Health & Wellness, Nutrition

6 Incredible Health Benefits of Cauliflower

You’re likely familiar with this cruciferous vegetable, but have you heard about the many health benefits of cauliflower? In addition to being a rich source of fiber, cauliflower is known to help fight inflammation and support heart health!

And, believe it or not, cauliflower has even been shown to be effective in supporting weight loss efforts! But what about this common vegetable makes it such a nutritional powerhouse? Where, exactly, do all the health benefits of cauliflower come from?

Let’s learn a bit more about cauliflower and discover exactly what benefits you can expect by adding it into your veggie rotation.

 

All About Cauliflower

Here’s the interesting thing about cauliflower: It kind of breaks all the traditional veggie-picking rules.

How so? Well, have you ever heard that you should “eat the rainbow” when choosing your foods? Since cauliflower is white, that puts it outside the norm. But don’t let that fool you—cauliflower packs just as many nutrients as its more colorful counterparts!

For starters, cauliflower is rich in fiber, which isn’t only know to support digestive health but also healthy weight management. The truth of the matter is that just one cup of chopped cauliflower contains 2.5 grams of fiber—that’s 10 percent of the average daily requirement! [1]

But that’s not all. You may be surprised to learn that cauliflower is also a great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate. In fact, that same one cup of cauliflower that delivers beneficial fiber also provides over 75 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin C (46.4 mg).

And since we know how vitamin C is for immune health, this is a very big deal. How big? Well, a 2013 meta-analysis revealed that consuming 200 mg of vitamin C each day not only cut participants’ risk of getting a cold by 50 percent!

Moreover, consuming this exact amount of vitamin C daily also reduced cold symptom duration in both adults and children by up to 14 percent. [2]

This means that if you have a seven-day cold, taking this amount of vitamin C could reduce the time you’re sick by a full day! And that’s a big deal when you aren’t feeling your best.

As I mentioned above, the fact that it contains respectable amounts of vitamin K and folate also contribute to the many health benefits of cauliflower. Once again, that very same one cup of cauliflower delivers 20 percent of the vitamin K you need each day as well as 14 percent of your ideal daily folate intake.

So, let’s take a closer look at how these nutrients—as well as others found in this health-promoting vegetable—provide the many health benefits of cauliflower that you’re going to want to take advantage of!

6 Health Benefits of Cauliflower

Here are six of the top health benefits of cauliflower. Read through them and see if it entices you to add some cauliflower to your meals today.

1. Rich in antioxidants

When it comes to the many health benefits of broccoli, one of the most important is that it’s rich in antioxidants. And it’s these antioxidants that provide some incredible benefits.

As you may have suspected, cauliflower is very similar to broccoli because they come from the same variety of cruciferous vegetables. As a result, they contain many important health-promoting phytonutrients know to help fight numerous diseases.

In fact, numerous reports and scientific studies have confirmed that cauliflower, along with many other cruciferous vegetables, contain high amounts of health-promoting carotenoids, tocopherols, and ascorbic acid. And these antioxidants are known to help protect our bodies body from damaging free radicals.

Interestingly, because researchers understand the abundance of antioxidants in cauliflower and acknowledge the importance of preserving them for consumption, a study conducted in 2013 compared how different processing methods impact the antioxidant activity in cauliflower.

The findings revealed that, as suspected, fresh cauliflower “had significantly the highest antioxidant activity,” ranking in at 68.91 percent.

From there, the cooking methods of cauliflower with the highest antioxidant activity ranked as follows: steam-blanched (61.83 percent), steam-boiled (59.15 percent), stir-fried (58.93 percent), and microwaved cauliflower (58.24 percent). [3]

This study is important to keep in mind when preparing your cauliflower, proving that the less alterations done by the cooking process, the more health benefits of cauliflower you can get thanks to its antioxidant status.

2. Contains anti-inflammatory properties

One of the major health benefits of cauliflower is its ability to help fight inflammation. And this comes from a few different components within cauliflower, including fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin C.

