Mash it, rice it, roast it…there are so many ways you can prepare this versatile veggie! Let’s get to know the healthful benefits of cauliflower with nutrition Expert Lindsey Janeiro.
Cauliflower has been getting a lot of love as a superfood recently. And rightly so!
It has a bunch of health benefits, and is a very versatile veggie. The great thing about this surge in popularity for cauliflower is that it’s a relatively frugal food! You can get a head of cauliflower for around two bucks, and you can also find frozen cauliflower florets to reap equal benefits there, too.
What are a few health reasons that we want to include cauliflower in our diets?
Cauliflower contains antioxidants that combat cell damage inflicted by free radicals by reducing their oxidative stress. There’s a compound specifically found in cruciferous vegetables, indole-3-carbinol, that has actually been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers, such as breast and reproductive cancers in both men and women. Additionally, cauliflower is in the family of cruciferous vegetables that contain a sulfur-containing compound called sulforaphane, which gives them its bitter bite and may provide potent cancer-fighting power.
Because cauliflower is high in both fiber and water content, it naturally aids digestion. It helps prevent constipation, helps maintain a healthy digestive tract, and can lead to a decreased risk of colon cancer.
So how do we go about to select and store it properly?
Select cauliflower heads that are firm, a creamy white, and with buds tight together. If the cauliflower is spotted or dull, or if small flowers have appeared, that cauliflower may not be the freshest and shouldn’t come home with you. Heads that are surrounded by many fresh, green leaves are fresher and better protected from the leaves. The size of the cauliflower has no impact on the quality of the cauliflower. Store cauliflower stem-side down in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week. Cauliflower can also be frozen, and one study suggests that frozen cauliflower retain nutritional benefits after one year of freezing.
What are some fun ways to eat it?
Cauliflower is very versatile: it can be steamed, roasted, grilled, broiled, sauteed or fried. You can grate (or rice) the cauliflower to make a “cauliflower rice” or use in a “pizza crust”. Many also love pureeing cauliflower as a lighter mashed potato substitute. You can also mash potatoes together with pureed cauliflower to sneak a little extra veggie variety in.
You can even use it in smoothies! It’s super delicious, you can’t taste it, and unlike veggies like spinach or carrots, it doesn’t impact the color of the smoothie, making it a safe bet for suspicious kiddos.
Lindsey Janeiro RDN, CLC is a Registered Dietitian and Lactation Counselor based in Sarasota, FL focused on helping busy moms live stress-free in the kitchen. She inspires moms with the confidence and encouragement they need to create simple, affordable family meals that nourishes everyone’s health and happiness. Learn more about Lindsey at Nutrition to Fit.