When you say Winter veggies… many think of cauliflower! And rightfully so: cauliflower is a true superfood, packed with vitamins, minerals, and even anti-tumoral compounds. 🥦. However, many of us might struggle to incorporate this Cruciferous veggie into our diet as it can cause excessive gas and digestive issues. If you are among them, don’t worry. Here is how to reduce bloating from cauliflower! And that’s not all. We will also look at 5 incredible health benefits of this veggie, as well as some tasty recipes to make everyone fall in love with it. 💗
5 Incredible Health Benefits of Cauliflower
Along with broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts – cauliflower is one of the most popular Cruciferous veggies, thanks to its low-carb and low-calorie values as well as its incredible versatility in the kitchen. (Did you know that it can even be used to add precious nutrients and improve the consistency of your favorite chocolate smoothie?). Besides that, cauliflower has also some incredible health benefits. Here are some of the main ones.
1. High in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
Cauliflower is jam-packed with different beneficial micronutrients. Among them are vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an essential role in bone metabolism, regulating blood calcium levels, and blood clotting, vitamin C – an antioxidant renowned for its anti-inflammatory effects and its ability to boost the immune function, and choline – a nutrient that plays a pivotal role in the correct function of the metabolic and nervous systems.
2. It contains precious anti-tumoral compounds
Cauliflower has also been shown as having potential anti-tumoral properties. The merit goes to the phytonutrients contained in it. These chemical compounds found in plants are associated with protection against several types of chronic diseases, including cancer, metabolic syndrome, and type-2 diabetes. In addition, cauliflower is high in glucosinolates and isothiocyanate. These are two groups of antioxidants that can offer protection against several types of cancer, among which are breast, colon, lung, and prostate cancer.
3. Weight-loss friendly and high in fiber
With only 25 calories, 5 grams of carbs (which makes it also a keto-friendly veggie), and as much as 2 grams of fiber for just one cup (around 128 grams), cauliflower will assist your weight loss journey. Indeed, the fiber contained in it will allow you to feel fuller, longer after your meals, as it helps slow down the digestive processes. Add some cauliflower to your stews, pasta dishes, or even smoothies to increase their volume and bulk them up with precious nutrients, while keeping the calories to a minimum. Moreover, cauliflower can become the base of a low-carb and low-calorie pizza crust, or can be easily transformed into some guilt-free cauliflower rice.
4. It can protect your skin
Did you know that cauliflower can even boost your skin health from the inside? Indeed, it is rich in vitamin C, which can promote collagen formation. In turn, collagen is essential in fleshing out skin cells and in mitigating the signs of aging skin. In addition, the sulforaphane in cauliflower may protect the skin from premature skin damage caused by overexposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV).
5. Cauliflower can boost your memory and improve cognitive functions
As hinted above, cauliflower is rich in choline, a vitamin that plays a key role in brain health and development. Indeed, studies show how this precious vitamin can enhance cognitive function, regulate the sleep cycle, and improve learning and memory skills. But there is even more to the story: choline can even reduce age-related memory loss and provide a defense against toxins in the brain.
How to Reduce Bloating From Cauliflower
Although cauliflower is a true superfood, many of us still struggle to consume it as it is often the cause of gas, bloating, abdominal pain, and other digestive issues. The reason for this is that cauliflower, as well as other cruciferous veggies, such as kale and broccoli, contains raffinose and other oligosaccharides. These are specific types of sugars that remain undigested until bacteria in the gut ferment them, producing gas, and, in turn, causing bloating and gas. This is a real pity, as cauliflower is rich in many compounds that are very hard to get elsewhere – choline and vitamin K above them all.
Fortunately, I’ve got something for you! Here is how to reduce bloating from cauliflower – and other cruciferous veggies for that matter – in 5 steps.
- Start slow and chew well
The best tip when it comes to reducing gas and bloating is to not gorge on broccoli at any one sitting. The reasons for this are essentially two. First, our body might not be able to digest the fiber and specific types of fast carbohydrates (such as the raffinose) found in cauliflower. Gradually increasing our portions will give our gut the time to adapt and progressively build up the bacteria that are necessary to break down these veggies. The second is that chewing them very well before swallowing is essential for breaking down these sugars before they reach our digestive system. Remember: digestion always starts in the mouth!
