Cauliflower: Health Benefits and Nutritional Values

There are various types of vegetables from different parts of the world are available in the market today. Root vegetables are the most commonly used form of vegetables in the world. The flowering parts of certain plants are also used as vegetables. These cruciferous vegetables are enriched with essential nutrients and other elements that are vital for the promotion of proper health. Cauliflower is one of the most popular cruciferous vegetable used many parts of the world.  It is also described as one of the world’s healthiest food that can be used for people of all ages. It is classified as genus Brassica oleracea  in the family of Brassicaceae. The edible part is made up with a compound known as inflorescence meristem.  The most common color of cauliflower is white except certain variety with orange or purple color. It is believed that the origin of cauliflower is in the Mediterranean region thousands of years ago. The North West European biennial variety was cultivated from 19th century onwards. The Northern European annual variety is another variety that was cultivated in the early 18th centuries and currently there are more than 80 variety of cauliflower is available. It is used in several cuisines in different methods. Boiling is the only method that reduces the nutrient content of the cauliflower. Long duration of boiling reduces all most all nutrients. The best methods for preparing cauliflower dishes are to steam, bake and to stir fry. In certain salads cooked or blanched cauliflower is added along with other vegetables. It is used for making stews, broth, roasts, soups and dishes added with spices and other flavors. It is also used along with meat, poultry and seafood.

Cauliflower is enriched with all potent phyto nutrients and antioxidants that promote good health. Many studies have been conducted on the nutrient content and its relative health benefits of cauliflower. The nutrient data base of USDA provides the entire vital nutrient level of this cruciferous vegetable. According to USDA it has low calorie or energy content of 25 g per 100 g. It is enriched with high dietary fiber, sugars, carbo hydrates, protein and high water content. The vitamins include thiamine or vitamin B1, riboflavin or Vitamin B2, niacin or vitamin B3, pantothenic acid or Vitamin B5, vitamin B6, folate or vitamin B9, vitamin C, E and K. The minerals include calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and Zinc.

The low fat content in cauliflower helps to reduce the cholesterol level in the blood and promote cardiovascular health. The dietary fiber provides strength to the intestinal walls and improves the digestion system. It reduces the constipation thorough proper digestion.

Indole 3 carbinol is a phytochemical compound that repairs the DNA structure damages. The rich anti oxidants prevent the free radicals and reduce the oxidation stress and prevents cancers particularly the prostate cancer in men. Carotenoids and Sulfarophane also prevents various cancers like lung cancer, breast cancer and bladder cancer. The antioxidants act as anti inflammatory agents and improve the immune system. The vitamin A and B are essential for the growth of cells and the intake of cauliflower by pregnant women will give proper development of the fetus. Calcium content gives bone density and provides proper bone and teeth health. Phosphorous and magnesium content also promotes bone health.  The iron provides more red blood cells. Zinc heals the wound and generates new cells. Selenium improves the functioning of the immune system. Sodium keeps the body fluids in balanced state. Manganese activates the enzymes that are beneficial for the whole body health through de toxification process. The vitamin C burns the fat deposits and helps to reduce the body weight. The low fat content also helps to reduce obesity. The vitamin K is vital in coagulation of blood. The regular intake of cauliflower improves the health acting as a remedy for various elements.