Diet is one of the most important pillars of health – thus, focusing on eating lots of fresh, organic or farmers’ market produce serves you well. There are many perks of increasing your veggie consumption, including boosting your energy levels and freeing yourself of many health-depleting everyday ills. Veggies are essentially side-effect-free medicine, which when compared to modern medicine, encourage healing instead of generally speaking – simply mask problems. While just about any veggie is a plus for your body, cauliflower is an especially rewarding one.
As Dr. Lipman has previously mentioned, if he had to pick a winner for best vegetable, tying for first place with leafy greens, would be the cruciferous vegetable family – for which cauliflower is a super-star member.
What’s so special about cauliflower?
Well, for starters, it’s versatile, tasty, and quick to prepare. It offers comparable texture and taste as a lower-carb replacement for many of the nutritionally void, carb-heavy and highly refined foods common to the Western diet. More important than its taste and versatility – cauliflower is a nutritional superstar. It’s high in fiber, low in carbs, and rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as the powerful plant compound sulforaphane(SFN).
Cauliflower’s got a powerful nutrient profile
In just one cup of this super-star veggie, there is more than ¾ of the minimum requirement of immune-supportive, DNA-protective, mood, sleep and skin enhancing Vitamin C. Cauliflower is also rich in choline, a nutrient that supports cognitive health, memory, sleep and more – with 10% of your daily recommended intake in one cup. In addition, cauliflower supports the bones with it’s Vitamin K content – which per cup of cauliflower – is 20% of the daily recommendation. One cup has 9% of the daily potassium requirements, which supports cellular proliferation, muscle health, heart health and the nervous system. Cauliflower is also rich in B vitamins, which help with cognition, stress, anxiety, skin and nail health and much more. To add perspective, you’ll get 4 times the content of certain B vitamins in a bowl of cauliflower rice compared to white rice. The nutrition doesn’t stop there – Cauliflower has a health-enriching supply of phosphorus, manganese, and magnesium – especially compared with higher-carb vegetables and comparable processed alternatives.
Cauliflower’s anti-aging and anti-chronic disease
Outside of this nutrient profile, cauliflower contains several antioxidants which help to reduce inflammation – central to accelerated aging – as well as protect from cellular damage, and fend off chronic illness. The sulforaphane content in cauliflower may help slow the aging process by activating the NRF2 pathway. NRF2 is one of the main activators of antioxidants which protect against oxidative stress (aging at the cellular level), caused by unhealthy diets, prolonged stress, pollution and other poor environmental factors. Sulforaphane also packs a punch to diseases of aging like cancer, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, obesity and diabetes.
Cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables have been noted to decrease the spread of cancer, combat cancer-causing factors and the hardening of arteries. Similarly, higher consumption of cruciferous vegetables has been associated with lower risk of both cancer and heart disease. Keep in mind that cancer and heart disease are the two leading causes of death in the US. Thus, cauliflower can be compared with a dog guarding a house – and in this case, the house is your body.
Cauliflower’s also gut supportive
It is no surprise that cauliflower, rich in fiber, helps keep the gut in check. The daily recommendation for fiber is around 20-40 grams per day. Per medium head of cauliflower, there is 12 grams of fiber which helps to keep the bowels operating effectively and efficiently, supports beneficial bacteria, and enhances immunity and mood. For comparison, you’ll get 3 times more fiber in a bowl of cauliflower rice when compared to white rice, plus that fiber will help keep you full. However, for people who are FODMAP-sensitive, cauliflower might prove more damaging than helpful.
Why up your cauliflower intake?
In sum, cauliflower nutrient profile, including it’s SFN and fiber content, combat chronic illness, inflammation, aging, and gut health issues – while also offering a substitute for high-carb health-depleting foods. If that’s not a reason, we don’t know what is!
Reap the benefits of cauliflower
If you’re looking for healthier alternatives to common comfort foods, or a way to enhance nutrient intake – swap out any high-carb foods and take a nutritious dive by adding more cauliflower into your day-to-day. Now that you know the benefits of cauliflower, we don’t want to leave you hanging with the desire to act on your new-found knowledge but no place to start. Instead, we want to encourage you to up your intake and take initiative. Here’s how you can swap some carbs (like mashed potatoes, rice, and bread) with cauliflower:
- You can make a 10-minute cauliflower rice to replace generic white rice: Cauliflower rice (10 min)
- You can even dress it up for a cauliflower rice paella: Cauliflower paella (25 min)
- You can make healthy low-carb cauliflower crust for pizza: Cauliflower pizza crust (1 hour)
- You can replace your banana smoothie base with creamy cauliflower for a low-sugar low-carb option: Cauliflower smoothie recipe (5 min)
- You can use cauliflower to make bread: Keto cauliflower bread (50 min)
- You can replace your roasted carb-heavy veggies with roasted cauliflower: Simple roasted cauliflower (30 min)
- You can replace your potato with cauliflower – think mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes: Mashed cauliflower with garlic and herbs (20 min)
- You can make grain-free cauliflower biscuits: 4- ingredient cauliflower biscuits (45 min)
- You can boost the nutrition in any cookie recipe by adding cauliflower purée: 8- Ingredient chocolate cauliflower cookies (45 min)
- You can replace the flour in pancakes with cauliflower: Cauliflower pancakes. (40 min)
- You can use it in soups, sautées and salads (varied time)
Of course, the less processed, the better!