Cauliflower: The Secret Superfood
In the world of nutrition, there’s a rule of thumb for judging fruits and veggies: the darker the colour, the more nutritious it is. Dark leafy greens and jewel-toned berries get high marks… iceberg lettuce, not so much. So what does that mean for cauliflower? No colour, low nutrients, right? Wrong. This pale-fleshed cruciferous veggie is actually a low-key dietary superhero packed with vitamins, minerals and all kinds of other good stuff.
For starters, cauliflower is low in calories but high in fibre – with 10% of your recommended daily dose in just one cup. Getting enough fibre is crucial for promoting digestive health, maintaining a healthy weight and so much more. This is part of what makes cauliflower such a powerful ingredient. With its mild taste and versatile texture, this sneaky veg can stand in for starchier, less nutritious ingredients like white rice and pasta.
Cauliflower is also an excellent source of potassium, an essential dietary mineral that helps keep everything in your body up and running, from regular heart beats to proper bodily hydration. We should all be aiming to take in around 4700 mg of potassium per day – and one cup of cauliflower gives you 320 mg of that dose. That’s almost as much potassium as a medium banana – but only a quarter of the calories!
Pretty impressive, right? And we haven’t even gotten to the best part: antioxidants. Take vitamin C, an antioxidant that’s great for everything from brain and skin health to anti-inflammation and (last but not least) immune boosting. This sunny vitamin is usually associated with citrus fruit, but cauliflower is actually packed with it! Just one cup of raw cauliflower comes with 52 mg of vitamin C, almost as much as a medium orange. For context, your recommended daily dose is 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women. So if you eat two cups of cauliflower in a day, you’re all set. Not too shabby for an unassuming white veggie.
And vitamin C isn’t the only antioxidant you’ll find in cauliflower – it’s also a great source of glucosinolates and isothiocyanates. Never heard of them? We don’t blame you. But trust us… you definitely want these guys in your diet, as they help kick-start your body’s detoxification process – plus, according to several studies, they may help prevent several types of cancers.
Finally, cauliflower is an amazing source of choline, another essential nutrient you’ve probably never heard of. Most people aren’t getting enough choline in their diet, as it isn’t found naturally in many foods. And that is extremely concerning. Choline has so many key functions, from synthesizing DNA and maintaining healthy cells to keeping your nervous system healthy and happy to helping prevent heart disease, dementia and Alzheimer’s. With 11% of your daily choline intake in one cup, cauliflower is one of the best plant-based sources of this super important nutrient. Meaning that bowl of Butter Cauliflower Curry is helping your body out in ways you probably don’t even know about.
We could go on and on. This powerhouse of a veggie is also bringing 20% of your daily vitamin K, 11% of your vitamin B6, 14% of your recommended folate and much, much more. So…want to get more cauliflower in your diet? We don’t blame you. Here are some ways to increase your intake at home:
- Cauliflower rice. It sounds weird, but this ingredient swap-out is one of the easiest – and tastiest – ways to get more veggies in your diet. Just pulse raw cauliflower in the food processor until it resembles rice, then season it like you would any other grain. Presto change-o!
- Cauliflower hummus. Add some steamed cauliflower to your favourite hummus recipe. You’ll get all the protein and fibre of chickpeas – plus the million and one nutritional benefits of cauliflower, all in one tasty snack.
- Veggies and dip. Next time you’re prepping a plate of veggies and dip, don’t just stop at carrots and peppers (though we love them too!). Add some raw cauliflower to the mix – it goes amazingly well with every dip under the sun!
- Mashed cauliflower. Making mashed potatoes? Try going half and half with some steamed or roasted cauliflower. Not only does it add a ton of vitamins and minerals, it also tastes awesome.
- Cauliflower mac and cheese. Craving some comfort food? Try baking steamed cauliflower in your favourite cheese sauce. It has all the nostalgic flavor of a classic mac and cheese, but brings so much more nutrition to your plate.
What’s your favourite way to eat this secretly amazing vegetable? We want to hear about it! Drop up a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.