The cauliflower health benefits are many, but before we get into them, let’s first learn more about this fantastic food. The edible portion of the cauliflower is precisely its inflorescence (blossoms) before it fully flowers. It is formed of thousands of tiny buds. Botanically, cauliflower, broccoli, and all cabbages are varieties of the same species.
Farmers maintain the bright white of the cauliflower by binding the plant’s heavy outer leaves over the top, protecting it from sunlight. When sunlight reaches the buds, the result is cauliflowers in assorted colors depending on the type: green, like the Romanesque cauliflower, due to the presence of chlorophyll or purple caused by their anthocyanin content.
Cauliflower is a highly regarded vegetable and is eaten throughout the world. China is the world’s production leader, with an incredible one million metric tons annually.
Cauliflower Nutritional Facts
Cauliflower contains insignificant amounts of carbohydrates and proteins and no fat. It contains provitamin A (beta-carotene), vitamins B, C, and E, of which C stands out with 46.4 mg/100 grams. As for minerals, it is extraordinarily rich in potassium and low in sodium. It also contains significant amounts of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron.
Cauliflower is rich in trace elements such as chromium, zinc, manganese, copper, and selenium. These perform significant bodily functions, many of which are still being investigated. It is known, however, that these elements, well represented in cauliflower, provide vitality and energy to the body and help keep it healthy.
As with other crucifers, the cauliflower is rich in phytochemical anticarcinogens, giving it its cancer-preventative properties.
Cauliflower Health Benefits
The medicinal applications of cauliflower are as follows:
Digestive disorders – Cauliflower is an excellent supplier of vitamins, minerals, and trace elements that vitalize digestive processes. It works in the digestive tract, from the stomach to the colon. Because it is highly digestible, more so than other crucifers, it is preferred for those with stomach ailments (gastritis, ulcer, dyspepsia). It regulates transit through the intestine, both cases of constipation and diarrhea. Because of this, it is indicated for constipation, colitis, and diverticulosis. Cauliflower is, together with carrots and asparagus, one of the best vegetables for patients after acute gastritis or gastroenteritis.
Cardiovascular disorders – Its low sodium content, abundant potassium, and virtual lack of fat make cauliflower one of the most effective foods for those suffering from heart or circulatory system disorders. It should be included in the diets of those with any form of heart disease, hypertension, or arteriosclerosis in any of their manifestations.
Obesity and diabetes – Cauliflower contains a minimum of calories: only 28 kcal/100 grams; however, it produces a sense of satiety. Boiled or steamed, cauliflower is the perfect supper for those wishing to lose weight and for individuals with diabetes due to their low carbohydrate content.
Kidney disorders – Cauliflower is diuretic and depurant, facilitating the elimination of excess water retained in the tissues (edema) and waste materials such as urea. Its use is indicated in renal failure, arthritis, gout, edema related to renal issues, and kidney stones.
Cancer – Beginning in recent years, various experimental and statistical studies have demonstrated the anticarcinogenic effect of cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and other cruciferous plants. This effect is due to two types of phytochemicals: sulphurated glycosides and indole-derived compounds. Administrated orally, both substances can inhibit the formation of malignant tumors in laboratory animals previously treated with carcinogens such as benzopyrene.
Thus, significant use of cauliflower and other crucifers is indicated for persons at higher risk of cancer due to genetic predisposition, consumption of toxic substances such as tobacco, or other reasons. Those who have already been diagnosed with cancer and are in treatment should include some vegetables of the crucifer family, such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, or radish, in their diet.
Although cauliflower is recommended for gastric and intestinal disorders, its use should be restricted in the following cases:
- Cholelithiasis (gallstones) since it can produce bile-related heaviness and dyspepsia.
- Intestinal flatulence – Cauliflower increases intestinal gas production in individuals with this propensity because of its cellulose content.
Cauliflower Scientific Facts
- Scientific name: Brassica oleracea L. var. botrytis
- French: Chou-fleur.
- Spanish: Coliflor, brécol de cabeza.
- German: Blumenkohl.
- Description: The inflorescence of the herbaceous plant of the botanical family Cruciferae.
- Environment: The cauliflower is from Mediterranean Europe, which still grows wild in some countries. It adapts well to cold climates, and its cultivation has spread to the five continents.
How to use and Prepare Cauliflower
- RAW – in a salad, when young and tender.
- COOKED in various manners: boiled, steamed (these are the most healthful means of preparation), baked, fried, stewed, au gratin.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Foods and Their Healing Power.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Foods and Their Healing Power. Trans. Annette Melgosa. Vol. 2. Chai Wan: Editorial Safeliz, 2005. 154, 155, 156. Print.