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Ask The RD

Question: I’ve been seeing a lot of cauliflower recipes lately. I know many people like cauliflower because it is low in calories and carbohydrates, but does it have any benefits that add to my health?

Answer: Cauliflower has been among the “it” vegetables for a while now; the vegetable’s multifaceted nature has kept it a popular choice. As you mentioned, it is low in calories and carbohydrates, which makes it a go-to with many dieters, but it’s cauliflower’s culinary versatility that makes it a vegetable superstar. Cauliflower’s white color and ability to be used as a potato substitute (if steamed and mashed) or wheat-flour alternative (if ground while raw) illustrate that versatility.

The good news is that cauliflower’s benefits go far beyond low calorie/low carb, and those benefits can definitely augment your health. In addition to being rich in many vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, folate, vitamin K and potassium, cauliflower is a great source of fiber and protein, as well as antioxidants such as beta carotene.

There’s more! Cauliflower is rich in a substance called sulforaphane, which has been found to protect against prostate and other cancers. It has also shown prom- ise in improving blood pressure and kidney function, and offers digestive benefits by protecting the stomach lining.

Many healthy advocates consider this cruciferous vegetable to nutrition power-house, and so should you!

NUTRITION FACTS FOR 1 CUP OF CAULIFLOWER: 27 calories; 0 g total fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 32 mg sodium; 320 mg potassium; 5 g total carbohydrates (2.1 g dietary fiber, 2 g sugar); 2 g protein; vitamin C: 85%; vitamin K: 20%; folate: 14%; calcium: 2%; Iron: 2%; magnesium: 8%.

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