Among the cruciferous vegetables, cauliflower is something you might want to add to your regular diet because of its multiple health benefits. Cauliflower consumption has been studied for its cancer-preventing potential and antioxidant properties. Cauliflower contains many nutrients, making it an excellent addition to any diet.
Cauliflower is a very good source of vitamin C and manganese, which are both powerful antioxidants. In fact, 1 cup of boiled cauliflower can already give you 55 mg of vitamin C. Aside from these antioxidants, cauliflower also contains carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, and phytonutrients that include kaempferol, ferulic acid, cinnamic acid and caffeic acid. With these antioxidants, you can be certain that eating cauliflower regularly will help protect you from free radical damage and reduce your risk for diseases caused by oxidative stress, such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Cauliflower also contains high amounts of vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids, which help decrease inflammation. A cup of boiled cauliflower contains about 11 micrograms of vitamin K and 0.21 g omega-3 fatty acids. Other anti-inflammatory substances in cauliflower include glucosinolates (such as glucoraphin) and isothiocyanates (such as isothiocyanate sulforaphane). Potentially, regular cauliflower consumption can help decrease the risk of inflammation-mediated diseases such as arthritis, obesity, diabetes mellitus, inflammatory bowel disease and ulcerative colitis.
3. Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular
By virtue of having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, cauliflower consumption is protective against cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. For instance, in atherosclerosis, there is chronic inflammation of the blood vessel, and the deposition of lipids and white blood cells eventually leads to a decrease in their diameter. This decrease in diameter leads to decreased blood flow to essential organs like the brain (which could lead to stroke), heart (which could lead to heart attack) and kidneys (which could lead to kidney failure). By decreasing chronic inflammation, cauliflower is able to maintain the patency of the blood vessels and keeps excellent blood flow to essential organs of the body.
A cup of boiled cauliflower delivers about 3.35 g of dietary fiber, which helps clean your digestive system and gets rid of unnecessary substances. Additionally, a substance called glucoraphin present in cauliflower appears to have a protective effect on your stomach lining. With glucoraphin, your stomach is not prone to the bacterium helicobacter pylori, thereby reducing your risk for stomach ulcer and cancer.
Cauliflower also contains vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine) and B9 (folic acid). It serves as a good source of proteins, phosphorus and potassium.
You can add boiled or steamed cauliflower to your diet, but if you do not cook it properly, it can become mushy and lose its flavor. An alternative is to sauté this vegetable for 5 minutes. Make sure that you do not eat more than 4 to 5 servings of this vegetable each week though. This is because cauliflower contains purines, which are broken down by the body to produce uric acid. If you have too much uric acid, you could eventually develop gout.