Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable in the Brassicaceae family. The family includes broccoli, kale, and cabbage. Cauliflower’s name derives from the Latin word ‘caulis,’ which means “flowering cabbage.” The cauliflower florets, also known as curd, are closely grouped, and consist of immature flower buds joined by a thick core. A few light leaves typically surround the dense core. Cauliflower was brought to Europe from the Mediterranean region at the end of the 15th century.
Cauliflower is a popular vegetable. It is pretty versatile and is perhaps best recognised for its numerous health benefits. It has an excellent capacity to integrate into its culinary surroundings, adding body and heft in low-carb dishes.
Cauliflower’s cool-weather ripening and great storage qualities make it an autumn and winter mainstay for everything from casseroles to soups. It also finds a home in unexpected places, such as pizza dough. It is available in various colours, including white, orange, purple, and green.
Types of Cauliflower
White cauliflower is the most common and easily availbable. It has a white head encircled by green foliage. It is most readily available in food stores, whereas the other hues are more challenging to find.
Green cauliflower, sometimes known as “broccoflower,” contains chlorophyll. It may resemble broccoli more than cauliflower since its florets have spikes. Also, green cauliflowers are more fibrous than the different variants.
Purple cauliflower is the healthiest option, with numerous advantages. The purple hue is due to the antioxidants called anthocyanins. These are the pigments present in various other plants and plant-based products, including red cabbage and red wine. Purple cauliflower helps to reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and inflammation.
When cooked, purple cauliflowers may turn light green. So, if you want to keep the vivid purple hue, add lemon juice while cooking.
Orange cauliflower is called “cheddar” due to its hue resembling cheese. Its flavour is mild, creamy and slightly sweet. Unlike purple cauliflowers, which lose their colour when cooked, orange cauliflowers usually become more intense in colour when cooked.
The health advantages of orange florets are due to beta-carotene in them. Orange cauliflower contains 25 times more vitamin A than its counterparts, which makes it nutritious.
Nutritional Value of Cauliflower
According to the National Nutrient Database of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one cup of chopped raw cauliflower, weighing roughly 107 grams, contains:
- Calories – 27kcals
- Protein – 2 g
- Fat – 0.3 grams
- Carbohydrates – 5 g (including 2.1 g of fibre and 2 g of sugar)
- Calcium – 24 mg
- Magnesium – 16 mg
- Vitamin C – 51.6 mg
- Phosphorus – 47 mg
- Potassium – 320 mg
- Vitamin K – 16.6 mcg
- Folate – 61 mcg
- Vitamin B6 – 0.197 mcg
Health Benefits of Cauliflower
1. Cauliflower High in Fibre
Cauliflower is a fibrous vegetable. Fibre benefits general health. For example, one cup of cauliflower contains 3 grams of fibre, which is 10% of your daily requirement. Fibre is important because it feeds the good bacteria in your gut. As a result, it helps reduce inflammation and improve digestion. As per a study, consuming enough fibre may help prevent digestive issues like constipation, diverticulitis, and IBD (IBD).
Additionally, research indicates that a diet high in fibre-rich vegetables such as cauliflower may help decrease the risk of various diseases like cancer, heart diseases and diabetes.
2. Cauliflower Helps in Weight Loss
Cauliflower possesses several characteristics that may help with weight loss. To begin, it is low in calories, containing only 25 calories per cup. That allows you to consume a large amount without gaining weight. Additionally, you can use it as a low-calorie substitute for items high in calories, such as rice, wheat, and potatoes.
Cauliflower’s high fibre content aids digestion and gives a feeling of fullness. As a result, it may naturally reduce your calorie consumption, critical for weight control. Cauliflower’s high water content is another advantage for weight loss. Water makes about 92% of its weight. Therefore, consuming a high proportion of water-dense, low-calorie foods may aid in weight loss.
3. Good Source of Antioxidants
Antioxidants protect cells from free radicals and inflammation. Cauliflower is high in antioxidants. Like other cruciferous vegetables, cauliflower is high in glucosinolates and isothiocyanates. These are two antioxidant groups that impede the growth of cancer cells. A test tube research suggests that these two antioxidant groups protect against colon, lung, breast, and prostate cancer.
Cauliflower also includes carotenoid and flavonoid antioxidants. These antioxidants have anti-cancer properties and may help prevent the development of other diseases, including heart disease.
4. Cauliflower Improves Bone Health
Cauliflower includes vitamin C, which is necessary for creating collagen. Collagen protects the joints and bones from inflammatory damage. It also helps treat rheumatoid arthritis.
Cauliflower is also high in Vitamin K. It helps maintain bone health by modifying bone matrix proteins, increasing calcium absorption, and decreasing calcium excretion in the urine. Conversely, vitamin K deficiency may increase the risk of bone fracture and osteoporosis.
