Cauliflower: Health Benefits, Nutrients & Uses

Medically Reviewed by Checkmark Medically Reviewed By: Sheela Krishnaswamy
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Last Updated on May 5, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Cauliflower has a special place in Indian cuisine. It belongs to the class of vegetables called “Cole.” It is closely related to broccoli. Other vegetables in its family are cabbage, kale, and brussels sprouts. Studies suggest that it evolved from the wild cabbage due to genetic mutation.

Most studies indicate that it has originated somewhere in the Mediterranean region. However, its widespread consumption is not new. It appears to have gained significant prominence only in about the 15th century.

It is among the nutrition-dense vegetables. Therefore, its consumption is especially beneficial for those living on a predominantly vegetarian diet. It is a good source of healthy carbs, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, and folate. Cauliflowers also contain small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. They are also an excellent source of potassium.

However, apart from macro and micronutrients, it appears to be rich in bioactive compounds, which may explain its many health benefits.

Good source of dietary fibre

Dietary fiber is one of the neglected components of the diet because it does not provide any calories. However, dietary fiber has a vital role in maintaining gut motility and helps maintain gut microbiota. Thus, high dietary intake is associated with many health benefits. 

Due to its high dietary fiber content, cauliflower may help prevent constipation and even help reduce the risk of inflammatory bowel diseases. Additionally, high dietary fiber intake is also associated with better metabolic health and a lower risk of cardiovascular conditions. 

Excellent source of antioxidants

Cauliflower is rich in phenolic compounds and vitamins, which may explain its high antioxidant capacity. Some of the phenolic compounds in it are protocatechuic acid, quercetin, pyrogallol, vanillic acid, coumarin, and kaempferol. 

However, it is worth understanding that the antioxidant capacity of vegetables also depends on the cooking methods. Thus, antioxidants are well-preserved on steaming and boiling. There is a slight reduction in antioxidant capacity on stir frying.

Can aid weight loss 

Cauliflower is rich in micronutrients, and yet it is low in calories. Therefore, it can make people feel full, yet it does not contain high calories and does not cause fat accumulation. 

Additionally, it can help in other ways, like due to its content of antioxidants, quercetin, dietary fibre, and other bioactive compounds that promote weight loss.

Additionally, it may also help people keep hydrated when practicing a calorie-restrictive diet.

High in choline and suitable for brain health

Choline can serve as a precursor for neurotransmitters like acetylcholine. Choline is widely used as a supplement to boost brain health. Doctors even recommend choline to those recovering from a stroke

Cauliflower is naturally rich in choline. Thus, it can help improve levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. Additionally, choline also helps maintain the integrity of brain cells as it plays an important role in synthesizing cell membranes and even DNA.

Studies show that choline may even have a role in preventing dementia and Alzheimer’s. Generally, those who consume cruciferous vegetables in large amounts are less likely to develop brain disorders.

High in sulforaphane and helps fight cancer

In recent years, there has been increasing interest in the anti-cancer properties of the compound that is found in all cruciferous vegetables, including cauliflower. This compound is called sulforaphane. It is a potent antioxidant and appears to suppress cancer cells.

Sulforaphane is especially good for reducing the risk of colon and prostate cancer. However, researchers have also found that it may help protect from other cancers like pancreatic, leukemia, breast, and even skin cancers6.

This incredible antioxidant is also suitable for those living with metabolic disorders. It appears to help reduce blood pressure and help keep blood vessels healthy. In addition, it may have a role in preventing cardiovascular ailments.

Additionally, studies show that sulforaphane may also have a role in managing diabetes. It may also help prevent diabetes-related complications. Moreover, it is worth understanding that cauliflower has a very low glycemic index and few calories. Thus, those living with diabetes may consume it in large amounts.

Good for heart health

Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower are known to lower inflammation, help normalize lipid profile, prevent atherosclerosis, and thus help reduce the risk of cardiovascular events. 

Cruciferous vegetables are rich in antioxidants and vitamins. Moreover, they are a good source of flavonoids, anthocyanins, coumarins, carotenoids, terpenes, and other beneficial compounds. In addition, they appear to reduce the risk of clot formation.

Of course, they are not some potent medications, and their health effects are much less pronounced. But, then, they are suitable for regular consumption. Their health benefits are only felt when they are consumed substantially and regularly. 

Helpful in post-menopausal syndrome

Post-menopausal time is complex for women. Menopause causes many issues like mood swings, worsening of bone health, sudden drop in libido, and worsening of general health. In severe cases, hormone replacement therapy is justified. However, it has many severe side effects and may be counterproductive on prolonged use.

In recent years, natural estrogens have received significant attention. These are also called phytoestrogens. It appears that many foods with herbs are rich in phytoestrogens. 

Cauliflower is rich in lignans like secoisolariciresinol that appear to have properties of phytoestrogens and may help improve mood. 

Good for bone health

Cauliflower is quite good for bone health. It is rich in minerals, vitamin C, and, more importantly, vitamin K. Cauliflowers also contain other phytocompounds. 

It may be especially good for those living with hormonal issues, prolonged illness, or taking numerous medications. For example, one of the experimental studies in rats found that it may help attenuate the impact of corticosteroids like prednisolone on bone health.

Final thoughts

Cauliflower is low in calories and yet dense in micronutrients and beneficial phytocompounds. In recent years, western research has specifically focused on the cancer prevention properties of cruciferous vegetables. Additionally, they could be a good source of nutrients for those living on a predominantly vegetarian diet.

Of course, it is not a medication or medical herb. But, then, it is fit for prolonged and regular consumption. Moreover, making it a part of a regular diet may help prevent numerous other disorders, including metabolic disorders.

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Last Updated on May 5, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on May 5, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on May 5, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on May 5, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on May 5, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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Last Updated on May 5, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on May 5, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on May 5, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on May 5, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on May 5, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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Garima Dev Verman
Garima Dev Verman
A qualified and experienced dietitian, Garima is analyses and fact checks content around diet and nutrition.
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