This is Camille's final guest post on the blog. Thanks, Camille!
Once overshadowed by broccoli, cauliflower is now trending the foodie world - some even call it the new kale. A common belief is that darker green or darker pigmented produce contain more nutrients, but white veggies are rich in a different set of phytochemicals that are just as beneficial to your health.
Besides its wide variety of amazing health benefits, cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that is extremely versatile in the kitchen. Cauliflower can be incorporated into many different types of dishes, and is quite tasty. It’s loved by diabetics, Paleos, and healthy eaters because of its low-cal and low-carb properties. Whether you already are on the cauliflower bandwagon, or are skeptical of ever trying it, read on to understand why cauliflower is gaining nutritional and culinary popularity.
One cup of cauliflower provides more than 75% of the daily recommended value of folate and vitamins B5, B6, C and K. One cup also provides more than 50% of the daily recommended intake of biotin, choline, fiber, omega-3 fatty acid, manganese and phosphorus.
As an excellent source of Vitamin C and a great source of manganese, cauliflower provides a wide array of phytonutrients which protect cells against oxidative stress. These properties have given cauliflower its star role in many cancer-prevention diets that are promoted today.
Cauliflower contains 9 grams of insoluble fiber for every 100 calories, making it good for digestive health. Insoluble fiber is important for digestion because it helps you stay regular by keeping your bowels moving. Cauliflower also contains a compound called sulforaphane, which protects the stomach lining by preventing an overgrowth of bacteria.
Cauliflower is high in Vitamin K, which is a key component in prevention of blood clotting and heart health. Like other cruciferous vegetables, cauliflower contains precursors to indole-3-carbinol (I3C). Some nutrients are known to impact how our genes express themselves - I3C is one of those nutrients. Through its interaction with our genes, I3C reduces inflammation, promotes heart health and prevents abnormal cell growth. Another way I3C plays a role in heart health is by reducing the amount of ApolipopproteinB-100 (ApoB-100) that the liver secretes. High levels of ApoB-100 are linked to plaque formation in blood vessels and increased fats in the blood.
Although most research done on I3C has been done in very high quantities at the supplement level, we can use this information as a reminder to keep variety in our diet. Ensuring that we really do “eat the rainbow,” and include a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables will also ensure that we include these as well as many other important disease-fighting phytochemicals.
I3C is also known as an anti-estrogen agent, which helps support healthy hormone levels. An overproduction of estrogen is a risk factor for many different types of cancers and hormonal disorders – there are many synthetic estrogen-like components in the environment that can lead to this overproduction of estrogen. I3C has the potential to bring some balance by preventing or reducing the effects of these environmental factors. Specifically, I3C is associated with reduced abnormal cell growth in estrogen-driven cancers such as cervical and breast. In addition, those suffering from endometriosis and HPV may find relief from an increase in I3C.
Cauliflower can be used as a low-calorie and low-carbohydrate substitute in many creamy and decadent comfort food recipes such as mashed potatoes and alfredo sauce (that can be paired with spiralized zucchini!) because of its nutty flavor and creamy texture when steamed. With a little creativity, cauliflower can be used in place of rice, pizza crust, and even meat in certain dishes.
Whatever you choose, remember that cauliflower is a versatile food with many health benefits, and can be enjoyed all year long – from the produce department or at your local farmer’s market.
Creamy Roasted Red Pepper & Cauliflower Soup
One of my favorite ways to enjoy cauliflower is pureed in soups. I know, it’s summer. But the cooler temps aren’t that far off (sorry, but it’s true!). If the above options aren’t grabbing you, consider trying the following recipe for Creamy Roasted Red Pepper & Cauliflower Soup.
The facts speak for themselves, this soup is satisfying with healthy fats, protein and fiber, but overall the calories are low to keep you from overindulging!
Camille is a Dietetic intern working with dailyServing, LLC and Katie Goldberg, RD as part of her supervised practice hours. She is also earning her MBA from Dominican University’s Brennan School of Business and one day hopes to change consumer nutrition choices through affective and informative marketing and education. Camille is an alumna of Ohio University in Athens, Ohio and is passionate about cooking, running, traveling, and supporting animal welfare.