- Cooked is better than raw
Cooked cauliflower is much easier to digest than raw cauliflower. Indeed, the cooking process breaks down some of the carbs contained in the cauliflower. In this way, our intestines can pass them more easily and absorb what it needs, rather than allowing them to sit and produce gas. Alternatively, pureeing them is another great tip!
- Pair them with some digestive herbs and spices
Pairing your cauliflower with some herbs and spices might be quite helpful in aiding digestion and preventing the formation of gas. Among these herbs and spices are fennel, dill, cumin, coriander, anise, ginger, and cinnamon.
- Drink more
Drinking plays an important role in digestion as it helps fiber to move through the body. This is essential to speed up the digestive process. If you cannot stomach water, you can add a squeeze of lemon or lime to it. Alternatively, you can opt for teas that can help ease digestion and reduce gas, such as those that contain chamomile, fennel, peppermint, or turmeric.
- Take some probiotics or digestive enzyme
If all the previous tips don’t work, you can try to take some probiotics or digestive enzymes before meals. More specifically, alpha-galactosidase is an enzyme supplement that helps to digest the oligosaccharides, preventing them from reaching the large intestine. This is great for avoiding bloating and abdominal pain.
Cauliflower: the Nutritional Info
Cauliflower is a cruciferous veggie rich in minerals, and vitamins (primarily calcium, vitamin K and vitamin C). At the same time, it is low in calories and carbohydrates.
1 cup, or 128 grams, of raw cauliflower, contains:
- Calories: 25
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Vitamin C: 77% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 20% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 11% of the RDI
- Folate: 14% of the RDI
- Pantothenic acid: 7% of the RDI
- Potassium: 9% of the RDI
- Manganese: 8% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 4% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 4% of the RDI
Cauliflower: Some Fun Facts
- Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable. It is “cruciferous” because the flowers have four petals and resemble a Greek cross. More specifically, it is a flower that has not fully developed yet.
- White cauliflower is not the only type of cauliflower on the market. Indeed, orange, purple, green, and brown cauliflower is often used to give a touch of color and taste to several dishes!
- A single floret of cauliflower contains around 10% of our daily vitamin C needs.
- The stems and leaves are not only edible, but they are also rich in iron, fiber, vitamin C, and calcium.
Ingredient Selection Tips
Opt for cauliflower heads that are firm and tightly closed, as this is a sign of freshness. If you opt for white varieties, make sure that there are no dark “sunburned” spots on them. Avoid heads that show signs of softness, as this might represent the start of spoilage. Also check the leaves: they should be firm to the touch and have a bright green color. On the other hand, avoid heads with withered leaves.
Cauliflowers are very sensitive to heat and cold. This is why, in order to thrive, the plant requires a consistently cool temperature of around 60°F (15 °C), as well as at least 6 hours of daily sunlight. In addition, the soil needs to be properly fertilized so that it holds moisture. On the contrary, the curd may start separating into smaller heads, hindering the growth of our cauliflowers.
In addition, the PH values of the soil must remain between 6.5 and 6.8 at all times. This allows the plant to stay in a continual state of growth. Indeed, interruptions may end up ruining the curd. Last but not least, cauliflower plants are susceptible to many leaf-eating insects, such as aphids, cabbage loopers, and Harlequin bugs. The bottom line is that cauliflower requires lots of care and attention, and is not a very beginner-friendly vegetable.
Some Tasty Recipes with Cauliflower
Cauliflower is a very versatile ingredient, great in both salty and sweet recipes. Yes, you have heard it right! Adding cauliflower to our smoothies or cake batters will not only improve their texture but also enhance the natural sweetness of these treats.
Among my most successful recipes with cauliflower are these delicious recipes: Shepherd’s Pie, Air Fryer Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower, Healthiest Mac n’ Cheese, and One-Pot Chili Mac and Cheese. All of them are great to introduce your picky eaters to eating cauliflower!
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