Botanically, it is a member of the cruciferous or brassicaceae family. It has got a similar nutritional and phyto-chemistry profile with broccoli and cabbage. Several cultivars exist other than common snow-white variety, including green, orange, purple, and romanesco heads.
To keep the flower heads creamy white, they should be protected from sunlight. This is done by tying the close-by leaves together over the heads when the heads are the size of a quarter. Over-maturity makes the heads get loose and grainy surfaced, and lose much of their flavor and tenderness.
Health benefits of Cauliflower
- It is very low in calories. 100 g of the fresh cauliflower head provides only 26 calories. Nevertheless, it comprises of several health-benefiting antioxidants and vitamins in addition to be very low in fat and contains no cholesterol.
- Its florets contain about 2 g of dietary fiber per 100 g; providing about 5% of recommended value.
- Cauliflower contains several anti-cancer phyto-chemicals like sulforaphane and plant sterols such asindole-3-carbinol, which appears to function as an anti-estrogen agent. Together these compounds have proven benefits against prostate, breast, cervical, colon, ovarian cancers by virtue of their cancer-cell growth inhibition, cytotoxic effects on cancer cells.
- Furthermore, Di-indolyl-methane (DIM), a lipid soluble compound present abundantly in Brassica group of vegetables has found effective as immune modulator, anti-bacterial and anti-viral compound by synthesis and potentiating Interferon-Gamma receptors. DIM has currently been found application in the treatment of recurring respiratory papillomatosis caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and is in Phase III clinical trials for cervical dysplasia.
- Fresh cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C; 100 g provides about 48.2 mg or 80% of daily recommended value. Vitamin-C is a proven antioxidant helps fight against harmful free radicals, boosts immunity and prevents from infections and cancers.
- It contains good amounts of many vital B-complex groups of vitamins such as folates, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and thiamin (vitamin B1), niacin (B3) as well as vitamin K. These vitamins is essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish and required for fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism.
- Further, It is an also good source of minerals such as manganese, copper, iron, calcium and potassium. Manganese is used in the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.Potassium is an important intracellular electrolyte helps counter the hypertension effects of sodium.