It’s that time of the year when markets bloom up with that spongy, anti-inflammatory, heart healthy flowering vegetable know as cauliflower. You’ll want to include cauliflower as one of the cruciferous vegetables you eat on a regular basis if you want to receive these 7 fantastic health benefits.
Cauliflower also contains vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine) and B9 (folic acid). It contains omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin K. It serves as a good source of proteins, phosphorus and potassium. Cauliflower is a very good sourceof vitamin C and manganese, which are both powerful antioxidants.
Aside from these antioxidants above, cauliflower also contains carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, and phytonutrients that include kaempferol, ferulic acid, cinnamic acid and caffeic acid. With these antioxidants, you can be certain that eating cauliflower regularly will help protect you from free radical damage and reduce your risk for diseases caused by oxidative stress, such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
It contains glucosinolates and thiocyanates (including sulforaphane and isothiocyanate), which help to increase the liver’s ability to neutralise potentially toxic substances that could lead to cancer if left unattended. The presence of enzymes like glutathione transferase, glucuronosyl transferase and quinone reductase also help in the detoxifying process.
The detox support provided by cauliflower includes antioxidant nutrients to boost Phase 1 detoxification activities and sulfur-containing nutrients to boost Phase 2 activities.While the glucosinolate content of cauliflower is definitely significant from a health standpoint, cauliflower contains about one-fourth as much total glucosinolates as Brussels sprouts, about one-half as much as Savoy cabbage, about 60% as much as broccoli, and about 70% as much as kale.
4) Cancer Prevention
There are dozens of studies linking cauliflower-containing diets to cancer prevention, particularly with respect to the following types of cancer: bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer. This connection between cauliflower and cancer prevention should not be surprising, since cauliflower provides special nutrient support for several body systems that are closely connected with cancer development as well as cancer prevention.
Several research on this flowery vegetable have revealed that it has compounds to resist cancer; it has the ability to eliminate cancer enzymes.
Potentially, regular cauliflower consumption can help decrease the risk of inflammation-mediated diseases such as arthritis, obesity, diabetes mellitus, inflammatory bowel disease and ulcerative colitis. A cup of boiled cauliflower contains about 11 micrograms of vitamin K and 0.21 g omega-3 fatty acids. Because of the omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin K in cauliflower, it helps to prevent chronic inflammation that leads to conditions such as arthritis, chronic pain, and certain bowel conditions. In addition, one of the glucosinolates found in cauliflower–glucobrassicin–can be readily converted into an isothiocyanate molecule called ITC, or indole-3-carbinol. I3C is an anti-inflammatory compound that can actually operate at the genetic level, and by doing so, prevent the initiation of inflammatory responses at a very early stage.
6) Digestive Support
A cup of boiled cauliflower delivers about 3.35 g of dietary fiber, which helps clean your digestive system and gets rid of unnecessary substances. Additionally, a substance called glucoraphin present in cauliflower appears to have a protective effect on your stomach lining. With glucoraphin, your stomach is not prone to the bacterium helicobacter pylori, thereby reducing your risk for stomach ulcer and cancer.
7) Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular
By virtue of having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, cauliflower consumption is protective against cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. For instance, in atherosclerosis, there is chronic inflammation of the blood vessel, and the deposition of lipids and white blood cells eventually leads to a decrease in their diameter. This decrease in diameter leads to decreased blood flow to essential organs like the brain (which could lead to stroke), heart (which could lead to heart attack) and kidneys (which could lead to kidney failure). By decreasing chronic inflammation, cauliflower is able to maintain the patency of the blood vessels and keeps excellent blood flow to essential organs of the body.
Scientists have not always viewed cardiovascular problems as having a central inflammatory component, but the role of unwanted inflammation in creating problems for our blood vessels and circulation has become increasingly fundamental to an understanding of cardiovascular diseases. Of particular interest is its glucoraphanin content. Glucoraphanin is a glucosinolate that can be converted into the isothiocyanate (ITC) sulforaphane. Not only does sulforaphane trigger anti-inflammatory activity in our cardiovascular system–it may also be able to help prevent and even possibly help reverse blood vessel damage. It also contains allicin, which has been found to reduce the occurrence of stroke and heart disease.
Forget The Mashed Potatoes: Try This Very Healthy Alternative
Cauliflower florets are the part of the plant that most people eat. However, the stem and leaves are edible too and are especially good for adding to soup stocks.
To cut cauliflower, first remove the outer leaves and then slice the florets at the base where they meet the stalks. You can further cut them, if you desire pieces that are smaller or of uniform size. Trim any brown coloration that may exist on the edges.
One of the best ways to eat cauliflower to maximize nutrients is to eat it raw. However, for those who don’t like the crunch or taste, try this mashed cauliflower recipe which is a delicious and healthy substitute for traditional mashed potatoes.
1 large head cauliflower
5 garlic cloves
1/3 cup fresh herbs (chives and basil both work particularly well)
1. Chop cauliflower into smaller chunks – about bite-size pieces works well.
2. Peel garlic cloves and cut in half, lengthwise.
3. Steam cauliflower and garlic for 15 minutes..or until cauliflower and garlic are tender enough for a fork to easily pass through.
4. Combine steamed cauliflower, garlic, fresh herbs, and sea salt in a food processor or a strong blender and blend until everything comes together into a mashed potato-like consistency – it’s quite good smooth or slightly chunky. Alternatively, you can mash everything together by hand with a potato masher or a fork.
Enjoy this delicious and healthy mashed cauliflower dish.