, a member of the Brassicaceae
family, which includes broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale and cabbage. Cauliflower derives its name from the Latin word ‘caulis’ which means cabbage with a flower.
It is interesting to know that cauliflower ranks among the top 20 foods in regards to ANDI score
(Aggregate Nutrient Density Index
), which measures vitamin, mineral and phytonutrient content in relation to calorie content.
A native to ancient Asia, cauliflower gained popularity in the mid-16th
century during the reign of Louis XIV when it became an integral part of French cuisine. The tiny, clustered florets on the head of the cauliflower, known as curd, are attached to the central stalk to form a single, circular head. Although white cauliflower is the most common variant, green, orange and purple cauliflowers are also available.
The healthiest way to consume cauliflower is by stir-frying or microwaving it.
Health Benefits of Cauliflower
The low calorie, versatile cauliflower brims with the goodness of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It lowers the chances of cancer, keeps digestive troubles at bay, aids in weight loss and maintains bone health.
Being low on glycemic index
and high in fiber, cauliflower is a diabetic-friendly food
. In fact, diabetics and people on a weight loss program can easily substitute potatoes with cauliflower in many recipes to keep sugar levels and calories in check.Lowers Cancer Risk
Cauliflower brims with the goodness of powerful antioxidants like vitamin C, manganese as well as phytonutrients likebeta-cryptoxanthin, caffeic acid, cinnamic acid, ferulic acid, quercetin, rutin and kaempferol which lower oxidative stress. Chronic oxidative stress is the root cause of cancer. Additionally, cauliflower is a rich source of vitamin K which possesses anti-inflammatory properties. Like chronic oxidative stress, chronic inflammation significantly increases the risk of cancer. A study conducted at the US National Cancer Institute in Maryland concluded that eating cauliflower twice a week lowers the risk of prostate cancer by 52 percent
. Benefits the Brain
Cauliflower contains choline and phosphorus, essential nutrients for the efficient functioning of the brain and nervous system. Additionally, it is rich in potassium and vitamin B-6 which play a vital role in maintaining brain health
and promoting proper nerve communication as well as in the production of neurotransmitters - dopamine and norepinephrine.
Cauliflower contains a significant amount of choline which plays a role in memory and learning. The sulforaphane and indoles content in cauliflower reduce progression of neurodegenerative diseases by activating the detoxification enzymes, which elevate the level of glutathione and help in treating neuronal injuries in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.Improves Digestion and Detoxification
Being high in dietary fiber, cauliflower aids in digestion and promotes elimination of toxins. Phytonutrients like glucosinolate, glucoraphanin and sulforaphane in cauliflower protect the stomach lining and help in resisting the growth of H.pylori
Cauliflower is a rich source of isothiocyanates which lower the risk of various abdominal disorders such as peptic ulcers
and ulcerative colitis. Sulforaphane, glucobrassicin, glucoraphanin and gluconasturtiin in cauliflower trigger the liver to produce detoxifying enzymes.
The high content of glucosinolates aid in proper nutrient absorption and removal of toxins along with protecting the vulnerable lining of the stomach. Strong Bones
Vitamin K plays a pivotal role in bone health by improving calcium absorption and reducing urinary calcium excretion. Deficiency of vitamin K has been linked to osteoporosis
and incidence of bone fractures.
Vitamin C suppresses the activity of osteoclasts (bone-destroying cells) while simultaneously stimulating the production of osteoblasts (bone-building cells).Providing around 25% of the daily requirement of Vitamin K and 80% of the daily requirement of Vitamin C in 100 grams serving
, cauliflower is a must-include for stronger bones.Promotes Weight Loss
Nutrients in cauliflower like vitamin C and chromium possess weight loss properties. The body requires vitamin C to produce carnitine, which plays a vital role in the metabolism of fats for energy. In fact, according to an article published in the Journal of Nutrition
, vitamin C deficiency lowers fat burning
. According to Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications in 2012, sulforaphane results in fat-burning effect by triggering the breakdown of fat cells.
Additionally, being high in fiber, cauliflower also provides satiety keeping hunger pangs in check. Thus, cauliflower must be incorporated in every weight watcher’s diet.
Cauliflower Soup with Vegetables and CheeseIngredients
- 1 large head of diced cauliflower
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped green beans
- 2 medium stalks chopped celery
- 3 chopped carrots
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 5 cups water
- ½ tsp nutmeg powder
- ½ tsp curry powder
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- 4 cups skim milk
- ½ cup cheddar cheese
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 2 tablespoons corn flour
- In a large vessel, add cauliflower, onions, green beans, celery, carrots, vegetable broth and water. Simmer and cook until the vegetables are soft.
- Puree the mixture.
- Add spices, milk and cheese. Puree the mixture once again.
- Add corn. Heat on low flame for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Mix together corn flour and water and add to the soup, stirring continuously till the soup starts thickening.
- Serve hot.