Is Cauliflower Healthy? The Health Benefits of Cauliflower Explained
Cauliflower is generally considered one of the healthiest foods on the planet and this humble superfood is enjoyed by people around the world everyday not only for it’s immense health benefits, but also because it’s such a tasty food!
It can be eaten raw, boiled, fried, baked, steamed or pickled and is frequently added to dishes as a side or if you’re a vegetarian/vegan, can definitely be enjoyed as a main course with a few other vegetables and nuts etc.
I’ve been using cauliflower in my life for quite some time now, but never really took the time out to actually understand what makes this vegetable so healthy. There’s nothing more interesting to me than finding out how my food works and what it can do for my body and my health.
These days, we’re so used to being put on drugs for every kind of illness that our bodies generally don’t have the time to strengthen their immune systems by beating illnesses in a natural way.
On top of that, the medication we take generally tends come with a long list of side-effects that can only worsen the quality of our health or reduce our chances at overcoming the disease naturally.
Due to the fact that the medical care system is changing (again) in the US, there is a greater deal of emphasis on us as individuals to ensure that we remain healthy over time – or manage to keep ourselves healthy, unless you want to be wracked with a long list of medical bills!
This means that we should take a step back and review our lifestyles in order to make sure that we’re only giving our body ‘the good stuff’ – and lots of it! I think that holistic medicine and the idea that food can be used as a medicine itself is a pretty important factor for the health-conscious among us as we move forward into an uncertain future.
I hope that this article sheds a little more light on how we can use the everyday fruits and vegetables we see in our stores to radically improve our health and cauliflower is no exception here.
What is Cauliflower? Where Does Cauliflower Come From?
Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family which means that it is directly related to broccoli, cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts. Botanists believe that this entire vegetable family was derived from an ancient wild cabbage that has been known to man since as early as 600 BC.
As with most fruits and vegetables that we know today, they have changed a great deal since their original form due to a variety of mutations that occur either naturally or artificially.
In most cases, farmers over the years have selected produce that they deem favorable (better flavor, size, color etc.) and start to cultivate these instead. This means that over time, the wild forms of these vegetables or fruit fade out of the gene pool and are ultimately replaced by the new mutation.
The cauliflower seems to be native to most parts of Europe and an Asian genus has also developed which tends to grow in more tropical climates in countries like China, India etc. It prefers rich, moist, sandy soils with lots of cool, direct light.
The vegetable grows best in temperatures between 21 and 29 C and usually take about 7-12 weeks to become suitable for harvest. There are four major groups of cauliflower namely Italian, Northern European Annual, Northwestern European Biennial and the Asian variety.
Cauliflower Nutritional Content Breakdown
Still spending a small fortune on multivitamins to keep healthy? Stop right now and think again! Cauliflower easily has one of the most impressive varieties of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that I’ve ever seen in a vegetable before.
It’s quite easy to see why including this in your daily or even weekly diet can make all the difference in the quality of your health as well as preventing the onset of a wide variety of diseases and health ailments. This trend can be seen throughout the cruciferous vegetable family. Here’s a brief list of just some of the nutrients, minerals and vitamins you can expect to find in a regular serving of cauliflower (1x cup):
- 73% of daily vitamin C intake.
- 19% of daily vitamin K intake.
- 15% of daily folate intake (B9).
- 13% of daily pantothenic acid intake (B5).
- 12% of daily B6 intake.
- 11% of daily choline intake.
- 11% of daily fiber intake.
- 9 % of daily Omega-3 intake.
This basically means that a cauliflower has almost as much vitamin C per serving as an orange – if not more in some cases.
So perhaps it’s time we rethink what we eat when we want to stay healthy? Besides this, the humble cauliflower also contains significant amounts of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, manganese, selenium and fluoride.
How Cauliflower Can Help Fight Cancer
It’s important to remember that cancer is a very serious disease and should never be taken lightly. While it may seem appealing to try and treat yourself at home – it’s always recommended that you stay in touch with an experienced doctor while you battle this disease as medical check-ups are very important for ensuring that you are making steady progress towards recovery.
Without these check-ups and tests, you are essentially operating in the dark and will not be able to track the effectiveness of your holistic treatments accurately or give yourself enough time to switch to a more serious form of treatment if need be. Thankfully, there are a lot of ways that we can try to avoid this disease in the first place and out diet plays an important role in determining whether we stand a higher or lower likelihood of developing cancer.
There are a lot of causes for cancer and a lot of different types of cancer out there. Because of this, there is still no ‘one-shot’ treatment for the disease and recovery is really based on a number of different factors.
Cauliflower has been proven to be especially effective against fighting off/preventing the formation of breast cancer, colon, liver, lung and stomach cancer. This is because cauliflower is shown to have chemo-preventative agents which help to slow and ultimately stall the early phases of cancer cell development and has even been seen to help shut off tumour growth.
So if you’re dead set on trying to avoid cancer altogether or are interested in finding a natural and holistic way of treating the disease (granted that it’s been caught early enough), I would definitely start by assessing your diet and cutting out anything that could ‘feed’ the cancer (processed foods, fatty meats, fried foods, hydrogenated oils etc.).
