Cauliflower is the virginal white member of the brassica and cruciferous family, along with its partners of broccoli, kale, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. White cauliflower is commonly used in the United Kingdom. However, there are other varieties such as green, purple, orange and Romanescu. Orange is rarely seen in the UK and research shows that the cauliflower nutrition has no more advantageous properties than the types commonly found in markets and supermarkets.
Cauliflowers are made up of small florets. Which when broken off the main stem resemble small trees. From the often discarded stems, healthy soups and stews can be made. All of the cauliflower is edible.
Packed with cauliflower nutrition, cauliflower is the most commonly used ‘vegetable-flower’. It has a similar nutritional profile to that of broccoli and cabbage. Both being a paramount component of the fight against certain cancers. They are also a great vegetable to use in a weight loss diet.
Having less than 30 calories in an average sized head, and extremely low in fat and cholesterol content. Eating cauliflower regularly will help protect you from free radical damage. It could also reduce the risk of diseases caused by oxidative stress, such as cancer and cardiovascular problems.
So what makes cauliflower nutrition a great addition to your diet?
There are 5 specific reasons for cauliflower nutrition:
- Nutritional: Cauliflower contains vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine) and B9 (folic acid). Thereby rendering it a good source of proteins, phosphorus and potassium. However, do not overdose on cauliflower. Due to the purines it contains, these break down in the body to produce uric acid. Too much of which can cause gout. Vital B-complex vitamins are essential from outside sources for the body to replenish and regulate protein and carbohydrate metabolism.
- Digestive: Cauliflower can help cleanse the digestive system and rid the body of unnecessary substances, as well as protecting your stomach lining. A component in cauliflower, glucoraphin, reduces certain bacteria which can cause stomach ulcers and cancer.
- Anti-Inflammatory: Cauliflower contains high amounts of Vitamin K and Omega-3 acids which aid in decreasing inflammation in certain parts of the body. Cauliflower has the potential to decrease the risk of diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, IBS and colitis and in fact, any part of the body prone to inflammation.
- Cardiovascular: Due to the high content of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, cauliflower can protect your heart. It does this by reducing inflammation of blood vessels which leads to a decrease in their diameter, and restrictive blood flow. This potentially leads to heart attacks, kidney failure and strokes.
- Great source of Vitamin C and manganese: Both powerful antioxidants. By including it in your diet, the antioxidants found in cauliflowers, could lower the risk of various cancers and cardio problems.
A word about potassium – as cauliflower contains potassium, it can counter the hypertension effects of too much sodium (salt)
More About Cauliflower Research
Research is still being carried out on the beneficial effects of DIM, a lipid soluble abundantly present in cauliflowers and other brassica.
This is an anti-viral and anti-bacterial compound. HPV, the Human Papillima Virus can be aided due to this anti-bacterial compound.
Whilst cauliflower can sometimes be maligned as a boring vegetable, there are ways of making it more tasty.
You could mix it with other vegetables, meat, sauces, spices and also in pickling, for a great taste.
WARNING! If you have any form of thyroid dysfunction, it is better to avoid cauliflower completely as it can potentially cause swelling of the thyroid gland.