Health Benefits

Examining the Health Benefits of Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a vegetable which is in the same family as broccoli, collard green’s and cabbage. While its edible portion may appear much like broccoli, the primary difference is that cauliflower does not contain any flowers. Although the whole plant can be consumed, it is most common to eat the white buds. These is known as the “curd”. This plant has been eaten since at least the sixth century BCE; largely due to its ease of cultivation. In modern times, cauliflower is enjoyed by millions around the world. It can be prepared in various ways while some still enjoy consuming the plant raw. There are also numerous health benefits of cauliflower that are worth examining in some detail.

Cancer Prevention
Much like its relative broccoli, it has been known for some time that cauliflower may help to protect the body against some forms of cancer. This is primarily caused by the presence of a compound known as sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is a chemical which contains sulfur and is known to halt the reproduction of cancerous stem cells. It is now thought that inhibiting the growth of these cells is one of the most effective ways to control the spread of cancer. Prostate cancer is one such condition that may be susceptible to this compound. Other studies have shown that the growth of tumors can be halted; specifically within breast tissue. Other chemicals contained in this plant including indoles and isothiocyanates are known to combat active forms of cancer. Therefore, cauliflower is an excellent vegetable to consume for anyone who has a history of this disease (even benign growths) in their family.
Heart Health
A side effect of the previously mentioned chemical sulforaphane is that it can moderate elevated blood pressure levels while improving kidney function. Although the processes are not completely understood, some researchers believe that cauliflower helps to protect the genetic material (DNA) within cells when it undergoes replication. It therefore, stands to reason that cells which multiply regularly can take advantage of this action. Many cardiac arteries contain cells that are quite delicate and regularly reproduce. Cauliflower may help to keep this lining elastic and free from hardening; one of the primary causes for cardiovascular disease in adults.Fighting Against InflammationAnother commonality between cauliflower and broccoli is that they both have the ability to fight inflammatory responses. While these are normal and healthy within the body, such actions can become problematic if they occur at normal intervals. They can even damage the joints and organs. Cauliflower has the unique function of being able to regulate this response. Some of the chemicals that are responsible include indole-3-carbinole (I3C). What is perhaps even more beneficial is that this compound is thought to operate at a genetic as opposed to a physical level. Therefore, the ultimate advantages can be much more profound.

Vitamin and Mineral Content

Massive amounts of vitamins and minerals are found in most vegetables and the same holds true for cauliflower. Surprisingly, the levels of vitamin C are extremely high; more than 77 percent of the daily intake can be found within this unique plant. However, the benefits do not end here. Some of the other substances which are encountered in abundance include:

  • Vitamin K
  • Protein
  • Thiamine
  • Riboflavin
  • Magnesium

Other minerals found in trace amounts are phosphorous, niacin, pantothenic acid, manganese and zinc. B-complex vitamins are specifically prevalent in the curd of this plant. These can help to provide large amounts of energy throughout the day.

Brain Health

Cauliflower is known as a “brain food”. This has much to do with significant amounts of a substance known as choline (within the B-complex profile). Choline boosts brain functions, increases alertness and even helps to positively influence short-term memory. There is also mounting evidence to support that choline could play an active role in the prevention of age-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Whole-Body Detoxification

One of the other health benefits of cauliflower is its ability to act as a natural detoxifying agent. This is highly related to the sulfur compounds found within and the antioxidants present. As toxins are some of the main causes for a host of preventable ailments and conditions, this action can help to protect the body against a prolonged buildup of such foreign substances. Of course, such toxins are accepted to play a significant role in the formation of cancerous cells.

Effects Upon the Digestive System

Cauliflower is accepted as being one of the many vegetables which promote a healthy digestive tract. This is once again caused by the compound sulforaphane that was mentioned earlier. It is thought that the sulfur within helps to protect the lining of the stomach. Also, a bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori can adversely affect the ability of the intestines to digest food. Sulforaphane helps to inhibit the growth of this bacteria. Therefore, an excellent side effect is that the body will be able to absorb more nutrients.


Finally, cauliflower is packed full of chemicals that are known as phytonutrients. These include kaempferol, rutin, cinnamic acid and quercetin. They all boast robust antioxidant properties and are involved in numerous processes that help to protect cells against, aging and other forms of damage. By blocking free radicals, the body will stay younger for longer.

It should now be clear to see that Cauliflower offers countless health benefits to individuals of all ages. While this vegetable may appear rather bland and have little outright taste, it cannot be denied that the substances present can drastically improve one’s lifestyle. Much like broccoli, it is best to steam cauliflower or consume it raw. This will enable the maximum amount of nutrients to be absorbed into the system.

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