purple flower in green leaves

Health Benefits of Cauliflower

People following a Paleo diet or those watching their carbs find cauliflower a versatile veggie. You can easily prepare this powerhouse veggie at home and enjoy it in many different ways. Let’s see the health benefits of cauliflower.

Cauliflower is packed with Nutrients

Here are some of the nutrition benefits of eating cauliflower. First, it is a great source of vitamin C. One cup of raw cauliflower contains, at least, half of your daily recommended dose.

Vitamin C:

  • improves skin appearance and helps wounds heal faster
  • may reduce the length of the common cold, but it’s not proven to prevent it
  • helps us absorb iron from plant foods:
    • Iron-rich plant foods: spinach, beans and lentils, tofu and nuts
    • Iron in our diet is needed to prevent or treat anemia and a deficiency causes weakness

This Roasted Cauliflower Soup recipe pairs vitamin-C rich cauliflower with iron-containing cashews.

Second, cauliflower is a great source of fiber. The recommendation for daily fiber intake varies but 30 grams per day is a good goal. The average American adult eats maybe half of that, on average. So, it is always good to learn about new fiber-containing foods. Fiber is an indigestible compound that can help regulate our bowels, lower blood sugar and even help lower cholesterol levels.

Third, cauliflower contains B-vitamins, antioxidants, and folate. B-vitamins help regulate mood and improve our immune system. Antioxidants protect our cells from damage and help reduce the risk of certain cancers. Women who are pregnant or nursing need 500-600mcg of folate per day and cauliflower is a good source to help meet those needs.

Lastly, cauliflower contains potassium. Potassium is an important electrolyte that helps regulate our heartbeat and affects muscle contraction. For potassium-rich snack ideas, see this post.

Cauliflower Supports Low Carb Diets

One cup of cauliflower contains 5 grams of carbs making it a great choice for a keto or paleo diet. If you’re watching your carb intake due to diabetes, cauliflower can be substituted in recipes so you can still enjoy foods you may otherwise avoid. e.g. mashed potatoes, rice, pasta, and pizza. Here is a great recipe for Cauliflower Pizza Crust.

How to Retain Cauliflower’s Nutrients

Textures transform, flavors enhance and aromas intensify when foods are cooked. The nutritional makeup of cauliflower changes during the cooking process. Studies have shown that stir-frying, steaming, and roasting were of the best cooking methods to retain nutrient and antioxidant levels. On the other hand, boiling cauliflower caused the most losses. For example, 40% of Vitamin C is lost when cauliflower is boiled. Raw cauliflower had the most vitamin C content.

To eat cauliflower raw, you can use the florets and enjoy with a dip or hummus. Raw cauliflower can also be chopped or ground in a food processor and added to salads or recipes.

Check out this recipe for Raw Cauliflower Tabouli.

Cauliflower alone cannot supply all the nutrients needed in your diet. Getting many sources of fruits and vegetables each day will promote the most health benefits.