The health benefits of cauliflower may include a reduced risk of cancer, heart and brain disorders, relief from indigestion, supporting liver health, increased iron absorption, and weight loss. This superfood may also help boost eye health, maintain hormonal balance, and can prevent diabetes, colitis, respiratory papillomatosis, hypertension, and the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation. It’s known to be packed with nutrients and antioxidant power which can help in strengthening the immune system, maintaining bone and cellular health, electrolyte balance, and optimum cholesterol levels.
What are the Benefits of Cauliflower
May Prevent Oxidative Stress
Cauliflower contains vitamin C, manganese, vitamin E, and other potent antioxidants that help in imparting nourishment to the body. It also contains phytochemicals, called indoles and glucosinates, namely glucobrassicin, glucoraphanin, and gluconasturtiin. These components may stimulate helpful enzymes that protect the body cells from oxidative stress and damage caused by free radicals.
Might Improve Cardiovascular Health
Regular consumption of cauliflower can help with blood circulation and might help maintain the proper functioning of the blood vessels, which can be attributed to the presence of glucoraphanin. Glucoraphanin is converted into isothiocyanates that activate anti-inflammatory activities and can thus prevent the accumulation of lipids in the blood vessels. This can aid in the unobstructed flow of blood, which may reduce the risk of conditions like atherosclerosis and promotes cardiovascular health. Research has also proved that the antithrombotic and antiplatelet function of Indole-3-carbinol, found in abundance in cauliflower, contributes significantly to a healthy heart.
May Have Anticancer Potential
Studies have shown that indole-3-carbinol present in cauliflower has chemopreventive and anti-estrogen effects that help in hampering the growth of uterine cancer cells.
Research published in The Journal of Nutrition has provided supporting evidence for the fact that consumption of brassica vegetables such as cauliflower helps in suppressing cell proliferation, especially in terms of breast cancer.
Might Help Prevent Stomach Disorders
Cauliflower is a source of dietary fiber that can aid in digestion and promotes the elimination of toxins from the body. The presence of glucosinolate, glucoraphanin, and sulforaphane in this vegetable can help protect the stomach lining and helps in resisting the growth of Heliobacter pylori bacteria. In addition to this defense mechanism, dietary isothiocyanates in cauliflower can reduce the risk of various abdominal disorders which may include stomach ulcers and other gastric diseases.
May Help Improve Iron Absorption
Vitamin C present in cauliflower helps to better absorb iron in the blood. This can help to increase the production of hemoglobin in the body.
May Slow Down the Progression of Respiratory Problems
Respiratory papillomatosis can be caused by the human papillomavirus that affects the vocal cords in the larynx, trachea, lungs, and bronchi. Studies conducted at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have shown that increased consumption of cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower, aids in reducing the severity of respiratory papillomatosis.
Can Improve Bone Health
Cauliflower contains vitamin C, which can play an important role in the production of collagen that protects the joints and bones from inflammatory damage and can even help in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Furthermore, an association has been identified between increased levels of vitamin C and greater bone density. Also, it may contain a fairly good amount of vitamin K, which “attract[s] calcium to the bone.” This may help in preventing bone loss in both men and women.
May Slow Down Macular Degeneration
It is possibly rich in vitamin C and antioxidants and thus, may slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness, particularly in the elderly. The sulforaphane may protect the retinal tissues from damage caused by oxidative stress by acting as a free radical scavenger and preventing cell death, which can help prevent vision impairment.
Can Help Detoxify the Body
Cauliflower contains indole-3-carbinol, a phytonutrient that, along with sulforaphane, can help in activating and regulating the function of detoxifying enzymes responsible for metabolizing and eliminating harmful compounds from the body.
May Aid in Skin Care
Studies have shown that sulforaphane present in cauliflower is effective in protecting the skin against the damage caused by ultraviolet radiation. The protective action of sulforaphane defends the body against UV radiation-induced inflammations and skin cancer, UV-induced erythema, and cellular damage. Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America indicates that this protection against cancer in humans is long-lasting.
May Help Improve Hair Growth
Cauliflower, along with healthy skin, also possibly promotes hair growth due to the presence of sulfur-containing amino acids (precursor for making hair keratin proteins), and silicon (responsible for promoting growth and shine).
May Reduces the Risk of Nervous Disorders
The sulforaphane present in cauliflower can play a key role in reducing the progression of neurodegenerative diseases. According to a 2018 study by Lee S et al., consuming it can have the potential to decrease the accumulation of amyloid-beta and tau proteins in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
May Help Reduce Hypertension
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of the glucoraphanin and sulforaphane present in cauliflower may help in reducing oxidative stress, along with the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol. It can also promote the stimulation of HDL (good) cholesterol and may lower blood pressure. Certain compounds in cauliflower may show potent angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitory activity, the same mechanism used by an entire class of medications that are often used to treat high blood pressure. In addition to this, the fiber and omega-3 fatty acids present in cauliflower may also prevent the hardening of the arteries.
Can Help Maintain Electrolyte Balance
The potassium content in cauliflower may help in maintaining the electrolyte balance in the body, which can be essential for blood pressure control and nervous system function including the transmission of nerve impulses and muscle contractions.
May Boost Immunity
Cauliflower is rich in antioxidants and immune-strengthening nutrients. Along with other healthy components, the presence of vitamin C in it can inhibit various infections and strengthens the defense mechanisms of the body by hampering the growth of disease-causing inflammation.