5. Abundant in Sulforaphane
Cauliflower includes sulforaphane, an antioxidant. Several studies on this antioxidant prove its numerous benefits. For example, studies demonstrate that sulforaphane effectively decreases cancer formation by blocking enzymes involved in cancer and tumour growth. Another research says sulforaphane may also have the potential to slow cancer progression by killing damaged cells.
Sulforaphane most effectively protects against colon and prostate cancer. However, its effects on various other cancers, including breast, leukaemia, pancreatic, and melanoma, have been examined. Sulforaphane also helps lower blood pressure and keep arteries healthy, critical in preventing heart disease.
6. Improves Skin Texture and Hair Health
Vitamin C in cauliflower boosts collagen formation. Collagen helps delay the appearance of ageing indicators like wrinkles and fine lines. At the same time, the vegetable’s other antioxidants clear dark spots and improve skin texture.
Vitamin C can also improve hair health. The antioxidants help strengthen hair follicles, making your hair stronger.
Ways to Use Cauliflower
Cauliflower is a versatile vegetable. You can prepare it in a variety of ways, including:
The quickest and most straightforward method is to steam it. For example, you can steam the whole head or chop it into florets and steam them.
Cut the cauliflower head into steaks or florets and lay them out on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper before baking. In a preheated oven, roast until it is brown.
After cooking the cauliflower, you can puree it until completely smooth and creamy. Some people also use it as a substitute for cream sauces, while others blend it into smoothies and drink it cold.
Use low-carb mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes to boost the nutritional value. You can also mash cauliflower into pizza dough for a lighter crust.
Make a rice-like texture from the cauliflower by grating it and then steaming or roasting it.
Healthy Recipes Using Cauliflower
#1 Cauliflower Pizza Crust
Cauliflower Pizza Crust recipe is a veggie-packed, naturally gluten-free and grain-free option. It’s ideal for people who want to enjoy pizza but are on a low-carb or food-combining diet.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4 people
- Cauliflower florets: 500 g
- Egg (beaten): 1 large
- Soft goat cheese (or grated Parmesan): 1/3 cup
- Oregano (dried): 1 tsp
- Salt: 1/4 tsp
- Preheat the oven to 204 degree Celsius.
- Then, pulse the cauliflower florets briefly in a food processor until they have a rice-like texture.
- Arrange the cauliflower rice on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender.
- Transfer the cooked riced cauliflower to a clean, thin dishtowel. Wrap the cooked rice in the dishtowel, roll it up, and squeeze. (If the cauliflower is still hot, let it cool before handling). It removes excess liquid and saves you from a soggy pizza crust.
- Then combine the squeezed-out rice, egg, cheese, and spices in a large mixing bowl.
- After mixing, place the dough on a baking sheet in line with parchment paper. Keep the dough at a thickness of 1/4 inch.
- Then preheat the oven to 400°F and bake for 30–35 minutes, or until golden and dry.
- Flip the crust over the parchment paper and bake for another 10 minutes or until the other side is nice and dry.
- Lastly, add your preferred pizza toppings, such as sauce and cheese, to the crust and return it to the oven.
- Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, just until the cheese is hot and bubbly. Slice and serve it warm.
#2 Cauliflower Tacos
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Ingredients: (For Sauce)
- Green Chili (finely grated): 1
- Garlic (finely grated): 1 clove
- Cashew or Almond Butter: ¼ cup
- Lime juice (fresh): 3 tbsp
- Salt: As per taste
Ingredients: (For Assembly)
- Garlic cloves (finely grated): 3
- Vegetable oil: ¼ cup
- Ground cumin: 2 tsp
- Smoked paprika: 2 tsp
- Cauliflower (cut into medium florets): 2 heads
- Corn tortillas: 6
- Onion (thinly sliced): 1
- Sliced avocado, sliced radishes, cilantro leaves with tender stems, and lime wedges (for serving)
- Mix the chilli, garlic, cashew butter, lime juice, and three tablespoons of water in a small bowl. Season it with salt and set it aside.
- Then preheat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the bottom position.
- Combine the garlic, oil, cumin, and paprika in a mixing bowl. Place cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with seasoned oil and toss cauliflower with salt.
- Roast for 15–20 or until dark brown and crisp on the bottom. Remove the florets from the oven and flip them over. Continue to roast for another 15–20 minutes.
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.
- Toast tortillas in a single layer, turn halfway through until warmed and place them on serving plates.
- Spread some of the remaining sauce on each tortilla and top with cauliflower.
- Garnish with onion, avocado, radishes, and cilantro before serving.
- Serve lime wedges on the side and enjoy.
How to choose a Cauliflower?
The cauliflower’s colour and hardness are the two most important things to consider while selecting the best cauliflower. A white cauliflower should be creamy-white or pure white in hue. There should be no black markings or patches on the curds.
