[veggie photo]

Cauliflower

The cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous family. It developed (or evolved) from the early strains of cabbage along with Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale and kohlrabi. Cauliflower is most nutritious raw and has a mild flavour when fresh. It can be used on a vegetable dip tray, in salads or used as an ingredient in stews, soups or baked dishes. When selecting cauliflower, look for a head with snowy white compact florets. To retain flavour and reduce nutrient loss, cook cauliflower rapidly by boiling quickly in a minimum of water.

Key Ingredients of Cauliflower

Per Serving: 250ml, raw cauliflower pieces, 106g
Per Serving: 1 cup raw cauliflower pieces, 100g

Why Eat Cauliflower?

Cauliflower, like all fruits and vegetables is low in calories, contain no cholesterol and almost no fat. It is an excellent source of vitamin C and folate, and a good source of vitamin K. Cauliflower is also a source of vitamin B6, potassium, manganese and magnesium. Scientists at the World Cancer Research Fund reviewed 206 human studies and found convincing evidence that diets high in cruciferous vegetables lower risks of many forms of cancer. Cauliflower has strong antioxidant capabilities because of indole-3-carbinol and glucosinolates.

Antioxidants

Cauliflower is rich in antioxidant nutrients, which play an important role in health maintenance. They neutralize harmful chemicals called "free-radicals" that cause cell damage in the body. Antioxidants have been strongly linked to the protection from numerous diseases, heart disease to cancer, eye disease to regulation of the immune system.

Vitamin C

Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C, which is necessary to make and maintain collagen, the connective tissue that holds the body and organs in place. Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds, keeps gums healthy, resist infection, aids in the absorption of iron and many other vital functions. It is associated with lowering the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.

In addition, other compounds with antioxidant potential include Bioflavonoids- Glucosinates, phytochemicals in cauliflower. This may help to explain the widely recognized scientific evidence indicating that populations consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and especially cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, have a reduced risk of developing several types of cancers.

Folate

Cauliflower is an excellent source of folate. Folate is a water-soluble B group vitamin which the body must replenish daily. Folate plays a crucial role in every body function that requires cell division. This helps explain the importance in fetal development. Prior and during pregnancy, folate helps prevent neurological defects, such as spina bifida, in the fetus. All women of childbearing age need to have a regular source of folate.

The many tasks of folate include making blood cells, building muscles, healing wound and producing chemicals that keep the brain and nervous system functioning properly. Folate is essential for a healthy cardiovascular system. High folate content may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Dietary Fibre

Cauliflower contains some dietary fibre. Considerable evidence has shown the advantages of a diet of high fibre. Dietary fibre consists of remnants of edible plant cells that resist digestion and absorption in the stomach and small intestines of humans.

There are two different types of fibre. Both types are needed in a healthy diet. Insoluble fibre is “bowel friendly” because it helps maintain regularity. Insoluble fibre is found in fruits and vegetables like cabbage, especially the skins. Soluble fibre is “heart friendly”. It may help lower blood cholesterol and reduce the risks associated with diabetes by helping control blood sugar levels. All foods that contain fibre contain some of each type. Recent research has shown that dietary fibre contained in fruits and vegetables is also important for keeping the bowel working normally and helps protect bowel cells from cancer-causing damage.

Potassium

Cauliflower is a source of potassium, an essential mineral that helps to regulate the body's balance of fluid. It is essential for many metabolic processes and is instrumental in the transmission of nerve impulses, proper muscle function, and maintaining normal blood pressure.

Vitamin K

Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin K , which ends up in the liver and forms the ingredients for blood clotting. Blood coagulation is not the only important function of Vitamin K, it is also necessary for the formation of new bone material and healthy bone structure.

Tip for cooking cauliflower!

Over-cooked cauliflower releases sulfurous compounds, resulting in an unpleasant odour and a bitter taste. But don't blame the cabbage - blame the cook. The reaction is even stronger in aluminum pans and will discolour the white cauliflower. Cook just until tender and use stainless steel pots and pans. Leaving the lid off will disperse the odour.