308 g
  • Carbohydrates – 5.47 g
  • Fiber – 2.2 g
  • Sugar – 2.1 g
  • Calcium – 24.2 mg
  • Iron – 0.462 mg
  • Magnesium – 16.5 mg
  • Phosphorus – 48.4 mg
  • Potassium – 329 mg
  • Sodium – 33 mg
  • Zinc – 0.297 mg
  • Copper – 0.043 mg
  • Selenium – 0.66 µg
  • Vitamin C – 53 mg
  • Thiamin – 0.055 mg
  • Riboflavin – 0.066 mg
  • Niacin – 0.558 mg
  • Vitamin B6 – 0.202 mg
  • Folate – 62.7 µg
  • Choline – 48.7 mg
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin – 1.1 µg
  • Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) – 0.088 mg
  • Vitamin K (phylloquinone) – 17 µg
  • Saturated fatty acids – 0.143 g
  • Monounsaturated fatty acids – 0.037 g
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids – 0.034 g 

Cauliflower benefits

What are the health benefits of cauliflower? Let’s examine the many ways in which this nutritious vegetable supports wellness: 

Cauliflower benefit #1: Rich source of vitamin C

Vitamin C is a nutrient that strengthens your immune system, giving it the resources it needs to help your body fight off viruses and pathogens. Additionally, vitamin C functions as a powerful antioxidant, working tirelessly to combat oxidative stress. 

Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C. According to the National Institutes of Health, adults should aim to get between 75-90 mg of vitamin C each day. As we mentioned in our section on cauliflower nutrition, this vegetable contains a whopping 53 mg of vitamin C in just a one-cup serving.

Cauliflower benefit #2: High in dietary fiber

Cauliflower benefits your health via its high fiber content.

Fiber provides your gut with healthy bacteria. This bacteria can help reduce inflammation in the body. The gut also needs to be adequately populated with good bacteria if the digestive system is to function in a healthy way.

Dietary fiber has been linked with other health benefits. Studies show that a diet loaded with high-fiber vegetables such as cauliflower may help reduce your risk of developing chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer

Cauliflower benefit #3: Rich source of antioxidants

Your body makes free radicals when it’s exposed to toxins such as processed food and polluted air. It’s healthy to have a certain level of free radicals in your body, but if this level gets too high, it can cause health problems such as inflammation and accelerated aging. 

Antioxidants help fight free radicals in the body. They work hard to keep your body’s free radicals at healthy levels. By doing this, they can help ward off inflammation and prevent chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. 

Cauliflower is rich in two types of antioxidants: glucosinolates and isothiocyanates. Research shows that these antioxidants can help slow the growth of cancer cells. Glucosinolate and isothiocyanate antioxidants are especially effective against prostate cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer and lung cancer. 

Additionally, cauliflower benefits wellness by providing your body with carotenoid and flavonoid antioxidants. Studies show that carotenoid and flavonoid antioxidant activity can help prevent illnesses such as cancer and heart disease

Cauliflower benefit #4: Excellent source of choline

Choline is a nutrient that’s essential for good health. Unfortunately, though, choline deficiency is quite common. 

Research shows that the body uses choline to help preserve the integrity of cell membranes. Choline also plays a key role in brain function, and it helps the body produce the neurotransmitters that are necessary to help maintain a healthy nervous system. Additionally, this nutrient helps prevent cholesterol from accumulating in the liver. 

It can be difficult to get choline from dietary sources, since it isn’t found in very many foods. Cauliflower benefits your health by being one of best plant-based sources of choline. 

Cauliflower benefit #5: Supports healthy weight loss

The health benefits of cauliflower include its ability to facilitate weight loss and weight management that support your overall wellness. 

This cruciferous veggie is low in calories; as mentioned in our section on cauliflower nutrition, this plant-based food contains just 27.5 calories per cup. Over 90 percent of its weight consists of water; studies show that a diet high in water-dense foods that are low in calories can do a great job of helping you achieve healthy weight loss. 

And as we mentioned earlier, cauliflower is high in fiber. Fiber slows down the digestive process and can help you feel more satiated. Due to its high fiber content, eating cauliflower can support weight loss by giving you a full feeling after each meal. This feeling of fullness will make it easier for you to consume fewer calories each day. 

Cauliflower benefit #6: Great low-carb substitute for potatoes, grains and beans

Cauliflower is relatively low-carb, with fewer carbohydrates than potatoes, grains and beans. If you’re on a low-carb eating plan such as the ketogenic diet, cauliflower benefits your health journey. It makes an excellent substitute in recipes that call for certain high-carb ingredients. 

For example, you can replace rice with cauliflower rice — this is simply cauliflower that has been processed to resemble white rice. Mashed potatoes can be substituted with a creamy cauliflower mash. Cauliflower can be used instead of flour when making a pizza crust; this cauliflower pizza crust tastes as good as the real thing. You can also use cauliflower to make low-carb versions of dishes such as hummus, tortillas and macaroni and cheese. 

Next steps

Now that you know all about the ways in which cauliflower benefits your health, add more of the nutritious vegetable to your eating plan. Eat it raw or stir-fried. Opt for steamed cauliflower, or include this food in your homemade pizza crust. Regardless of how you choose to prepare your cauliflower, your wellness will be supported by each and every nutrient contained in this healthy food. 

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