Superfoods could make a super-you. And we’re not talking about the exotic, foreign looking foods that you may notice in the supermarket – but the ones that can be found right in the produce section, or even the backyards of our homes. That’s right...there are superfoods that are super attainable, and are easy to incorporate into your everyday diet.
Today, we’re here to invite you in on a little secret: nutrient-packed veggies don’t only come in green. Cauliflower is part of the Brassica vegetable family, many of whose relatives you’re probably familiar with: broccoli, kale, cabbage, and brussels sprouts. Most popular in its white version, cauliflower can also come in the colors purple, orange, and green.
A powerhouse of nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants, cauliflower is also extremely versatile and can be used in recipes in countless ways – think mashed, riced, formed into shapes (in our case into crepes) or simply eaten as is.
Let’s now dive a little deeper into the world of broccoli’s cousin, and see exactly why it has what it takes to be considered a superfood.
What is a superfood?
You won’t be able to walk down the supermarket aisle and notice a product sticker or packaging label saying “this is a superfood!,” because superfoods aren’t necessarily a certified category. But, while any produce you eat will provide healthy nourishment that’s low in calories, there are some foods that are just more abundant in the nutrients they provide. These are superfoods. They’re light, and packed to the brim with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals– nurturing your immune system, heart health, helping to reduce high cholesterol and inflammation while also preventing disease.
Here’s a breakdown of their nutritional superpowers:
Instead of taking supplements each day, superfoods can naturally provide all the vitamins your body needs to healthily function.
These are the compounds that organically fight off any illnesses, and superfoods are rich in them. They specifically act to protect cells from the damage of heart disease and cancer, amongst other diseases.
These are the boost a superfood needs to perform at its highest potential. Minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, and more are part of a superfood’s DNA.
Many superfoods are rich in fiber, adding to their ability to fight off digestive issues, heart disease, high cholesterol, and irregular glucose levels.
These are components of some superfoods that specifically defend against inflammation and the development of cancer.
So, while a healthy diet will surely consist of many separate foods that contain these incredible properties, you can easily digest them all in one package – a superfood.
How is cauliflower a superfood?
It’s easy to think the darker the color, the more nutrients – especially when “eat your greens” is the go-to motto. And, while that motto often holds true and dear, we don’t ever want to underestimate the powerful punch of healthy nutrients that cauliflower packs.
Helping to protect your health at all costs and fighting off illnesses along the way, cauliflower is the pale-fleshed superhero you never knew you needed. Here’s how:
- Rich in vitamins and minerals
Cauliflower is an all-around superstar, containing some of basically every vitamin and mineral necessary to cultivate a healthy body. 77% of the daily recommended vitamin C intake can come in one single serving of cauliflower, along with percentages of potassium, vitamin K, vitamin BG, folate, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus.
- Antioxidants galore
Packed with antioxidants, cauliflower can help boost the immune system, contain anti-viral properties, and detox the body. It’s exceptionally high in glucosinolates, isothiocyanates, and flavonoids, which are antioxidants that act as catalysts for detoxification, and are proven to protect against cancers including colon, lung, and prostate. Cauliflower’s abundant vitamin C works with compounds like beta-carotene, kaempferol, quercetin, and cinnamic acid to fight off any species that may attack the immune system and cause damage.
- Tons of fiber
Two words: gut health. The healthy bacteria inside your body use fiber to promote healthy digestion and reduce inflammation. Eating one cup of cauliflower will nourish your gut with 10 percent of the recommended daily dose of fiber. To top it off, the sulforaphane from cauliflower’s glucosinolate antioxidants can fight off H pylori bacteria from harming the stomach lining.
- Combats cancer and heart disease
The antioxidant sulforaphane is found to be the ultimate arch-nemesis of cancer and heart disease— and cauliflower’s DNA is full of it. Studies show that sulforaphane discourages enzymes that could enhance the growth of tumors and potentially destroy already damaged cancer cells. While the antioxidant mainly protects against prostate and colon cancers, it has also been shown to aid against the growth of breast and pancreatic cancers, leukemia, and melanoma.
And it doesn’t stop there! Sulforaphane is a major agent in reducing high blood pressure and providing health to the arteries. If the body’s blood vessels are vulnerable, this antioxidant has the ability to monitor the DNA within our body’s blood vessels and benefit cellular function.
- Enhances brain power
There’s book smart and there’s street smart, but have you ever heard of superfood smart?
Cauliflower is high in choline, a nutrient that treats the nervous system well. Many foods don’t contain choline, and many people are deficient in it— making cauliflower a prime resource. One cup of the vegetable a day provides about 11 percent of adequate intake for a woman, and 8 percent for a man, which is more than most people’s entire daily intake. Choline produces neurotransmitters needed for a top-notch performing nervous system and could improve cognition and memorization skills. Ingesting enough of this super nutrient could reduce memory loss and prevent neurological disorders like dementia and Alzheimers.
What can I make using cauliflower?
Here’s where we come to the rescue! Now that you’re basically an expert on superfoods, and how cauliflower is one of them, let’s direct our attention to meals. Of its many superpowers, cauliflower has one that makes it a friendly addition to your kitchen: shapeshifting. We’re not saying eating cauliflower on its own isn’t tasty, but one of the amazing characteristics of cauliflower is that it can take on many forms — essentially masking its hard texture and working wonders for a plethora of delicious recipes.
Here are some ways to use cauliflower:
- Riced: You can steam cauliflower to soften it, and then use either a grater or food processor to create a rice-like texture minus the carbs. You can even mix grated cauliflower with a binding ingredient to form into balls, patties, or any shape and bake to a crisp.
- Mashed: Re-create mashed potatoes by steaming cauliflower and mashing it with your preferred ingredients. Plain mashed cauliflower could also be used as pizza dough, and formed into a crust.
- Pureed: Steam cauliflower and puree it to a creamy consistency to be used for sauces, in smoothies, and mixed with hummus.
And, while all the shapes cauliflower transforms into will boost your body with its ample nutrients, our personal favorite is the crepe. With our grande and petite cauliflower wraps, your imagination can run wild with ways to add the superfood into your diet. With this method you’ll skip the steaming and preparation, and focus on creating both sweet and savory recipes that you wouldn’t believe are powered by the nourishment of cauliflower— like blueberry crepes or loaded beef burritos (talk about versatility!)
Superfoods can save our health much like superheroes can save the day. And as you now know, cauliflower has all the superpowers it takes— even ways to disguise its vegetable persona. With cauliflower, you can get all the superfood nutrients without sacrificing taste…can you say, have your cake and eat it too?
So, next time you’re shopping for foods to fuel a better you, don’t count cauliflower out. This superfood is here to stay!