Can Help Prevent Obesity
Cauliflower contains indoles, which possess anti-obesity effects. Studies have supported the fact that the consumption of cauliflower is beneficial in preventing various inflammatory and metabolic disorders in the body. It may also help in the stimulation of fat-burning thermogenesis, and may even aid in weight loss and prevention of obesity.
May Help In Fetal Growth
The inclusion of cauliflower in your diet is beneficial during pregnancy due to the presence of essential folate, which can help in the healthy neural development of the baby by preventing neural tube defects.
Can Help Improve Brain Health
Cauliflower contains choline and phosphorous, which are both effective in repairing cell membranes. This can be essential for the efficient functioning of the brain and nervous system for transmitting nerve signals. In addition to this, the possible presence of potassium and vitamin B6 in cauliflower can play an important role in maintaining brain health and promoting proper communication in the nerves.
May Help Manage Diabetes
Regular intake of cauliflower may help in reducing the risk of diabetes due to the presence of vitamin C and potassium. Research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed an association between low serum potassium and the development of diabetes. The potassium content in cauliflower may help in regulating glucose metabolism. It can affect the pancreas’ secretion of the hormone insulin which combats high blood sugar in the body. In addition to this, studies have supported that the vitamin B6 present in cauliflower can also be effective in enhancing the tolerance of glucose in patients with gestational diabetes.
Might Help Heal Colitis
Studies in animal models suggest that extracts from cauliflower exert anti-inflammatory effects on the symptoms of ulcerative colitis. This protective effect can be attributed to the presence of phenethyl isothiocyanate, which can exert a healing effect on the damage that occurred in colon tissues and the colon epithelium.
May Aid in Prevention of Stroke
The consumption of white flesh fruits and vegetables such as cauliflower may protect the brain from injury associated with stroke due to the possible presence of compound- allicin. These effects may be due to allicin’s anti-inflammatory properties and its possible ability to prevent programmed cell death (apoptosis).
Cauliflower Nutrition Facts
The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for one cup (107g) of raw, chopped cauliflower.
- Calories: 27
- Fat: 0.3g
- Sodium: 32mg
- Carbohydrates: 5g
- Fiber: 2g
- Sugars: 2g
- Protein: 2g
Like all vegetables, cauliflower is a carbohydrate. But it’s the non-starchy, complex kind, with lots of fiber and low amounts of natural sugar. One cup contains about a sixth of the carbs as the same amount of cooked pasta or rice, so it’s a great option for people with diabetes or people who are otherwise watching their carb intake.
There is little research on the glycemic index of cauliflower, but it is assumed to be low because cauliflower contains slow-to-digest complex carbs instead of blood-sugar-spiking simple carbs.
Cauliflower has only a trace amount of fat and is cholesterol-free.
Cauliflower has a minimal amount of protein. You should include other protein sources in your diet to meet your daily needs.
Vitamins and Minerals
Cauliflower is a good source of folate, a B vitamin that’s needed to make DNA and other genetic material, as well as for your cells to divide. It’s also an excellent source of bone-optimizing vitamin K and immune-enhancing vitamin C.
Cauliflower Side Effects
Some people may develop an allergic response after eating cauliflower. Symptoms of a cauliflower allergy include skin itching, breathing problems, and swelling. Seek medical attention as soon as you notice any allergic reactions.
The consumption of cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables in large amounts, especially in people who have an existing iodine deficiency may not be good since it can cause hypothyroidism.
However, one study conducted on humans has shown that eating 5 ounces of cooked cruciferous vegetables on a daily basis for a period of four weeks presented no adverse effects on thyroid function. The daily recommended amount of cooked cruciferous vegetables is 1-2 servings.
Gout and Kidney Stones
Gout is another side effect that people face after cauliflower consumption. Cauliflower basically contains purines. Purines are substances that are found in beef, organ meat, sardines, spinach, and cruciferous vegetables.
These purines are broken down in the body to form uric acid, which gets accumulated in the kidney and later forms kidney stones. Kidney stone problems are difficult to resolve and in some cases, might require surgery for stone removal. If you have a known gout problem or kidney stone, you must talk with your doctor before eating cruciferous vegetables.
Gas and Bloating
Some people may experience digestive problems when cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, and cauliflower are eaten raw. The reason is that the carbohydrate content in these vegetables is not completely broken down in the digestive tract along with high amounts of sulfur and fiber. Thus, you have to make sure that you eat cooked cruciferous vegetables to avoid such digestive disturbances.
All these side effects are not that serious. Therefore, they cannot overpower the health benefits of cauliflower. Cauliflower has great benefits that can change the health of a person. Because of its beneficial effects on health, more and more people are including cauliflower in their daily diet these days.
Does cauliflower make you fart?
Certain vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, and cauliflower are known to cause excess gas. Like beans, these vegetables also contain the complex sugar, raffinose. However, these are very healthy foods, so you may want to talk with your doctor before eliminating them from your diet.
Is cauliflower good for skin?
There are lots of foods than can boost skin health! The sulforaphane in cauliflower may actually protect the skin from ultraviolet radiation damage and skin cancer.
How much cauliflower should I eat a day?
Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults consume 1.5 to 2.5 cup-equivalents of dark green vegetables (which includes cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower) per week.
Does cauliflower help hair growth?
Another fruit that's rich in antioxidants and supports hair growth! Cauliflower carries a lot of hair health benefits, specifically through beta-carotene. A deficiency in beta-carotene can lead to hair breakage and thinning hair, so eating cauliflower will encourage regrowth in thin areas of the scalp.