The health benefits of cauliflower are huge. Even though this white delight looks like a vegetable, you're really eating the flower of the plant, hence the name. In old Britain, they called the vegetable cole florye, which meant flowered cabbage. It would certainly make a healthy gift if you sent it instead of roses on Valentine's Day but it isn't highly recommended.
Amazingly, cauliflower ranks quite high in vitamin C. While most people think of red bell pepper, oranges and papayas as top vitamin C fruits and vegetables, one cup of cooked cauliflower gives you almost half of your recommended daily allowance of the vitamin. If you eat it raw, microwaved or lightly steamed, you'll double the amount of vitamin C.
That's not all that cauliflower brings to the table when it comes to vitamins and minerals. A cup of cauliflower also provides you with 20 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin K, 4 percent of the RDA for thiamin and riboflavin and 3 percent of the daily need for niacin. It also contains 11 percent of your daily requirement for vitamin B6, 14 percent of the daily need for folate, 7 percent of your RDA of pantothenic acid and 45 mg of choline that has no established RDA as of yet.
If all those vitamins weren't enough to make you run out and buy a cauliflower for supper, consider the amount of minerals cauliflower contains. You can get 1 percent of your RDA for selenium and 2 percent of your daily calcium, iron, zinc and copper requirement from a cup of cauliflower. You'll find 4 percent of your required magnesium and phosphorous in it. There's a whopping 8 percent of the RDA for manganese and 9 percent for potassium.
If all we needed to remain healthy was just vitamins and minerals, fast food companies would include a vitamin with each burger combo and no one would get sick. It's just not that easy. Part of the reason fruits and vegetables are so important to your diet are the phytonutrients they contain. In this case, the nutrients are sulforaphane and isothiocyanate. These two phytonutrients help the liver detoxify your system so you don't have DNA damage that causes cancer but they also do other things besides detoxification of your system. Through the process of digestion they form substances that help stop cell division in tumors and causes also causes cell death in tumor cells.
Several studies show that people eating cauliflower or other crucifers such as broccoli on a consistent basis, have a lower potential to develop lung, colon, bladder, ovarian and breast cancer.
Not only is cauliflower helpful in the prevention of cancer, it also provides other benefits. The plant nutrients in the cauliflower help encourage the cells to "clean house" and increase enzymes to detoxify the body of harmful chemicals. Cauliflower also can provide protection from rheumatoid arthritis because of its high level of vitamin C. Besides all that, it's a great source of fiber too.
You can't go wrong when you include this low calorie nutritionally packed veggie to your diet. If you find the flavor needs enhancing, it partners well with many spices and herbs to increase the vitamins and nutrients available. It's a tasty vegetable to add to any fresh vegetable tray or steamed as one of the side dishes for you meals. The health benefits of cauliflower and versatility of the vegetable are so great that it only makes sense to include it in your diet.