Cauliflower for Inflammation Explained
Internal inflammation has been linked to a wide variety of diseases (even cancer) and is generally also accompanied by discomfort, pain, irritability and disease. It’s also often attributed to being one of the leading causes of heart disease and is best prevented rather than treated i.e. it’s easier to prevent than it is to treat in many cases.
Due to the incredibly rich and varied amount of natural antioxidants that are contained in the cauliflower, eating even 1 over the course of the week can do a great deal for reducing your chances of suffering from inflammation.
But what causes inflammation and how do the antioxidants work to treat inflammation? One of the main causes of internal inflammation throughout our bodies are oxidized molecules that are known as free radicals. They are split up into two categories namely exogenous (external) sources and endogenous (internal) sources.
These are essentially a cellular waste-product that is formed internally due to a variety of different factors including our normal metabolic processes and the ingestion of fast, fatty processed foods, alcohol, air pollutants and certain medications. These oxidized molecules are missing an electron, so they go off to find another electron from suitable compounds in the body.
When they ‘steal’ an electron from another compound, that compound becomes a free-radical and goes off to find it’s own electron which in turn causes a chain-reaction much like cancer.
The rich amount of beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, caffeic acid, cinnamic acid, ferulic acid, quercetin, rutin and kaempferol contained in cauliflower help to flush free radicals out of the system before they can do too much damage to our bodies. So by eating just 1 cauliflower a day can make your life a lot easier as you get older – think of good health now as an investment for your old age. What could be a cheaper or easier investment for good health than a single cauliflower a week?
Cauliflower for Heart Health Explained
Many of the same factors that lead to internal inflammation are also directly linked to the development of heart disease, not to forget that inflammation itself contributes to the onset of heart disease.
So if it stands to reason that the same conditions that make us vulnerable to inflammation also make us vulnerable to heart disease, then the same phytochemical compounds, nutrients, vitamins and minerals that make a vegetable like cauliflower so good at flushing out the free radicals and harmful chemical agents that lead to inflammation can also decrease your chances at developing heart disease.
The less free radicals there are in your system at any given time, or the more you are able to cleanse your body of these free radicals, the better suited you’ll be to preventing the onset of heart disease and general inflammation as well.
Another key component of cauliflower that makes it so effective at reducing our risk of heart problems is the fact that it contains a large amount of potassium which has been known to reduce high blood pressure levels in the blood. This is a great way of ensuring that we don’t put too much stress on our hearts and can ultimately allow it to function properly.
Cauliflower for Digestion Explained
If you’re struggling with digestive issues, it’s probably best for you stop whatever it is you’re eating and take a step back in order to reassess your diet. Generally, problems related to the digestive system are directly connected to the foods we eat or the things we drink. In some cases, they might be due to an external virus or an infection – but 7 times out of 10, you can be sure that it’s because of what you’re eating.
Even eating certain vegetables (like beans and other starchy vegetables) can have a negative effect on your digestive system, so here the focus is really on getting a varied and balanced diet in order to make sure that your body is getting enough of what it needs and that you don’t put too much strain on your stomach lining and digestive system as well.
Cauliflower contains a rich supply of sulphur-loaded compounds known as glucosinolates which help to increase nutrient absorption in our stomachs and also help to flush out waste products and toxins – leaving our system healthier overall.
Glucosinolates have also been directly linked to the release of a specific group of antioxidants contained in our liver through a group of enzymes known as Phase II enzymes. These, in turn, stimulate the liver to release additional detoxifying enzymes that help to trap and flush out free radicals as well as block them from doing any damage to our cells.
This same compound (glucosinolate) has also been known to protect the delicate lining of our stomach and in turn, reduces our chances of developing leaky-gut-syndrome. Leaky-gut-syndrome can show itself through a wide variety of different symptoms that can make it difficult to identify at first. It’s a really serious health issue but thankfully, it can be treated with a simple diet change and some medical check-ups.
Cauliflower For Eye Health Explained
Over time, our vision tends to get worse due to the fact that our eyes are subject to environmental damage on a regular basis if not daily basis. Exposure to the elements like wind, heat and particles in the air can damage the lens of your eye and cause dryness or irritation, while ultraviolet light worsens the effects of the damage and can even lead to advanced vision-loss or poor eyesight.
The rich amount of sulforaphane that occurs naturally in cauliflower has been shown to protect the vulnerable tissues of the retinal area from oxidative stress which ultimately helps to prevent the onset of degenerative eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
I’m quite sure that like me, many of you have been eating cauliflower on and off over the course of your life without even realizing how incredibly healthy this vegetable actually is.
At the end of the day, I like to think that we can prevent a great deal of diseases, ailments and disorders by paying attention to what we eat, why we eat it and when we eat it.
Food as a form of natural medicine is nothing new – in fact, it’s the oldest form of medicine known to man. So perhaps, by returning to our roots a little bit and focussing on what our body needs or wants we can avert the crises before they happen as well as keep ourselves rid of the harmful chemical treatments that doctors hand out like candy these days.
Your body is the most important asset you’ll ever own and is ultimately more important than riches or fame at the end of the day. Taking care of it is a lot easier than many of us would believe and if you don’t trust me, try eating cauliflower once a week for a full month and see how great you feel. You’ll never go back to your old lifestyle again once you realize how easy and simple good health actually is.