Background

Cauliflower is part of the Brassica genus, which also includes bok choy, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale and turnips. Vegetables from the Brassica genus can enhance the palatability of foods due to their distinctive flavours and textures.1 Foods from this genus are also called cruciferous vegetables.

Nutritional Breakdown

Brassica vegetables are excellent sources of vitamin C, fibre, calcium and certain phytochemicals.1

NutrientAmount*
Calories25 kcal
Carbohydrate4.97 g
Fat0.28 g
Protein1.92 g
Total dietary Fibre1.8 g
Total Sugars1.91 g
Calcium22 mg
Iron0.42 mg
Magnesium15 mg
Phosphorus44 mg
Potassium499 mg
Sodium30 mg
Folate57 mcg
Vitamin C48.2 mg
Vitamin K15.5 mcg
*per 100g of raw cauliflower2

Potential Health Benefits of Cauliflower

Some studies suggest that cruciferous vegetables are a good source of antioxidants, which help protect the body against free radicals. Brassica vegetables have been related to the reduced risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates (sulfur-containing chemicals) which are responsible for their aroma and sometimes bitter flavour. During food preparation, chewing, and digestion, glucosinolates in cruciferous vegetables are broken down and form biologically active compounds (i.e. indoles, nitriles, thiocyanates, and isothiocyanates), which have been examined for their cancer-prevention effects. These compounds have been found to inhibit the development of cancer in some organs of animals during lab tests by:

  • protecting cells from DNA damage
  • helping to inactivate carcinogens
  • having antiviral and antibacterial effects
  • having anti-inflammatory effects
  • inducing cell death
  • inhibiting tumour blood vessel formation and tumour cell migration

However, studies in humans have shown mixed results.4

Key Takeaways

Cauliflower contains multiple nutrients that are beneficial to our health, along with other compounds that could help prevent disease and cancer. If you’re not a fan of cauliflower, I encourage you to try other vegetables in the Brassica genus – although they are in the same family, each have their own unique flavours and can be utilized in cooking in many different ways.

Cauliflower can be prepared and consumed in multiple ways including (but not limited to):

  • steamed
  • mashed
  • riced
  • fried
  • made into pizza crust
  • made into gnocchi
  • eaten raw
  • stir fried

References

  1. https://www-sciencedirect-com.subzero.lib.uoguelph.ca/science/article/pii/B9780123849472000830
  2. https://food-nutrition.canada.ca/cnf-fce/report-rapport.do
  3. https://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov.subzero.lib.uoguelph.ca/pmc/articles/PMC3793502/
  4. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/cruciferous-vegetables-fact-sheet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s