The impressive health benefits of cauliflower make it a nutrition superstar. This heart healthy flowering vegetable offers anti-inflammatory, digestive, and brain-boosting benefits among so much more.
The Brassicaceae family is home to a collection of vegetables known as cruciferous vegetables. All of the members of this family are widely recognized as healthy foods, with a few ascending to the status of “super food.” While cauliflower might not be considered a “super food,” it is certainly a healthy dietary choice in its own right.
9 Health Benefits of Cauliflower
Let’s take a look at the 9 health benefits cauliflower has to offer.
It’s a Cancer Fighter
Cauliflower contains several compounds that have been shown to inhibit the growth or spread of cancer cells, including sulforaphane, indoles and isothiocyanates. Combining cauliflower with turmeric brings curcumin into the battle, another potential cancer fighter. Combining cauliflower and turmeric on your plate is also just plain tasty.
It Contains Anti-Inflammatory Compounds
Nutrients found in cauliflower, including indole-3-carbinol, have been noted for their anti-inflammatory properties. The omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin K found in cauliflower can also help manage the chronic inflammation that contributes to diseases like arthritis.
It Promotes Heart Health
Those same anti-inflammatory properties can also aid in preventing against the inflammation that can exacerbate the decreased diameter of blood vessels. These conditions, in combination with other factors, can lead to heart attacks, strokes and high blood pressure.
It’s Packed With Vitamins and Minerals
Cauliflower, like its cruciferous cousins, is practically a natural multivitamin. Cauliflower contains B-vitamins, vitamin K, Omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin C and manganese. Take a look at your multi-vitamin bottle next time — or just have some more cauliflower.
It Supports Brain Health
Choline has been shown to improve brain development in youngsters, as well as learning and memory in brains of all ages. It might also combat age-related memory decline and help to resist vulnerability to toxins during childhood. You know what vegetable contains a healthy dose of choline? Cauliflower, of course.
It Aids Detoxification
The glucosinolates in cauliflower can support the liver and trigger enzymes in your body to help with detoxification. The antioxidants and nutrients occurring in cauliflower also contribute to Phase 1 and Phase 2 detoxification. Cauliflower might not contain the same amount of glucosinolates as other members of the crucifer family, but it still has a significant amount.
It Contains Antioxidants and Phytonutrients
Beta-carotene, kaempferol, quercetin, rutin, cinnamic acid and other antioxidant compounds can be found in cauliflower. These antioxidant compounds can help your body’s cells defend against reactive oxygen species (ROS). Without these chemicals (or other antioxidants), your body is less effective at fighting the free radicals and toxins that can cause damage.
It Provides Digestive Benefits
Cauliflower is a source of dietary fiber, which is an important component of digestive health. It has also been suggested that sulfurophane and glucosinolate can help regulate the growth of bacteria in your stomach and prevent damage to the stomach and intestine linings.
It’s a Substitute for Other, Less Healthy Ingredients
As impressive as cauliflower is, we should also acknowledge what it isn’t. Adding cauliflower to a meal in place of pastas or potatoes can limit your intake of starches, complex carbohydrates and the animal fats that normally come along with those other foods. Your meals will still fill you up, but without the empty calories. The possibilities of cauliflower are endless—you can even use it with pancakes or hummus. Cauliflower can also be a satisfying meat substitute if you are looking to shed a few pounds by cutting down on your animal protein intake.