|Cauliflower Benefits, Nutrition Values and recipe
What are the potential health benefits of cauliflower?
Plant sterols are known to have serum cholesterol lowering effects. A high dietary intake might therefore have
a positive impact on health. All food items of vegetable origin contain some amount of plant sterols. Normén L
and co-workers from Göteborg University, Sweden, found the highest concentrations were found in broccoli,
Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and olives among 14 common vegetables in market. 
Epidemiologic studies suggest that cruciferous vegetable (such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and
cabbage) intake may lower overall cancer risk, including colon and prostate cancer. Sulforaphane, an
isothiocyanate found in cruciferous vegetables, has proved to be an effective chemoprotective agent in cell
culture, carcinogen-induced and genetic animal cancer models, as well as in xenograft models of cancer.
Recent studies suggest that sulforaphane offers protection against tumor development during the
"post-initiation" phase and mechanisms for suppression effects of sulforaphane, including cell cycle arrest
and apoptosis induction are of particular interest. Cauliflower is a vegetable belonging to the family
Cruciferae, genus Brassica, var. Botrytis.
Cauliflower, as its name implies, is a flower growing from a plant. In its early stages, it resembles broccoli,
which is its closest relative. While broccoli opens outward to sprout bunches of green florets, cauliflower forms
a compact head of undeveloped white flower buds. The heavy green leaves that surround the head protect
the flower buds from the sunlight. The lack of exposure to sunlight does not allow chlorophyll to develop.
Therefore, color is not produced, and the head remains a white color.
What are the benefits of cauliflower? Cauliflower contains a high amount of vitamin C, folate, fiber, and
complex carbohydrates. It is also a cruciferous vegetable being studied for its role in reducing cancer risk.
What the nutritional values of cauliflower?
The serving size of cauliflower is 1/2 cup or 50 g. For raw cauliflower, it contains 15 calories, 0 calories from
fat, 0 g total fat, 0 g of saturated fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 15 mg of sodium, 3 g of total carbohydrate, 1 g of
dietary fiber, 1 g of sugars, 1 g of protein, 40% daily value of vitamin C, 2% daily value of calcium and 2% of
iron. For cooked cauliflower, it has 15 calories, 5 calories from fat, 0 g total fat, 0 g from saturated fat, 0 mg of
cholesterol, 10 mg of sodium, 3 g of total carbohydrate, 2 g of dietary fiber, 1 g of sugars, 1 g of protein, 45%
daily value of vitamin C and 2% daily value of iron. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Cauliflower extracts showed significant free radical scavenging activities, ferric reducing ability and capacity to
inhibit lipid peroxidation. In addition, the antioxidant activity was linearly correlated with their phenolics
content. Llorach R et al, Valorization of cauliflower (Brassica oleracea L. var. botrytis) by-products as a
source of antioxidant phenolics. J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Apr 9; 51(8):2181-7.
Cauliflower is generally available year round, but it is usually more plentiful in autumn. When selecting
cauliflower, look for heads that are white or creamy white, firm, compact, and heavy for their size. There
should not be any speckling of discoloration on the head or leaves. Avoid cauliflower with brown patches. A
medium-size head, that is 6 inches in diameter and weighs about 2 pounds, will serve 4 to 6 people.
Cauliflower will keep for up to five days if stored in the crisper section of the refrigerator. If the head is not
purchased wrapped, store it in an open or perforated plastic bag. Keep the head stem-side up to prevent
moisture form collecting on it. For the best flavor, cauliflower should be eaten as soon as possible. Precut
florets do not keep well, and they are best when eaten within a day of purchase.
There are two types of cauliflower on the market today. The creamy white florets are more abundant in the
United States but some markets sell a recently developed cauliflower-broccoli hybrid. This type of cauliflower
has a green curd and resembles broccoli. The green variety is less dense than the white, cooks more quickly,
and has a milder taste.
WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF CAULIFLOWER?
Cauliflower may cause anaphylaxia. Researchers reported a case of a 70 year old man who suffered from an
acute episode of oropharyngeal itching, facial and hand swelling, dyspnea and severe bronchospasm within a
few minutes after eating vegetable paella containing cauliflower, green beans, red and green pepper.
Hernandez E et al Anaphylaxia caused by cauliflower, J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 2005; 15(2):158-9.
Cauliflower can be served cooked or raw. Peel off stem leaves. Turn cauliflower upside down. Cut the stem
just above where the florets join together. Separate the florets into equal sized pieces. Cut if necessary.
When cooking cauliflower, you may leave the head whole. Rapid cooking time not only reduces the odorous
sulfur compounds but also preserves crispness, color, and reduces the loss of nutrients that will leach into the
cooking water when vegetables are overcooked. Steaming and microwaving cauliflower will better preserve its
vitamin content, especially the B vitamins, than if it is boiled. To microwave cauliflower, put 2 cups of florets in
a shallow microwavable dish, or cover a whole head of cauliflower with plastic wrap. For florets, cook for 3
minutes on high, then let stand for 2 minutes. For whole cauliflower, cook on high for 3 minutes, turn head
over, and cook for an additional 2 to 4 minutes. Let stand for 3 minutes. To steam cauliflower, place it in a
steamer basket, and then place in a pot with 2 inches of water. Cover and steam. Florets will take 3 to 5
minutes to cook. A whole head of cauliflower (1 Â½ pounds) will take 15 to 20 minutes to cook, but begin
checking for tenderness after 12 minutes.
Cauliflower may turn yellow in alkaline water. For whiter cauliflower, add a tablespoon of milk or lemon juice to
the water. Do not cook cauliflower in an aluminum or iron pot. The chemical compounds in cauliflower will
react with the aluminum and turn the vegetable yellow. While in an iron pot, it will turn a brown or blue-green
Make Cauliflower Part of Your 5 A Day Plan
Raw florets make a crunchy, nutritious appetizer with low-fat dressing or dip.
Add fresh or leftover cauliflower to soups or stews.
Use chopped florets in place of meatballs as an addition to your favorite pasta sauce for a delightful
vegetarian pasta dish.
Cauliflower can also add a zest to your favorite tossed salad.
Cauliflower can be substituted for broccoli in many dishes.
Stir cooked cauliflower into mashed potatoes to enhance their texture (see Twice-Baked Potatoes recipe
SOURCE CDC ONline Publication November 2006. Normén L, Johnsson M, Andersson H, van Gameren Y,
Dutta P. Plant sterols in vegetables and fruits commonly consumed in Sweden. Eur J Nutr. 1999
Apr;38(2):84-9.  Clarke JD, Dashwood RH, Ho E. Multi-targeted prevention of cancer by
sulforaphane.Cancer Lett. 2008 May 24. SOURCE CDC.gov
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