The fiber in cauliflower has been shown to help feed healthy gut bacteria, which is known to promote digestion and, therefore, help reduce gut inflammation. [4]

Additionally, a 2014 study revealed that eating cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower reduced inflammatory markers by almost 25 percent. [5]

As you can see, consuming cauliflower has been shown to help fight inflammation, which is known to be a major cause of many of today’s chronic diseases.

3. Aids digestion

As we’ve discussed above, many of the health benefits of cauliflower are linked to its fiber content, which is primarily known to support healthy digestion.

But that’s not all. Cauliflower is also rich in inulin, which is a type of prebiotic fiber. How important is inulin? Well, the good bacteria in your gut actually feed on inulin by fermenting it into short-chain fatty acids, which are great for colon health.

Interestingly, according to a 2009 review, the changes in gut microbe composition from consuming inulin-rich foods can actually help provide relief to those suffering from gastrointestinal discomfort! [6]

4. Supports healthy weight management

Aside from its digestion-promoting properties, here’s one of the major health benefits of cauliflower I think we all love: its ability to promote healthy weight management.

It’s important to now that this benefit is due to the fact that the fiber in cauliflower helps to slow digestion.

This not only aids your body’s ability to absorb more nutrients from your food but also helps you feel full and satisfied longer—which, in turn, cuts down on unnecessary snacking and poor food choices.

Interestingly, a 2015 analysis of three studies reviewed how cruciferous vegetable intake relates to weight changes over a period of up to 24 years. And the findings were incredible.

The researchers found that increased consumption of both cruciferous and green leafy vegetables were associated with weight loss. In fact, on average, the participants from the three studies weighed 0.68 pounds less per daily serving of cruciferous vegetables and 0.52 pounds less per daily serving of green leafy vegetables.

The most astonishing finding? Increased consumption of cauliflower, specifically, was. associated with a 1.37-pound loss! [7] That’s double the amount of all cruciferous vegetables, showing just how beneficial cauliflower is for healthy weight management.

5. Contains cancer-fighting properties

Here’s some great news we can all appreciate: Studies have found that one of the incredible health benefits of cauliflower is its cancer-fighting properties.

In fact, it’s been shown that cruciferous vegetables can actually help prevent both the growth and spread of cancerous cells. [8]

This benefit comes from the chemical components sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol (I3C) in cruciferous vegetables, which have been shown to help suppress tumor development and growth. [9]

Specifically, I3C has been shown to help protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals. Additionally, it been proven to be instrumental in fighting hormonal imbalances, causing it to show promise as an ideal component in helping to prevent prostate and breast cancer! [10]

6. Supports heart health

Finally, we can’t leave out one of the last major health benefits of cauliflower, which is its ability to support heart health.

As I mentioned above, cauliflower contains sulforaphane, which is a sulfur-rich compound found in cruciferous vegetables. In its inactive form, sulforaphane is called glucoraphanin.

Now, glucoraphanin contains enzymes called myrosinase enzymes, and those enzymes are activated when the plant is damaged. So, anytime you cut, chop, or chew cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower, you’re activating myrosinase.

It’s amazing how these enzymes work to promote health just by the natural process of consumption, isn’t it?

Interestingly, compared to raw cruciferous vegetables, cooked cruciferous vegetables contain up to 10 times the amount of sulforaphane. [11] And studies have shown that eating foods rich in sulforaphane may increase glutathione and thioredoxin antioxidant systems, which may lessen the risk of developing heart disease. [12, 13]

Additionally, other studies have shown that sulforaphane may act as an anti-inflammatory agent by opening up the artery pathways, which lowers the chances of developing heart disease. [14, 15, 16]

 

Health benefits of cauliflower - Dr. Pingel

 

Key Takeaways

  • Even though it’s white in color, cauliflower contains as many nutrients as its more colorful plant-based counterparts.
  • As a cruciferous vegetable, cauliflower offers many health benefits—largely thanks to its nutrient content and plant-based compounds.
  • Some of the top health benefits of cauliflower include: being rich antioxidants, containing anti-inflammatory properties, aiding digestion, supporting healthy weight management, containing cancer-fighting properties, and supporting heart health.
  • When it comes to cooking cauliflower, steam-blanched and steam-boiled cauliflower has been shown to retain more antioxidant activity than other cooking methods.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.