Cauliflower: Nutrition Facts

Calories in Cauliflower and Their Health Benefits

Holding a head of cauliflower
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With the rise of low carb and Paleo diets, cauliflower has become an increasingly popular and versatile non starchy vegetable. Cauliflower is often referred to as the king of the Brassica or cabbage family. Its stalks produce creamy white florets that can range in color, often popping up in beautiful purples and oranges.

Cauliflower can be cooked whole, pulsed, or cut up into florets for steaming, blanching, stir-frying, and roasting.

It can easily substitute for starchier foods, such as potatoes and rice, and is more nutritious, adding vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. If you make cauliflower "rice" as a substitution for the rice grain, you've easily added an extra vegetable to your meal for less calories and carbohydrate.

Cauliflower is available all year, especially late fall through the spring.

Cauliflower Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1/2 cup cooked (1" pieces) (62 g)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 14 
Calories from Fat 3 
Total Fat 0.3g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1g 
Monounsaturated Fat 0g 
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 150mg6%
Potassium 88.04mg3%
Carbohydrates 2.5g1%
Dietary Fiber 1.4g6%
Sugars 1.2g 
Protein 1.1g 
Vitamin A 0% · Vitamin C 46%
Calcium 1% · Iron 1%

*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Cauliflower is a very low calorie, low fat vegetable source, containing a mere 14 calories and 0.3 g of fat in a half cup cooked serving.

 

Cauliflower Health Benefits

Cauliflower is a very good source of fiber, the indigestible part of carbohydrate that helps to keep you full, pull cholesterol away from your heart, and lower cholesterol. People who eat high fiber diets tend to maintain healthier weights and are at reduced risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.

Cauliflower is also an excellent source of immune boosting vitamin C. Vitamin C is also an important factor in anti-aging and cell repair.

In addition, cauliflower is a very good source of vitamin K and folate and a good source of vitamin B6 and potassium.

Lastly, cauliflower is one of the cruciferous vegetables which have been shown to have anti-cancer properties. It also has a fairly high level of antioxidant phytonutrients and there is evidence that these substances contribute to cauliflower having anti-inflammatory properties, as well as being helpful in preventing cardiovascular and gastrointestinal problems.

What Causes Brown Spots on Cauliflower Heads?

The discoloration often resembling pale brown spots occurs because of oxidation. Oxidation happens because of prolonged exposure to light and air, which happens naturally the longer cauliflower is stored. If the spots are infrequent, you can simply cut them out with a knife. However, if the spots are more dark brown to black in color and the texture is mushy or if the cauliflower is giving off an off-putting odor, its best to discard the cauliflower as this indicates it is spoiling.

Picking and Storing Cauliflower 

Choose cauliflower that has firm, compact heads that are tightly closed.

The florets should not have any yellowing, as this is an indication that the cauliflower is overly mature. Any attached leaves should be bright green and crisp. Reject any heads that show signs of softness, because that's the start of spoilage.

Cauliflower is extremely perishable, therefore it should be kept cold and tightly wrapped. Store it in the refrigerator in its original packaging. If it has not been wrapped, wrap it tightly with clear wrap before storing. Do not wash it until you are ready to cook it.

Healthy Ways to Prepare Cauliflower 

Roast cauliflower for a sweet, creamy flavor to serve as a side dish to your main course, as a sandwich topper, or to add volume and texture to soups.

Saute, steam, or simply eat cauliflower raw to add vitamins, minerals, volume, and fiber to your meals.

You can also use cauliflower as a substitution for mashed potatoes and rice.

Recipes with Cauliflower 

Try these recipes for a hearty and healthy addition to your meal plan. 

Sources:

Labensky, SR, Hause, AM. On Cooking: A textbook of Culinary Fundamentals. 3rd ed. Upper Sadle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2003: 616-617.

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