For many people, even healthy eaters, the first introduction to cauliflower is as a cold, stiff accompaniment to the other, more popular options on a veggie platter. But, what if you were missing out on a healthy powerhouse that could be used to better your diet? What if cauliflower was not only secretly loaded with healthy nutrients, but also could mimic some of your favorite, fatty dishes? You might be surprised that these statements are actually true; that cauliflower isn’t broccoli’s ugly stepsister. If anything, it’s a culinary ugly duckling!
Rich in Fiber
Among the many vitamins and nutrients that cauliflower is packed with — like folate and Vitamins C and K — the one we want to zero in on right now is fiber. One cup of cauliflower gives you roughly 10 percent of your daily need and for only 25 calories! Fiber is incredibly important to a healthily functioning digestive system, but the benefits don’t stop there. There’s evidence that fiber can help you lose weight, lower your cholesterol, and even maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Most notably, fiber may be able to slow brain aging and age-related brain inflammation.
Dietary fiber can also influence your health in other ways. Studies have linked a proper amount of fiber in your diet with a well-regulated immune system, which can help you fight off illnesses. Fiber is also believed to reduce inflammation, which has a host of positive benefits for your overall health. As if that wasn’t enough, fiber also has a number of anti-aging benefits, like protecting against joint pain and diabetes. Most notably, fiber may be able to slow brain aging and age-related brain inflammation.
Lastly, fiber may also help protect against a few types of cancer, notably breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer. The American Institute of Cancer Research also noted that for every 10-grams of fiber increased into your diet is linked with a 7 percent drop in risk of colorectal cancer.
Could Fight Disease
Let’s talk more about cauliflower’s ability to help you fight illnesses. Besides its fiber, the other primary component of illness-prevention that cauliflower has is its antioxidants, which can protect your cells from damage and oxidative stress that can lead to cancer. One type of these antioxidants is glucosinolates, sulfuric compounds that are linked to lower rates of cancer. How much lower? One study in 2009 found that glucosinolates can lower your rates of lung cancer by anywhere from 17 to 23 percent. Another study from 2012 linked them with a lower chance of colorectal, breast, kidney, esophageal, and oropharyngeal cancers.
One type of these antioxidants is glucosinolates, sulfuric compounds that are linked to lower rates of cancer.
Other studies have found that glucosinolates may also be effective at combating cardiovascular and neurological diseases, too. When you consider the effectiveness of another antioxidant found in cauliflower, carotenoid, you can better begin to see the full picture of just how healthy this vegetable is for us.
Great for Healthy Weight Loss
The ultimate beauty of cauliflower is that it can be a potent weight loss weapon. Cauliflower can help you lose weight in a healthy way for several reasons. First, you have the incredibly low-calorie count — 25 calories for a cup — compared to other foods. Despite this, it’s also high in fiber, which we mentioned helps with digestion. Fiber is also helpful in dieting because it can make you feel fuller quicker. Another way that cauliflower helps you lose weight is by being mostly made up of water. It may not look like it, but most of the mass from cauliflower comes from water, with as much as 92 percent being water.
Cauliflower can find its way into almost any dish without you really even noticing the difference!
The biggest way that cauliflower can help you lose weight is by how versatile it is. In many ways, cauliflower is a culinary chameleon. It has been used to mimic rice, mashed potatoes, chicken wings, pizza crust, and even macaroni and cheese. Keep in mind, while you may be adding some unhealthy ingredients to the dish, the cauliflower is still likely healthier than the ingredient it’s replacing, making it an excellent dieting option. With its light, pliable flavor and adaptable texture, cauliflower can find its way into almost any dish without you really even noticing the difference!
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Cauliflower is finally beginning to get the spotlight it deserves. Between being so adaptable that it can be used as a healthy swap in a ton of dishes, and the high content of fiber, antioxidants, and other valuable nutrients, we think cauliflower is a superfood that people should consider adding to their regular diets.