Posted by: godshealingplants | April 12, 2018

CAULIFLOWER HEALTH BENEFITS

HISTORY

Cauliflower is generally thought to be native to the general Mediterranean region, especially the northeastern portion of this region in what is now the country of Turkey. Its history here dates back over 2,000 years.

The oldest record of cauliflower dates back to the 6th century B.C., when Pliny wrote about it in the 2nd century after Christ. In the 12th century three varieties were described in Spain as introductions from Syria, where it had doubtless been grown for more than a thousand years.

ABOUT

Cauliflower is an annual plant grown from seed in the species Brassica oleracea, which also includes cabbage, brussel sprouts, kale, broccoli, and collard greens. Typically only the head is eaten. The head consisting of a short thick central stalk topped with a white hemispherical head of closely packed flowers, 10–15 cm in diameter surrounded with long green leaves. Usually eaten raw, steamed, boiled or pickled. They come in various shades the most common one being creamy white.

Purple, orange and green cauliflower appear identical to white cauliflower, except for their color.  They are all members of the very large family of brassica.  However, purple cauliflower gets its color from anthocyanin, a flavonoid which is an antioxidant also found in red wine.  Orange cauliflower contains beta-carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A, which gives the orange cauliflower additional levels of vitamin A not found in the other varieties.  Green cauliflower, which is often known as brocco-flower, is highly nutritious.  It contains more protein than broccoli or white cauliflower.

NUTRITIONAL VALUE

Cauliflower is low in fat, low in carbohydrates, and high in dietary fiber, water, and vitamin C. Cauliflower also contains vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine) and B9 (folic acid). It’s also a good source of vitamin K, protein, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, potassium, and manganese.

HEALTH BENEFITS

Among the cruciferous vegetables, cauliflower is something you might want to add to your regular diet because of its multiple health benefits as listed above. Cauliflower consumption has been studied for its cancer-preventing potential and antioxidant properties. Cauliflower contains many nutrients, making it an excellent addition to any diet.

 

Antioxidant

Cauliflower is a very good source of vitamin C and manganese, which are both powerful antioxidants. In fact, 1 cup of boiled cauliflower can already give you 55 mg of vitamin C. Aside from these antioxidants, cauliflower also contains carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, and phytonutrients that include kaempferol, ferulic acid, cinnamic acid and caffeic acid. With these antioxidants, you can be certain that eating cauliflower regularly will help protect you from free radical damage and reduce your risk for diseases caused by oxidative stress, such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

Anti-Inflammatory

Cauliflower also contains high amounts of vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids, which help decrease inflammation. A cup of boiled cauliflower contains about 11 micrograms of vitamin K and 0.21 g omega-3 fatty acids. Other anti-inflammatory substances in cauliflower include glucosinolates (such as glucoraphin) and isothiocyanates (such as isothiocyanate sulforaphane). Potentially, regular cauliflower consumption can help decrease the risk of inflammation-mediated diseases such as diabetes mellitus, inflammatory bowel disease and ulcerative colitis. 

Boosts Immunity

Cauliflower is rich in antioxidants and immune-strengthening nutrients. Along with other healthy components, the presence of vitamin C in it inhibits various infections and strengthens the defense mechanisms of the body by hampering the growth of disease-causing inflammation. 

Cardiovascular Health

By virtue of having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, cauliflower consumption is protective against cardiovascular diseases. For instance, in atherosclerosis, there is chronic inflammation of the blood vessel, and the deposition of lipids and white blood cells eventually leads to a decrease in their diameter. This decrease in diameter leads to decreased blood flow to essential organs like the brain (which could lead to stroke), heart (which could lead to heart attack) and kidneys (which could lead to kidney failure). By decreasing chronic inflammation, cauliflower is able to maintain the patency of the blood vessels and keeps excellent blood flow to essential organs of the body. 

Cancer

Studies have shown that indole-3-carbinol present in cauliflower has chemopreventive and anti-estrogen effects that help in hampering the growth of cancer cells. Research has provided supporting evidence for the fact that consumption of brassica vegetables such as cauliflower assists in reducing the risk of various types of cancers such as lung, bladder, breast, prostate, ovarian, and cervical cancer. 

Digestive Health

A cup of boiled cauliflower delivers about 3.35 g of dietary fiber, which helps clean your digestive system and gets rid of unnecessary substances. Additionally, a substance called glucoraphin present in cauliflower appears to have a protective effect on your stomach lining. With glucoraphin, your stomach is not prone to the bacterium helicobacter pylori, thereby reducing your risk for stomach ulcer and cancer. 

Heals Colitis

Studies have suggested 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 exerts a healing effect on the damage occurred in colon tissues and the colon epithelium. 

HOW TO SELECT AND STORE

Cauliflowers with clean, tightly bundled, creamy white florets with bright green leaves are the best ones to pick.

Yellow, spotted florets with saggy leaves are the ones devoid of nutrition and freshness. Dark-colored patches on the cauliflower may also indicate the presence of a mold disease.

Cauliflower can be stored in the refrigerator for 5 days. Cut florets needs to be consumed within 4 days as they do not last long.

HOW TO ENJOY

Recent studies have shown that boiling, full submersion of cauliflower in water when cooking, is not the best cooking practice if you want to preserve key phytonutrients in this cruciferous vegetable. In one study, 3 minutes of cauliflower submersion in a full pot of boiling water was enough to draw out more phytonutrients than 10 full minutes of steaming. Glucosinolates and flavonoids were the phytonutrients lost from cauliflower in greater amounts with full water submersion.

 

As with all vegetables, be sure not to overcook cauliflower. We suggest healthy sautéing cauliflower rather than the more traditional methods of boiling or steaming, which makes it waterlogged, mushy and lose much of its flavor. Cut cauliflower florets into quarters and let sit for 5 minutes before cooking.

Here are some ways to enjoy cauliflower:

 Baked cauliflower in the oven

Cauliflower salad

Cauliflower hummus

Cauliflower torte

Cauliflower pancakes

Purple cauliflower dip

A WORD OF CAUTION

Make sure that you do not eat more than 4 to 5 servings of this vegetable each week though. This is because cauliflower contains purines, which are broken down by the body to produce uric acid. If you have too much uric acid, you could eventually develop gout and arthritis.

 

SOURCES

http://www.dictionarycentral.com/definition/cauliflower.html

http://www.udc.edu/docs/causes/online/cauliflowersm.pdf

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2390/2

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100707223231.htm

http://www.pnas.org/content/99/11/7610

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