A member of the Brassica family of vegetables because of its similarity to broccoli, it’s hard to say that cauliflower is exactly the best looking food out there. The white fleshy part of cauliflower that you eat has been noted for looking similar to a cheese curd, despite being much better for your overall health.
Cauliflower has been around for thousands of years, and has been noted for its health benefits, taste and ability to grow for long periods of time. There are a few different types of cauliflower depending where you are in the world, and they can even be different colors. There is actually a purple type of cauliflower that looks much more interesting than the white type we are used to. No matter what type of cauliflower you’re eating, there are some tremendous health benefits. Let’s take a closer look at what those benefits are, and how much cauliflower you should be eating.
Nutrition of Cauliflower
When you are eating one cup (or 100 grams) of cauliflower, you are only getting 25 calories which is a surprise considering the nutrients in each serving. Though it does have some sugars, there really isn’t much to worry about. Cauliflower is able to get you two grams of protein in each serving, and also adds 10 percent of your daily recommendation of dietary fiber. In terms of vitamins, you are getting 77 percent of your vitamin C needs with significant portions of vitamin K, folate and vitamin B6. There are also small amounts of thiamin, riboflavin and more.
Cauliflower is certainly much higher in vitamin value than in minerals, but it does have its benefits in that department. You are getting at least a small portion of your recommended intakes of potassium, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus. With small amounts of calcium, iron, zinc and copper also added, it makes for a well rounded food.
The vitamin C content of cauliflower that we just mentioned is going to work wonders for your immune system. Combined with the antioxidants found in cauliflower and minerals such as manganese, your body will be able to fight off a lot of diseases. Not only will it help you kill off infections in the body, but also prevent damaging inflammation that could lead to serious diseases such as cancer.
Cauliflower also contains a compound known as sulforaphane, which has been used in the fight against cancer. Studies show that this compound can help slow the growth of tumors and cancer cells that allow the body to stop the disease from spreading. Although there needs to be more human testing for the effect of sulforaphane against cancer, animal testing and early studies have been very encouraging.
Good For the Brain
Brain health is something we don’t think about that often unless we’ve seen the effects it can have on a loved one. If you are concerned about developing neurodegenerative problems, you should be adding more cauliflower to your diet. The sulforaphane that also helps to fight against cancer cells is also a major player in the fight against neurological problems. They have been shown in some studies to help lower your chances of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
You can maintain your brain health for much later in life with the minerals found in cauliflower, especially the high vitamin B6 count. This will allow you to prevent those mentioned diseases, while also increasing your day to day life. The nervous system will be more efficient in creating dopamine, which allows you to relieve symptoms of depression.
Vitamin K found in cauliflower (and again that helpful sulforaphane) can help you cardiovascular system, starting with the heart. Your blood pressure should be able to achieve a healthier level when eating more foods like cauliflower. It also helps you prevent a lot of heart diseases because of the anti-inflammatory properties.
Your body will also be able to detoxify more efficiently thanks to the high level of glucosinolates. With a detoxification process, you can prevent cardiovascular diseases and even some forms of cancer. For those that want to control their cholesterol, cauliflower can help with that too as it can help you lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, while having a positive response to HDL (good) cholesterol and triglycerides.
Another good way of making sure your blood pressure and cholesterol are kept in check is by managing a healthy weight. You likely already know that eating more vegetables can help you maintain that weight, and cauliflower certainly makes the list. With its low calorie count, you are able to eat quite a bit of cauliflower without the effects of weight gain.
Cauliflower also contains fiber, which causes you to feel more full throughout the day. Overall, you will see an improvement in your digestive system, which also plays a big part in controlling weight. The more efficient your digestive system is, the better your metabolism will be and allow you to keep weight off easier.
Skin and Bones
If you want to ensure that you have healthy bones for longer in your life, you should be taking in more vitamin C and vitamin K. Vitamin C produces the collagen your body needs to prevent damage to your bones, while vitamin K allows your bones to prevent density loss. These are major factors if you don’t want to have problems such as osteoporosis down the road.
Even your skin sees a benefit from strengthening due to the increased collagen levels. The antioxidants and collagen allow your skin to have more elasticity to prevent aging, and even prevents many types of damage. Damage from the sun will recover much faster in your skin, and cauliflower also helps fight against skin cancer.
Summing it Up
Reading about the benefits of cauliflower, it certainly seems like one of those foods that wouldn’t really have a limit as to how much you can eat. Since cauliflower does contain carbs and purines, you can eat too much, however. The carbs found in cauliflower are not able to be digested, which can cause some digestive discomfort if you eat a lot. However, this is a minor problem and you would have to eat a tremendous amount.
As for the purines in cauliflower, they can create uric acid in your body. Having too much uric acid can cause gout (which triggers possibly severe foot pain). This could also result in kidney stones if the count becomes too high. Still, cauliflower makes for a great addition to any diet, and as long as you are eating some of the other healthy foods that we have looked at, you will be more than fine. In fact, you’ll see a lot of those great health benefits that we touched on earlier.