Humans have been eating cauliflower for millennia, but lately cauliflower has been enjoying a boost in popularity, appearing in untraditional places like pizza crusts, macaroni shells, and mashed potatoes. So what’s all the hype about? Let’s explore.
Cauliflower belongs to a family of vegetables which also includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens and kale. Cauliflowers come in many varieties and can range in colour from white to orange, green, or purple. And although the whole plant is edible, we usually only eat the white part, sometimes called the “curd.”
Holistic Nutritionist Emily Santorelli says “you should purchase organic cauliflower when possible and include members of this family of vegetables in your diet regularly for optimal health.” She suggests a serving of 1.5 cups at least 2-3 times per week at minimum and up to 4-5 servings (ideal). Also, “It’s important to eat your cauliflower soon after you’ve purchased it, because it will lose beneficial nutrients the longer you keep it.”
Santorelli describes cauliflower as a “wonder-food” because it’s extremely rich in vitamins (C, K, Folate and B vitamins) and minerals like potassium, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus. It also contains important phytonutrients like quercetin and rutin, as well as omega 3 fatty acids and protein. One caveat though, “if you have a thyroid condition you’ll want to make sure you’re eating cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables cooked—not raw.” says Santorelli.
Nutritional benefits? There are many:
Cauliflower is high in antioxidants like vitamin C, beta-carotene, and the mineral manganese, which help lower oxidative stress and free radical damage in the body, helping to protect against disease. The high levels of vitamin C help strengthen the immune system and increase iron absorption, which aids with tissue growth and repair.
Regular consumption of cauliflower helps lower inflammation in the body (due to its antioxidants, vitamin K and omega 3’s). Inflammation is associated with numerous chronic and neuro-degenerative diseases.
Cauliflower is rich in fibre, which promotes good digestion, reduces constipation and promotes the elimination of toxins from the body. For those interested in losing weight it’s an excellent choice because its high fibre content promotes a feeling of fullness, and it’s low in fat, carbohydrates and sugar.
Cauliflower is high in potassium so it’s good for bone health. Healthy levels of potassium can help minimize the impact of osteoporosis and help reduce the risk of fractures. Note that Potassium also assists with blood-clotting, so if you’ve been prescribed blood-thinners it may reduce the effectiveness of these medications.
Liver health: Cauliflower contains indole 3 carbonyl, a powerful phytonutrient that can help support liver detoxification and estrogen metabolism.
Looking for even more inspiration? Try Cauliflower in soups and stews. It’s also great raw with your favourite dip, dressing or hummus!
Versatility, flavour and powerful nutritional benefits—what’s not to love? Invite a cauliflower into your diet today.
Along with its nutritional benefits, cauliflower is very versatile and can be prepared in a wide variety of ways. Some of Santorelli’s favourites include:
Chopped & Sautéed with Garlic
Chop the cauliflower and sauté gently on stovetop in a bit of chicken broth – the liquid will help preserve its valuable nutrients. Cook for about 5 mins on medium heat, covered. Then, toss with a clove of freshly chopped garlic. Remove from heat and drizzle a tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil on top to help with absorbability of nutrients.
Pulse cauliflower in a food processor until it resembles rice . Steaming it lightly.
Toss cauliflower florets in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper Roast in the oven at 425 until lightly browned.
Emily’s Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
Boil cauliflower florets with your potatoes in water or chicken stock. When fork tender, drain the liquid leaving about a half cup in the bottom of your pot. Blend with a hand mixer and add salt and pepper to taste. If you need more liquid, add more chicken broth.