Senior Health

6/7/2024 | By Tonya Russell

The goodness of cauliflower goes beyond its ability to become almost anything you can imagine in the kitchen — a crust, a “wing,” a rice, a mash, and the list goes on. Its mild flavor, satisfying texture, and chameleon-like versatility makes healthy cauliflower a hearty and nutritious add-in and an inventive and savvy swap for gluten-free, plant-based, and refined-carb-conscious eaters.

“Cauliflower is grown seasonally in many climates and locations, so it’s easy to find and budget-friendly — and you can also grow it yourself quite easily,” says Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN. “It comes in different colors, like pink, orange, purple and green.”

And in terms of nutritional value, although bright and colorful veggies typically get all the attention, don’t let cauliflower’s (often) pale complexion fool you: This member of the cruciferous family is loaded with nutritional benefits too.

Reasons to love healthy cauliflower

1. Cauliflower is fiber-rich.

Recent research estimates that 95% of Americans don’t get enough fiber in their diets (yikes!). Fiber helps keep you feeling full and satisfied, maintains healthy digestion, and regulates blood sugar levels, and meeting your daily requirements can also reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. Specifically, cauliflower is a good source of insoluble fiber, which helps keep things moving in your digestive system.

2. Cauliflower contains vitamins for immunity, blood clotting, bone health, and more.

One cup of cauliflower provides over 75% of the daily value of vitamin C, which means your immune system, metabolism, and nervous system get the boost they need. It also contains 20 percent of the daily value of vitamin K that’s essential for bone formation and blood clotting. A cup of cauliflower also has impressive amounts of vitamin B6, folate, and potassium.

3. Cauliflower has antioxidant power to fight inflammation.

A fresh head of healthy cauliflower tempting you to crave more cauliflower.

The veggie’s anti-inflammatory compounds help the body reduce free radicals and lower oxidative stress that increase the risk for chronic diseases like heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer, Palmer says. Eating foods high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents as part of a healthy diet, like cauliflower, can help prevent and mitigate chronic inflammation and protect your cells.

4. Cauliflower is a source of choline.

A cup of cauliflower contains around 45 milligrams of choline, around 10% of the daily adequate intake for women. Our bodies need this essential nutrient for several key functions, including fortifying cell membranes, DNA synthesis, brain development, and nervous system maintenance. But since the body only makes a small amount of choline on its own, high-choline food sources are important.

5. Cauliflower may protect against cancer.

With antioxidant compounds and the benefits of sulfur, cauliflower could help reduce your risk of cancer. Cruciferous vegetables are associated with reduced risk of colorectal, lung, prostate, and breast cancer. This is because the glucosinolates help to fight oxidative stress caused by free radicals.

Cauliflower ideas

Some of Palmer’s favorite ways to cook and enjoy cauliflower include: “roasted or grilled with a flavorful marinade as a side-dish or a topper for a grain bowl, tacos or salad; in a flavorful buffalo cauliflower recipe; and raw in crunchy salads.”

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Now make a delicious recipe using cauliflower yourself on Seniors Guide:

Delicious Loaded Cauliflower Tots Recipe

Tonya Russell

Tonya Russell is a health, wellness, and travel writer who has been featured in top publications, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, and more. She uses lived experiences as a Black woman to fuel her passion for writing about Black health.