When selecting colourful cauliflowers, look for colour vibrancy. For example, purple cauliflowers should have a dark purple tint, whereas orange cauliflowers should be a rich deep orange tone. When picking any cauliflower, make sure the heads (curds) are solid and have no signs of softness. There is no quality difference between large and small cauliflower heads.
Side Effects of Cauliflower
The possible side effects of cauliflower can be allergies, kidney stones, and excess gas. However, most of them are related to excess consumption. Therefore, you should consume it in moderation.
Cauliflower contains fibre and complex carbs, which do not break down easily in the digestive tract. As a result, the gut bacteria feed on the sugar and cause bloating and gastro issues.
2. Kidney Stones and Gout
Cauliflower contains purines, which can cause various health problems if consumed in large quantities. Purines breakdown to generate uric acid, and an excess of purine-rich meals can contribute to uric acid buildup in the body. As a result, it can further lead to uric acid-related issues, such as kidney stones and gout.
Cauliflower can induce anaphylaxis in some people. It is a severe allergic reaction. The symptoms of this allergic reaction include swelling, itching, dyspnea, and breathing difficulties. If you have any of these symptoms, you should immediately visit a doctor.
Cauliflower has a plethora of health benefits. It is an excellent source of nutrients, including a few that many individuals require in more significant quantities.
In addition, it contains antioxidants, which reduce inflammation and protect against several ailments like cancer and heart disease. Furthermore, cauliflower is a simple vegetable that you can include in your diet.
It’s delicious, simple to prepare, and you can use it in various recipes as a replacement for high-carb foods. So, include this healthy vegetable in your diet. However, ensure that you eat it in moderation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What are the benefits of eating cauliflower?
A. Cauliflower has numerous health benefits. For example, it is high in fibre, is a good source of antioxidants, and aids in weight loss. It is also rich in Choline, Sulforaphane, and a low-carb alternative to grains and legumes.
Q. Is it OK to eat cauliflower every day?
A. Yes. You can add cauliflower to your diet because it will benefit you in many ways. Cauliflower is high in fibre and serves 10% of your daily needs. It feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut to reduce inflammation. However, it would help if you ate it in moderation.
Q. Can eating cauliflower help you lose weight?
A. Yes, cauliflower has several properties that might lead to weight loss. First, it is low in calories, with only 25 calories per 100 grams. It is also high in fibre. Therefore, it makes you feel fuller for longer and results in lower calorie consumption. Low-calorie intake and good gut health are the fundamentals of weight loss.
Q. Is it better to eat cauliflower raw or cooked?
A. It is better to eat cooked cauliflower. When you eat it raw, it might cause bloating, gas, and other problems. It is due to the presence of certain fibres called raffinose and cellulose. Cooked cauliflower is easier on your digestive system.
Q. What is the healthiest way to eat cauliflower?
A. The healthiest way to eat cauliflower is to steam it. It prevents all adverse effects of raw cauliflower and steaming helps preserve all the beneficial nutrients of the vegetable.
Q. How does cauliflower reduce gas?
A. Steaming high fibre vegetables like cauliflower makes them easier to digest. Therefore, you should eat steamed cauliflower to prevent gas.
Q. Is cauliflower rice better than brown rice?
A. Yes, cauliflower rice is better than brown rice. It has 5 grams of carbs per 1 cup serving. Compared to cauliflower rice, brown rice has 45 grams of carbs per 1 cup serving. Cauliflower is rich in fibres, antioxidants, and folate.
Q. Does cauliflower have much nutritional value?
A. Yes, cauliflower has an excellent nutritional value. It is high in vitamin C and folate. It is also fat-free and cholesterol-free with low sodium content. Furthermore, it contains only 27 calories in 100 grams.
Q. Is cauliflower a carb or protein?
A. Cauliflower is a low-carb vegetable. It has a mild taste. You can also use it to replace potatoes, rice, and other high-carb foods. However, it also contains proteins that are beneficial for your health.
Q. Which has more nutritional value: cauliflower or broccoli?
A. Broccoli has the upper hand in its nutrient content. It has a higher amount of vitamins C and K. However, cauliflower is also essential for the body and has many beneficial effects. It has slightly more pantothenic acid and vitamin B-6.
Q. Which is better for you, broccoli or cauliflower?
A. It depends on your dietary needs. For example, broccoli has more vitamins C and K, while cauliflower has slightly more pantothenic acid and vitamin B-6. However, both can be a healthful supplement to a well-balanced diet despite these minor distinctions.
Q. Is boiled cauliflower healthy?
A. Boiling cauliflower decreases all its mineral content by 5 to 10%. Since, it loses a percentage of all its nutrients except vitamin K, it is best to consume steamed cauliflower.