Cauliflower and broccoli -- along with other veggies, including Brussels sprouts and cabbage -- make up the family of cruciferous vegetables. As of November 2013, the USDA has not set intake recommendations for cruciferous vegetables, but the Linus Pauling Institute recommends consuming at least 5 cups of these veggies every week. Both broccoli and cauliflower offer nutritional value, and share some nutritional advantages, but broccoli offers superior vitamin content.
Cauliflower and broccoli are both low in calories -- they offer 27 and 31 calories per cup, respectively. Both foods contain beneficial folate, a nutrient your body needs to form red blood cells, as well as manganese, a mineral that contributes to strong bones and supports sex hormone production. A serving of broccoli or cauliflower provides roughly 10 percent of your daily value for manganese and 15 percent for folate. They contain glycosinolates, a family of nutrients that reduce cancer risk. Eating broccoli or cauliflower also boosts your intake of fiber and protein, two nutrients that help you feel satisfied after your meal.
Vitamin C Content
Both broccoli and cauliflower provide a generous amount of vitamin C, but broccoli offers more vitamin C per serving. Vitamin C helps you process fat, so that you can convert it into fuel, and might play a role in cholesterol metabolism. It also helps you make norepinephrine -- a chemical that affects your mood -- as well as collagen, a protein that strengthens connective tissue. Broccoli offers 81.2 milligrams of vitamin C per serving, compared to 51.6 milligrams for cauliflower. Each cup of broccoli contributes 90 percent toward the recommended daily intake for men, and contains more than 100 percent of the daily recommended vitamin C intake for women.
Vitamin K Content
Broccoli offers a significant nutritional advantage over cauliflower when it comes to vitamin K content. Each serving offers 92.4 micrograms of vitamin K, which is the entire daily recommended intake for women and 74 percent of the recommended daily intake for men. A serving of cauliflower, in contrast, contains just 16.6 micrograms of vitamin K. You can use vitamin K to support the health of your cartilage and bone, as well as to form blood clots. Failing to get enough vitamin K in your diet negatively affects your blood clotting ability, which leads to nosebleeds, bruising and bleeding gums.
Vitamin A Content
Choose broccoli over cauliflower to increase your vitamin A consumption. Vitamin A supports immune function by keeping your skin strong, so that it can prevent pathogens from entering your body, as well as by supporting white blood cell function. It also plays a key role in eye function, while failing to get enough vitamin A leads to night blindness. A cup of broccoli provides you with 567 international units of vitamin A, which is 24 percent of the daily recommended vitamin A intake for women and 19 percent for men. Cauliflower, on the other hand, contains no vitamin A.
- Linus Pauling Institute: Cruciferous Vegetables
- HealthAliciousNess: Nutrition Facts Comparison Tool
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Manganese
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B-9 (Folic Acid)
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin C
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin K
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin A