Give your family the healthy benefits of cauliflower

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Cauliflower is known as queen of the cabbage clan and is among the most important vegetables produced in the United States. Also, this healthy vegetable is a great source of nutrients. It contains unique plant compounds that may reduce the risk of several diseases, including heart disease and cancer.

Cauliflower is very low in calories, only 25 calories per cup, so you can eat a lot of it without gaining weight. It can also serve as a low-calorie substitute for high-calorie foods, such as rice and flour. Yet, it is high in vitamins and contains almost every vitamin and mineral that you need. Some of the nutrients found in cauliflower include fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, Vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, manganese and phosphorus.

It's high in fiber with 3 grams of fiber in one cup of cauliflower, which is 10 percent of your daily needs. Fiber is important because it feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut that help reduce inflammation and promote digestive health. Consuming enough fiber may help prevent digestive conditions such as constipation, diverticulitis and inflammatory bowel disease.

Studies show that a diet high in fiber-rich vegetables such as cauliflower is linked with a lower risk of several illnesses, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes. They are a good source of antioxidants, which protect your cells from harmful free radicals and inflammation.

Cauliflower is also high in glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, two antioxidants that have been shown to slow the growth of cancer cells. In studies, glucosinolates andisothiocyanates have been shown to be especially protective against colon, lung, breast and prostate cancer.

Cauliflower contains carotenoid and flavonoid antioxidants as well, which have anti-cancer effects and may reduce the risk of several other illnesses, including heart disease. It contains high amounts of vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant, and is well-known for its anti-inflammatory effects that may boost immune health and reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Cauliflower is high in choline, an essential nutrient that many people are deficient in. One cup of cauliflower contains 45 mg of choline, which is about 11 percent of the adequate intake for women and 8 percent for men. Also, choline has several important functions in the body. It plays a major role in maintaining the integrity of cell membranes, synthesizing DNA and supporting metabolism. It is involved in brain development, the production of neurotransmitters that are necessary for a healthy nervous system, helps prevent cholesterol from accumulating in the liver, and if you're not consuming enough choline you may have a higher risk of liver and heart disease, in addition to neurological disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer's.

Not many foods contain choline; cauliflower and broccoli are some of the best plant-based sources of the nutrient.

Cauliflower, a low-carb alternative to grains and legumes, can be used to replace grains and legumes in your diet. This is a great way to increase your veggie intake and is also especially helpful for those who follow low-carb diets.

Tips for using cauliflower:

  •  Cauliflower Rice - replace it for your brown or white rice in your diet.
  •  Cauliflower Pizza - replace it for your pizza; place in a food processor, and make it into dough.
  •  Cauliflower Mash - replace it for mashed potatoes; try making a low-carb cauliflower mash.
  •  Cauliflower Mac and Cheese - replace it for mac and cheese; cooked cauliflower can be combined with milk, cheese and spice.