Tagging along in the cruciferous family with vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, turnips and kale among others, cauliflower is a vitamins-packed food with many benefits, especially when consumed on a regular basis.
Cauliflower is not, however, one of the vegetables that can be eaten excessively without some side effects, but it is an important food that should be included in any healthy diet.
The main side effect of consuming cauliflower over the recommended amount (minimum is ¾ cup per day) is intestinal gas accompanied by abdominal discomfort, which is higher in people prone to gastrointestinal distress. This effect is caused by the carbohydrates found in cauliflower, respectively all cruciferous vegetables, which are more complex and difficult to digest.
This is not to say that people with digestive disorders cannot or should not eat cauliflower, but that consumption should be moderate.
Cauliflower – versatile in cooking
A rather simple vegetable with a mild flavor, cauliflower is in fact extremely versatile and can be cooked in numerous ways. It is precisely the mild flavor that allows the vegetable to be cooked alongside different other foods and spices.
Cauliflower as Chinese food: Cauliflower is a good vegetarian substitute to the popular sweet and sour Chinese dish. It can substitute meat successfully thanks to the crunchy texture and to the fact that it absorbs any flavors easily.
Cauliflower as Indian food: One of the best ways to cook cauliflower is to make Indian food, and one of the best Indian foods is the traditional Paneer Palak Curry which is made with chicken, but cauliflower can be used instead of meat.
Cauliflower as soup: Cauliflower makes hearty soups that blend well with either chicken broth or vegetable broth. Various spices can be added to cauliflower soups depending on preference. Ground black pepper and nutmeg are two popular choices.
Roasted cauliflower: Cooked as a side dish or to eat “as is,” roasted cauliflower can be served warm or at room temperature with cheddar or parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. Another wonderful way to consume roasted cauliflower is with cheese sauce.
Cauliflower as an add-on: The vegetable can be added to many different dishes, vegetarian or not. Pilaf, stews, pasta, salads and stir-fries are most popular.
Cauliflower health benefits
Low in calories but high in nutrients, cauliflower is known among nutritionists as one of the most powerful foods that boost health.
Cauliflower is rich in vitamin C and contains a relevant amount of vitamin K, folate, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6, top 4 nutrients present in cauliflower. Other relevant compounds include fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin B complex, magnesium, and fiber.
With a dense nutritional profile, cauliflower provides many health benefits and most important are antioxidant support, heart health, bone strength and anti-cancer.
Cancer: the glucosinolates in cauliflower play a relevant part in preventing the growth of cancer cells in the body. Glucosinolates break down into sulforaphane and isothiocyanates, two compounds that studies show to have a positive impact against cancer.
Bone strength: cauliflower promotes bone health through its vitamin C content that is important in protecting the bones against inflammation. Vitamin C is relevant for the production of collagen which is subsequently relevant in preventing inflammation in the joints. Another important compound that provides bone health is vitamin K with a 19% ratio of the daily value.
Heart health: cauliflower aids hypertension and cholesterol, having important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The glucosinolates reduce oxidative stress in the body often associated with various health issues including heart health. Cauliflower is also good for combating bad cholesterol and lowering blood pressure.
Antioxidant support: is provided by various nutrients in the vegetable among which vitamin C, beta-carotene, cinnamic acid, quercetin, kaempferol and caffeic acid.