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Is Cauliflower Good for You?

by
author image Margaret Wertheim
Margaret Wertheim is a Chicago-based registered dietitian and nutritionist with a master's degree in nutrition from Bastyr University and a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She serves as an editor of Nutrition in Chicago, the newsletter of the Chicago Dietetic Association, and maintains her own food and nutrition blog.
Is Cauliflower Good for You?
A couple begin eating their meal with cauliflower . Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Cauliflower’s significant nutrient content, combined with its low calorie content, makes it a food that is good for you. Cauliflower is not only a rich source of the potent antioxidant vitamin C and the neural-tube defect preventative folate, but higher intake of cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower, may decrease your risk for cancer. Roast cauliflower with olive oil and fresh herbs and serve as a side dish. Add cauliflower to soup or stir-fry, or simply serve with hummus or a dip.

Basic Nutrition Information

A 1/2 cup of cooked cauliflower has 14 calories, 1.1 gram of protein, 2.6 grams of carbohydrate, 0.3 gram of fat and 1.4 grams of fiber. The low calorie and carbohydrate content of cauliflower makes it a suitable food for helping your lose weight as well as control your blood sugar, if you have diabetes.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps to prevent free radical damage to the cells of your body, preventing premature aging. Vitamin C is also necessary for wound healing and keeping the immune system healthy, as well as the production of collagen. A 1/2 cup of cooked cauliflower provides 27.5 milligrams of vitamin C or more than 30 percent of the daily requirement for adults of 90 milligrams for men and 75 milligrams for women. The daily requirement for vitamin C for smokers is 125 milligrams for men and 110 milligrams for women. Smokers require additional vitamin C to counteract the oxidative damage from the toxins in cigarette smoke, advises the Linus Pauling Institute.

Folate

A 1/2 cup of cooked cauliflower provides 27 micrograms of folate, while the daily requirement for adult men and non-pregnant women is 400 micrograms. Pregnant women require 600 micrograms of folate daily to reduce the risk of neural tube defects in the fetus. Folate is also involved in the manufacture of DNA, the genetic material of the cells of your body, and may help to prevent certain types of cancer.

Indole-3-carbinol

Indole-3-carbinol is a phytochemical, or naturally occurring chemical in plants, that is found in vegetables in the cabbage family, including cauliflower, kale, broccoli and collard greens, among others. Research has focused on the potential for indole-3-carbinol to enhance the breakdown of estrogen into a less potent form, which may help to decrease breast cancer risk, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Additionally, higher intakes of cruciferous vegetables are associated with lower risk for some types cancer, though it remains unclear whether this risk reduction is due to indole-3-carbinol or the other nutrients in cruciferous vegetables.

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