Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, often overshadowed by its green cousin broccoli. This is one vegetable that deserves a regular rotation in your diet, however, as it contains an impressive array of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other phytochemicals.
1. Reduces Cancer Risk
Numerous studies have shown that there is a strong tie between someone’s diet and their risk for developing cancer. Studies demonstrate that cauliflower is especially useful for preventing breast cancer in addition to colon, liver, lung, and stomach cancers.
Cauliflower has been shown to have chemo-preventive agents that stall early phases of cancer development to help shut off tumor growth.
Studies have demonstrated that cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower can effectively inhibit the development of chemically induced carcinogenesis, acting as an anti-mutagen that halts tumor cells from further reproducing.
Numerous studies report that consuming cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower leads to the prevention of cancer growth in rats and mice during controlled studies, and that the same benefits apply to humans.
Cruciferous vegetables including cauliflower are also rich in glucosinolates – a large group of beneficial sulfur-containing compounds. This special combination of compounds is what gives cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, sprouts, and cauliflower their signature smell when they are cooked.
These protective chemicals are known to break down during the chewing and digestion process into biologically active compounds that help to prevent cancer cells from growing. Glucosinolates essentially act like natural pesticides in plant cells; when they are consumed by humans, they are utilized for DNA repair and help prevent cancer by slowing the growth of mutated cancer cells.
This makes cauliflower an excellent way to prevent cancer and also to decrease the chance of re-occurrences taking place.
2. Fights Inflammation
Inflammation is at the heart of nearly all chronic diseases that we are faced with so commonly today. Cauliflower is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds which lower oxidative stress and the presence of free-radicals in our body.
The important range of antioxidants found in cauliflower- including the vitamins listed above but also beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, caffeic acid, cinnamic acid, ferulic acid, quercetin, rutin, and kaempferol- help to reduce oxidative stress in the body, which when left unregulated can lead to cancer and various other conditions.
Just a one-cup serving of cauliflower contains at least 73% or more of the recommended daily value of vitamin C, helping to reduce inflammation, boost immunity and keep the body free of harmful bacteria, infections, and common colds.
3. Decreases Risk for Heart Disease & Brain Disorders
Researchers now know that high levels of inflammation are correlated with an increased risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Cauliflower’s anti-inflammatory abilities- found especially in its supply of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, various antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids- help to keep arteries and blood vessels free from plaque build-up, lessening the chances of high blood pressure and out of control cholesterol levels developing.
These serious conditions can lead to further inflammation, allergies and autoimmune responses, and even possible cardiac arrest. Cauliflower’s powerful nutrients help to stop the immune system from operating on overdrive, creating auto-immune reactions that can lead to oxidative stress capable of damaging brain cells.
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