Nutritional Value of Cauliflower
Cauliflower is rich source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Floate. 100 grams of this healthy vegetable can provide around 85%, 21% and 15% of each. It also provide Choline, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, vitamin B3, Vitamin E and minerals including potassium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, magnesium and iron.
It is source of various amino acids and proteins. It contains low amounts of fat, essential Omega-3 fatty acids with no harmful cholesterol. It is good source of dietary fiber.
Some other health benefits of cauliflower are attributed to presence of phyto chemicals like glucosinolates, dithiolthiones, indoles , glucoraphanin, s-methyl cysteine sulfoxide, isothiocyanates, indole-3-carbinol which have benefits as anti-cancer, antioxidant and cardiovascular health. Isothiocyanates found cauliflower is found to suppress tumor growth and hormone production. Sulforaphane has anti cancer properties too. Indole-3-carbinol enhances DNA repair and acts as an estrogen antagonist, slowing the growth of cancer cells.
Health benefits of Cauliflower
Cauliflower is an all-rounder vegetable and offers great nutritional value with low-calorie nutrition. Cauliflower in diet provides multi-dimensional benefits in the lifestyle. Presence of various vitamins, minerals and power-packed phytochemicals helps in fighting various diseases including cancer and promote stronger immunity and aids in maintaining a clean system. Raw or roasted, steamed or sautéed, cauliflower forms part of delicious dishes while promoting vibrant health benefits. Health benefits of cauliflower can be attributed to these nutrients. Some of the health benefits of cauliflower are illustrated below:
Cauliflower helps hair growth
Cauliflower also promotes hair growth and healthy skin attributing to the presence of sulphur and silicon content which also promotes the development of blood hemoglobin in the body.
Anti Oxidant properties of Cauliflower
Cauliflower like other vegetables in Brassica family is high in antioxidants. It contains Vitamin C, manganese and phytochemicals like indoles and glucosinates which are most potent anti oxidants. Anti oxidants are helpful in removal of free radicals from the body system and helps protect cardio vascular system and body cells from oxidative stress.
Anti Cancer properties of Cauliflower
Indole-3-carbinol (13C) and sulforaphane are the key cancer-fighting agents present in Cauliflower. Research shows that both combats cancer through different mechanisms. A recent study published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry sheds light on how these nutrients in cauliflower exert their anti-cancer activity. One of the means they act as prevention of cancer is by acting as anti-estrogen to prevent or inhibit cancer development. Together these compounds have proven health benefits against prostate, breast, cervical, colon, ovarian cancers. A study at John Hopkins University reveals that sulforaphane lowers the occurrence of breast cancer by approximately 40 percent. Journal of the National Cancer Institute also published that consuming more than one serving of cauliflower a day produced a 61% reduction in lung cancer risk
Cauliflower is also high in vitamin C and folate which are helpful in aiding side effects of cancer. Folates is helpful in prevention of anemia which is common in cancer patients.
Health benefits as Anti-Inflammatory agent
Vitamin K and Omega-3 fatty acids in Cauliflower help decrease inflammation. I3C and sulforaphane are also potential anti-inflammatory agents. Consumption of cauliflower on regular basis reduces risk of inflammation mediated diseases like arthritis, obesity, diabetes mellitus, inflammatory bowel disease and ulcerative colitis.
Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular health
It is only by virtue of having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of cauliflower, its consumption is helpful in cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. Cauliflower helps in reduction of chronic inflammation in atherosclerosis which leads to decreased blood flow to essential organs, thus helps maintain patency of the blood vessels and keeps excellent blood flow to essential organs of the body. Cauliflower also contains allicin which is believed to reduce occurrence of stroke and heart disease. Additionally, cauliflower can help to lower cholesterol levels in the body and thus protects from heart disease in many ways.
Deficiency of Vitamin B9 or folate leads to birth defects and low birth weight. Cauliflower provides a good amount of folate (Vitamin B9) thus aids healthy pregnancy.
Cauliflower offers very few calories and is low on fat and carbohydrates. Cauliflower also has high proportion of potassium, which promotes diuresis or removing of body fluids. Further it adds sufficient dietary fiber to diet. Thus it is good to have cauliflower as part of diet food.
High fiber in cauliflower is useful for the prevention and treatment of constipation. It aids digestion and promotes elimination of toxins from body. Sulforaphane in cauliflower has Anti-helicobacter properties and protects the stomach lining from growth of Helicobacter pylori bacteria. Isothiocyanates in cauliflower also prevents the risk of various abdominal disorders such as stomach ulcers and colon cancer.
Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis
RRP is a disease process of the airways that affects persons of all ages and is characterized by recurrent benign epithelial growths. Respiratory papillomatosis is caused by human papilloma virus which affects the vocal cords in the larynx, trachea, lungs and bronchi. Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration as a nutritional supplement; it is found in high concentrations in cruciferous vegetables including cauliflower. Studies show that incidence of RRP is less in people with consumption of cauliflower. (www.metroatlantaotolaryngology.org/journal/jan06/rrpreview.pdf )
Other health benefits
Other health benefits of Cauliflower include protection against Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, Osteoporosis, prevention of Epileptic Seizures and Alopecia (Spot Baldness)
Potential risks of Cauliflower
Excess consumption of Cauliflower should be avoided. Cauliflower contains complex carbohydrates which results in bloating and flatulence. Cauliflower contains purines which break down to form uric acid and excessive intake of purine-rich foods can lead to buildup of uric acid in the body and result kidney stone or gout. Cauliflower may prompt anaphylaxis in some people causing a severe body allergic reaction to a substance.
Varied Culinary usage: From simple dish like salads to main course and desserts, Cauliflower is a versatile vegetable and finds place in diverse cuisines globally. This vegetable doesn’t require much cooking; it can be steamed or microwaved easily. Cheese, potatos and peas goes well with cauliflower taste.
How good cauliflower should be selected? Visual food inspection can help in selection of fresh cauliflower. A good fresh cauliflower has clean, closely bundled creamy white florets and fresh green leaves. Dark, dull coloured cauliflower is generally stale and may have lost nutrients. Grainy surface and separate heads indicate over maturity. Green coloration may be due to over exposure to sunlight. Once at home, store in the refrigerator set with higher relative humidity. They stay fresh for about a week if stored properly.