Cauliflower is a cultivar within the species Brassica oleracea, in the family Brassicaceae. Typically, only the head (the white curd) is eaten while the stalk and surrounding thick, green leaves are discarded.
Cauliflower is very nutritious, and may be eaten cooked, raw or pickled. It belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family, which includes kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, collard greens, rutabaga and turnips. These nutrition powerhouses supply loads of nutrients for little calories.
Cauliflower is often overshadowed by its green cousin broccoli. However, this is one vegetable that deserves a regular rotation in your diet as it contains an impressive array of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other phytochemicals.
Adding to cauliflower's appeal is its extreme versatility. You can eat it raw, add it to salads, or use it in your cooking. Cauliflower can even be seasoned and mashed for a healthier version of mashed potatoes.
8 Top Health Benefits of Cauliflower
The cauliflower can easily be described as a superfood because of its beneficial effects on numberous aspects of health. Some of its most impressive benefits follow:
- Cauliflower is high in fiber and water. A high-fiber intake has been associated with a significantly lower risk of developing:
- coronary heart disease
- certain gastrointestinal diseases
- high cholesterol levels.
- Digestive Benefits. Cauliflower is an important source of dietary fiber. This is not only important for digestive health, according to the World's Healthiest Foods, "Researchers have determined that the sulforaphane made from a glucosinolate in cauliflower (glucoraphanin) can help protect the lining of your stomach. Sulforaphane provides you with this health benefit by preventing bacterial overgrowth of Helicobacter pylori in your stomach or too much clinging by this bacterium to your stomach wall."
Cauliflower is an excellent source of:
- vitamin C
- vitamin K
- vitamin B6
Like their cabbage and broccoli relatives, they contain substances called indoles. Some scientists have found that indoles may give protection against some cancers.
Cauliflower also contains sulfur-containing phytonutrients. These compounds trigger the liver to produce enzymes that can detoxify cancer-causing chemicals.
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