Cauliflower

Everyone knows vegetables are good for you, but what about the vegetables that are GREAT for you?  We’re talking about vegetables that are not only packed with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, but vegetables that versatile and can replace less nutrient dense ingredients, adding a delicious healthy kick to your meal- cue cauliflower.  

Cauliflower’s name is more fitting to the vegetable, or should we say flower than you might think, cauliflower heads are really just bushels of underdeveloped flower buds.  Cauliflower grows in consistently moderate weather conditions where the temperature stays a steady 60-70 degrees year round. You might have come across purple of orange cauliflower and questioned the natural properties of these vegetables, but don’t worry because these colors are 100% natural!  Orange cauliflower is simply cauliflower that is richer in beta-carotene, the component that gives carrots its vibrant orange color. Purple cauliflower is rich in an antioxidant group called anthocyanin, which is found is purple cabbage as well. These vibrant colors might through you off in the grocery store but they’re 100% safe to eat and don’t taste very different at all from your typical white cauliflower.

Cauliflower-The Cash Crop

It isn’t every day you see a vegetable dominating headlines, starring on menus and taking on the role as the protagonist of commercials, magazines, and cookbooks, but cauliflower is the exception.  In 2016, U.S Farmers sold about $390 million in cauliflower. That’s a pretty exceptional increase from 2012 when only a mere $239 million worth of cauliflower was sold.

Benefits of Cauliflower

Along with replacing the refined carbohydrate aspect of some of your favorite starchy commodities, cauliflower packed with vitamins and nutrients your body needs.  Although cauliflower is 92% water, it doesn’t lack nutritional value.

Cauliflower is high in:

-Antioxidants

-Choline

-Sulforaphane

-Vitamin C

-Vitamin K

-Vitamin B6

-Folate

-Fiber

-Phosphorus

The Pros of Antioxidants

Antioxidants are an important nutritional aspect of a functioning body, and cauliflower is particularly high in glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, two groups of antioxidants believed to fight the growth of cancer cells.  The glucosinolates also help activate detoxifying enzymes in the body, getting rid of any harmful or unwanted waste.

Choline

Choline, not to be confused with chlorine is absolutely essential for a high functioning body.  Choline plays a major role in brain development, metabolic functions, muscle control, and nervous system functions.  Choline also prevents cholesterol from accumulating in the liver, a choline-deficient diet can lead to liver failure along with heart disease and neurological disorders.  There are high amounts of chlorine are foods like beef, eggs, chicken, fish, and yogurt, so as far as plant-based chlorine-rich options go, cauliflower is a pretty safe bet with 11% of daily recommended chlorine in one cup!

Calling All Sulforaphane Fiends!

Sulforaphane doesn’t get the attention vitamin C or potassium get, but this compound is so powerful and beneficial, no healthy diet should be missing it. Sulforaphane is a compound that can shrink both the size and number of cancer cells while also preventing the growth of future cancer cells by releasing antioxidants and enzymes that protect against carcinogens.  This heart-healthy compound prevents inflammation and lowers blood pressure. Its also great for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, reducing fasting blood sugar levels making sulforaphane essential for diabetic folks.

Vitamin C As Far as the Eye Can See!

Debatably one of the most well-known vitamins, vitamin C is necessary for the growth and repair of body tissue, wound healing, bone and teeth development, and the immune system.  Vitamin C is found in lots of fruits like mango, oranges, pineapple, and other fruits that are high in sugar. With only 1 cup of cauliflower containing 77% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C, cauliflower provides a low sugar option for those trying to pack in vitamin C.  

Allergen, Special Diet, and Low Carb Friendly

Suffering from Celiacs disease or gluten intolerance?  Trying out the Ketogenic or Paleo diet? Cauliflower is one of the best ingredients to replace refined carbohydrates, making it great for weight management and those looking to avoid refined carbohydrates. Cauliflower’s malleable composure allows it to take the form of pizza crusts, and even chips and crackers without compromising taste or flavor making it an allergen and diet friendly dream!  

Better ways to Prepare Cauliflower

-Roasted in the form of cauliflower “steaks”

-Steamed then mashed into cauliflower mashed “potatoes”

-Steamed then added to smoothies for a low-calorie creamy kick

-Steamed then mashed into cauliflower mashed “potatoes” for gnocchi

-Roasted then tossed into a cauliflower “potato” salad

-Roasted with Hispanic spices for tacos, burritos or enchiladas