Cauliflower power

It is often said that fruits and vegetables that are rich in color are the most nutritious. While this may be true in some instances, having this thought may cause us to stay away from certain fruits or vegetables that are filled with nutrients due to their lack of color. Take cauliflower for instance. While it may be lacking a rich color, it is not lacking a rich nutritional backbone! Cauliflower is a nutritional powerhouse that is packed full of various nutrients and has many health benefits. Here are a few of the reasons cauliflower is so great for us.

1. Fiber

Cauliflower provides approximately 3 grams of fiber per 1 cup serving. With women needing 25 grams of fiber per day and men needing 38 grams, 1 cup of cauliflower provides roughly 8-12 percent of our daily fiber needs. Including adequate fiber in our meals helps with satiety, or the feeling of fullness, and is important for our digestive health.

2. Antioxidants

Like many other cruciferous vegetables, cauliflower is a great source of antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect our cells from free radical damage and help prevent chronic diseases. Antioxidants are important for a healthy immune system as well. Cauliflower contains vitamin C, an antioxidant that is known for its immune-boosting effects, which is especially important during cold and flu season.

3. Choline

Choline is an essential nutrient our bodies need. While our liver is able to make some choline, it is not able to make enough to meet our needs. For this reason, we need to eat foods rich in choline. Cauliflower is a great source of choline providing approximately 48mg. The human body needs choline for many reasons including cell integrity and early brain development. Choline is also needed to produce acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that is used for various brain and nervous system functions including muscle control, mood and memory.

4. Glucosinolates

Cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates, which are sulfur-containing compounds. During the breakdown of glucosinolates, compounds are created that have been linked to slowing cancer cell growth. There have been studies that link high consumption of cruciferous vegetables, including cauliflower, to a decrease in colorectal, lung, breast and prostate cancer. More research is needed, however.

Cauliflower has many other health benefits in addition to the list above and deserves to be recognized for its great nutrition!

Wondering how to add this delicious vegetable to your meal plan? With cauliflowers versatility, there is sure to be a way to please most anyone! Here are a few ways cauliflower can be used in addition to steaming, roasting, or enjoying it raw.

• Cauliflower Rice

• Cauliflower Pizza Crust

• Mashed Cauliflower

• Cauliflower Tots

• Cauliflower Steaks

• Cauliflower Au Gratin

Rachelle Deutz is a registered dietitian at Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center.