Okay, okay. I know we really don't need another reason to swap cauliflower for our pizza crust, but since we are... might as well know why it's good for us? I'd say that's a pretty decent millennial mentality right there.
Cauliflower is much more than your rice alternative, it's actually a nutrition powerhouse. In fact, cauliflower ranks in the top 25 most nutrient dense foods in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI), a method used to rank foods based on their nutrient content per calorie. Although colorful fruits and vegetables tend to be the most nutrient dense, cauliflower is an exception. It's loaded with vitamin C and folate, and is a great source of fiber and and vitamin K, among other nutrients. But why do we need all these things? Here is a list of all the body-loving, disease-fighting nutrients found in cauliflower:
A single serving (1 cup) of uncooked cauliflower contains 77% of the Food and Drug Administration's recommended daily vitamin C intake, which is necessary for the growth, development and repair of all body tissues. It's honestly more effective (and better for you) to eat a head of cauliflower than to take an Emergen-C. Just some food for thought for when flu season rolls around.
Vitamin C, K and manganese are powerful antioxidants found in cauliflower that help to fight free radicals before they are able to damage healthy cells. These antioxidants are notable for helping to prevent conditions like cancer, heart disease and arthritis.
Sulforaphane, a popular cancer-fighting plant-based compound, is also associated with building strong blood vessels and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. A 2015 study published by Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity found that sulforaphane's anti-inflammatory properties might have the potential to fight hypertension, atherosclerosis, stroke and myocardial infraction.
Due to cauliflower's low caloric content (25 calories per cup) and high fiber, it makes a great weight loss grocery staple. High fiber, low calorie foods help to make us feel full with out over consuming calories. Unlike other nutrients, fiber is not digested or absorbed by the body. Instead, it passes through the stomach, small intestine, colon and out of the body. As Mayo Clinic states, soluble fiber (dissolves in water) helps to lower blood sugar levels and cholesterol, while insoluble fiber (doesn't dissolve) helps to push materials through the digestive tract and is therefore used to help with IBS or constipation.
Folate is a B vitamin that our bodies need to make DNA and to help cells divide. The National Institute of Health warns that folate deficiency can lead to megaloblastic anemia, which causes fatigue, weakness, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and headaches; and it can also cause open sores on the tongue or inside the mouth and change the color of your skin, hair and nails. One serving of uncooked cauliflower contains 14% of the recommended daily folate intake. Get munchin' !!
Ok, so I also have to bring up the effects of cooking on nutrients. It's a very underrated topic but it effects us literally every time we cook food. It was kind of a bigger thing when microwaves came out— I remember hearing that microwaving food kills the nutrients, and honestly I low key believed it until I found this study, which shows that microwaving cauliflower actually retained more moisture, was the most effective at preserving the protein content, had absolutely no effect on the fiber or carbohydrate content, and was one of the safest ways to retain the vitamin C compared to conventional methods of cooking. That being said, other methods proved worthy as well. Stir-frying cauliflower was actually more effective at retaining vitamin C than microwaving and actually reduced the carbohydrate content, but increased the fat content by 7.52%. Overall, the study showed that steam-blanched, steam-boiled, stir-fried and microwaved cauliflower had the least significant impact on nutrient loss, while water-boiling and water-blanched methods had the most impact (water-boiling reduced almost half of the vitamin C content).
Lower heat methods prove to be the most beneficial way to cook food, since high heat can change the solubility and physiochemical properties of nutrients. So remember, slow and steady wins the race! I need to invest in a slow cooker. It's probably time I invest in a slow cooker... 😬
p.s. If you're looking for a fun cauliflower recipe and you also happen to love buffalo wings, scope out my Baked Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower over hither. It's PALEO & GLUTEN FREE! Wins all around.