Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable, from the species Brassica oleracea, in the family Brassicaceae. It is a mass of tiny, tightly packed flower heads (called curds), which grow from a thick central stem to form a single, round head. Surrounding the curd are ribbed, coarse green leaves that protect it from sunlight, impeding the development of chlorophyll.
Cauliflower derives its name from Latin caulis (cabbage). Brassica oleracea also includes broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, and kale, though they are of different cultivar groups. Due to the lack of chlorophyll, most cauliflowers are white, but it’s also possible to find green and purple varieties, as well as the sweeter Romanesco cauliflower, with its distinctive pointed florets.
Raw cauliflower is firm yet a bit spongy and waxy in texture and has a slightly sulfurous and faintly bitter flavor.
Wild cabbages have been traced back in time in ancient Asia and post transformations (evolution) reappeared in the Mediterranean region around 600 B.C. Turkey and Italy are known to be the first cultivators before it reached France in the mid-16th century. After that it gained in popularity and spread to North America with colonization through the English settlers, who referred to it as “coleflower”.
14 SECRETS OF CAULIFLOWER REVEALED:
- Brain Health: Cauliflower is a good source of Vitamin B- choline, that boosts brain cell development and prevents age-related memory decline and protects against toxins.
- Arthritis: Cauliflower contains vital boron that stimulates the absorption of calcium and magnesium necessary for bone development and prevention of osteoporosis and arthritis.
- Cancer Prevention: Cauliflower contains carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, and phytonutrients like kaempferol, ferulic acid, cinnamic acid and caffeic acid. These anti-oxidants help neutralize toxins and free radicals in your body, reducing the risk of lung, breast, bladder, colon, prostate, and ovarian cancer.
- Cardiovascular Support: Vitamin C, K and some traces of omega-3 in cauliflower, along with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties helps prevent arterial plaques (atherosclerosis), reverse blood vessel damage, maintain the patency of the blood vessels and improve blood circulation. It also contains allicin, which has been found to reduce the occurrence of stroke and heart disease.
- Colon Health: Dietary fiber in Cauliflower is important for normal bowel movements and protects the colon from cancer-causing damage. Additionally, glucoraphin protects your stomach lining against bacterium helicobacter pylori, thereby reducing your risk for stomach ulcers and cancer.
- Digestive system: The amino acid glutamine in cauliflower juice is very gentle and calming on the digestive system, detoxifying, repairing ulcers, healing and regenerating the digestive system.
- Protects Against Flu: The high content of vitamin C in cauliflower prevents outbreaks of common infections like cold, flu and fever.
- Diabetes mellitus: Cauliflower has a low glycemic index and its anti inflammatory properties coupled with dietary fiber help keep blood sugar levels in check in patients suffering from diabetics.
- Pregnancy support: Cauliflower is high in folate -vitamin B9, which helps in fetal development and prevents risk of neurological defects, such as spina bifida, in the fetus. Cauliflower is also a good source of vitamin C which again is beneficial during pregnancy.
- Weight loss: Cauliflower is low in calories, at the same time filling, which reduces cravings. Folates and Vitamin C trigger metabolism and fat burning making it a great addition to any weight loss diet.
- Detoxification: Cauliflower contains glucosinolates and thiocyanates (including sulforaphane and isothiocyanate), which triggers enzymes in the liver that neutralise potentially toxic substances.
- Anti-Inflammatory: Antioxidants,Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin K in cauliflower, help to prevent chronic inflammation that leads to conditions such as arthritis, chronic pain, and certain bowel conditions. Also Isothiocyanate molecule called ITC, or indole-3-carbinol (I3C) is an anti-inflammatory compound operating at the genetic level, suppressing inflammation at the root.
- Stronger Bones: Cauliflower contains Vitamin K, phosphorus and calcium which not only help in transmission of nerve impulses but strengthens your bones and teeth. Magnesium helps the parathyroid gland to produce hormones needed for the bone to function normally.
- Nutrient Store: Cauliflower is a great source of vitamin C, K, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine) and B9 (folic acid), folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, and manganese. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin K.
Side Effects and Precautions:
- Kidney Stones and Gout: Since purines (naturally occurring substances in plants and animals) can be broken down to form uric acid, excess accumulation of purines in the body can lead to excess accumulation of uric acid leading to gout and formation of kidney stones.
- Allergic Response: Cauliflower may prompt (very rare) an allergic response characterized by symptoms such as severe itching, facial and hand swelling and breathing difficulties.
- Gas and Bloating: Sulphur-rich cruciferous vegetables like Cauliflower contains non-digestible carbohydrates that cause gas and bloating in the digestive system.
- Iodine Absorption and Goiter: Cruciferous vegetables contain cyanogenic glucosides, sugar-like molecules that block iodine absorption when you digest them. When you have low iodine levels, the thyroid enlarges so it can trap more iodine, a condition known as a goiter. Hypothyroidism, characterized by decreased metabolism, cold sensitivity, dry hair and skin, difficulty thinking and weight gain may occur if you eat a diet consisting almost entirely of cruciferous vegetables.
- Vitamin K: Cauliflower contains large amounts of vitamin K that helps your blood clot and can interfere with blood thinning medication like Coumadin and decrease its effectiveness.