When we think of nutrient-dense foods, brightly colored fruits and vegetables come to mind. Just because a vegetable is white, however, doesn’t mean it’s devoid of nutritional value—and cauliflower is no exception! Check out below the many benefits you could be reaping from this cruciferous vegetable.
Antioxidants and Vitamins
Cauliflower is packed with antioxidant-providing vitamins and minerals. This cruciferous vegetable is particularly high in vitamins C and K, as well as folate and magnesium. It also contains antioxidant phytonutrients such as beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, cinnamic acid, ferulic acid, quercetin and more.
Vitamin K, one phytonutrient found in cauliflower, is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties. A study from Tufts University published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that high intake of vitamin K decreased levels of 14 inflammatory markers. Cauliflower also contains phytonutrients known as glucosinolates, which can be converted into anti-inflammatory compounds.
Those same glucosinolates that help cauliflower battle inflammation can also help protect against cancer by inhibiting carcinogens’ ability to damage DNA or by altering hormone activity that can lead to the development of some cancers. Cauliflowers’ antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detox properties also make it useful in cancer prevention, especially for bladder, breast, colon, prostate and ovarian cancers.
Cauliflower is often seen as a main ingredient in many detox recipes and detox diets. Glucosinolates in cauliflower can help the body’s natural detoxification processes by activating detox enzymes and helping the body cleanse itself of carcinogens. Additionally, cauliflower contains significant levels of fiber, which can help remove solid waste from the body and keep the flow of toxins moving through and out of the gastrointestinal tract.
Cauliflower contains high amounts of fiber—nearly eight grams for every 100 calories. Fiber helps move food easily and quickly through the digestive track. Cauliflower also contains a compound called sulforaphane (derived from glucosinolates) that protects the lining of your stomach by preventing growth of the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, which can cause stomach ulcers.
Add more cauliflower to your life with these recipes!
For more nutrient-dense white foods, check out the article White Foods for Your Health.
Susan Melgren is the Web Editor of Mother Earth Living. Find her on Google+.