Cauliflower, a flowering vegetable that is often eaten with other vegetables such as carrots and broccoli, offers phytochemicals that the body needs in order to stay healthy.
Cauliflower is a member of the ‘white’ family in terms of fruits and vegetables. Included in this group are other natural foods such as bananas, mushrooms, onions, and garlic. Cauliflower contains allicin, which can improve heart health and reduce the risk of strokes, and selenium, a chemical that works well with Vitamin C to strengthen the immune system. Cauliflower can also help to maintain a healthy cholesterol level.
Folate is also found in cauliflower, which is a B vitamin that is needed for cell growth and replication. For this reason, it is often recommended that women who are pregnant or may become pregnant eat significant amounts of cauliflower in order to help their unborn children develop properly.
Of course, cauliflower is an excellent source of fiber, which helps to improve colon health and can even help prevent cancer. And, most recently, it has been discovered that cauliflower, as well as other cruciferous vegetables, such as brussel sprouts and cabbage, contain indole-3-carbinol, a substance that can affect the metabolism of estrogen in the body, and prevent breast and other female cancers.
Calories in Cauliflower:
4 oz/100g = 34 calories
Cauliflower also offers a healthy dose of potassium, fiber, and folic acid and contains a sulfur compound called isothiocyanate that protects health and prevents disease. Not all cauliflower is white. You can find green and orange varieties of this cruciferous (named for the cross-shaped flowers) cousin of broccoli and brussels sprouts. The difference is in the amount (or absence) of chlorophyll present during the vegetable’s growth.
Three florets of cauliflower a day will provide you with 67% of your daily vitamin C requirement. When purchasing cauliflower, make sure the tops are white. If the floret has begun to spot brown or puple, it is past its nutritional peak. Serving the cauliflower raw will give you the highest nutritional benefits, however, if you must cook it, lightly steamedwill also keep its cancer-fighting components intact.
There are two main ingredients in cauliflower, and all of the cruciferous family, that are the main disease fighters. These are indole-3-carbinol, or 13C, and the photonutrient sulforaphane. In research done at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, sulforaphane lowered the occurance of breast tumors in lab animals by almost 40%. Toxins that would normally damage the cells and turn cancerous, are swept out of the system by sulforaphane, preventing tumors before they begin. 13C works in concert with the sulforaphane by acting as an anti-estrogen. Estrogen in high levels is known to foster tumor growth, especially in the breasts and the prostate glands. 13c helps to lower the estrogen count, thus lowering the chances of tumor growth.
Cauliflower is low in fat, high in dietary fiber, folate, water and vitamin C, possessing a very high nutritional density. Traces of almost all the B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and zinc are to be found in this highly charged vegetable.