Cauliflower, or phool gobhi as we lovingly call it, is an immensely popular vegetable in north India. Gobhi ke paranthe and aloo gobhi ki sabzi are probably the most consumed item in a typical Punjabi home. Cauliflower’s origin can be traced to Cyprus from where it moved to west Asia, and Europe. The British brought it to India about 150 years ago, thereafter, our farmers raised their own seeds, creating the Indian cauliflower. Four of the earliest varieties listed are the Early and Main Crop Patna and Early and Main Crop Banaras. Botanically speaking, cauliflower belongs to the species Brassica oleracea in the genus Brassica, which belongs to the family Brassicaceae. Other popular vegetables in this species include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, and kale, which are also referred as cole crops. The edible white flesh of cauliflower is referred to as “curd” and we normally eat both the stem and flower tissue.
Not All Is White: While white is the most popular and common coloured cauliflower, there is one in orange too, and its colour comes from beta carotene, which is a vitamin A precursor. Then, there is a green variety known as broccoflower. And, the very less popular purple coloured cauliflower is known to have anthocyanins, which are potent antioxidants also present in red cabbage and red wine.
Nutritionally 100 g of Cauliflower will provide:
- 2.15g protein
- 0.44g fat
- 2.03g carbohydrate
- 3.71g fibre, both soluble and insoluble fibre.
- Vitamins B – thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin B6
- 47mg/100g vitamin C (mzkes it one of the richest sources in our food)
- 14 microgram/100g of vitamin K, which is 20% of our daily requirement
- 45.95 microgram/100 g of folates
Cauliflower, or phool gobhi as we lovingly call it, is an immensely popular vegetable in north India
Health Benefits: Broccoli is generally touted as one of the healthiest vegetables, whereas cauliflower has never got that position. Surprisingly, white cauliflower’s nutritional value is quite high. Its health quotient is as good as its fellow green cruciferous vegetables. Some of the benefits it brings to our table are:
1. Reduces The Risk Of Cancer: As per various studies, Cruciferous veggies are linked to a reduce the risk of cancer. A group of compounds – glucosinolates are known to have anti-cancer properties. These compounds are converted to Isothiocyanates (ITCs), which are believed to destroy potential cancer-causing substances before they can damage a cell’s genetic material (DNA) or work to prevent healthy cells from becoming cancerous. ITCs also help in increasing detoxification of toxic substances that might be detrimental to cancer risk.
2. Relieves Inflammation: Chronic health problems are a public health concern today. Most of these are outcomes of imbalanced metabolic systems, which cause injury to our body leading to inflammations, when left unchecked. Cauliflower has one of the richest antioxidant profile containing anthoxanthins, which gives cauliflower its signature white colour, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, caffeic acid, cinnamic acid, ferulic acid, quercetin, rutin, and kaempferol. In addition, it has one of the highest contents of vitamin C, which is a potent antioxidant system in our body. Vitamin K, present in cauliflower, also works on the anti-inflammatory system and prevents it from going into an overdrive. The omega -3 fats present in cauliflower also add to its anti-inflammatory ability.
Chronic health problems are a public health concern today
3. Reduces The Risk Of Heart And Brain Diseases: The antioxidant profile of cauliflower also help reduce the risk of heart diseases, diabetes and stroke. They also exert a protective effect against neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Vitamin C, vitamin k and the omega -3 are documented to prevent plaque formations; keep blood pressure under check; and control cholesterol build up. By binding with bile acids, cauliflower helps regulate cholesterol.
4. Great Detox: Sulphur compounds present in the veggie – glucosinolates, which impart the typical smell to cauliflower, are very beneficial for our digestive system. They help with nutrient absorption while aiding toxin removal. They also aid in the development of good gut bacteria.
5. Weight Loss: Since cauliflower is low in calories, adding to your weight loss diet is not a bad idea. Its good fibre content leads to early satiety and being low in carbs and fat make it as a favourable veggie for weight watchers.
6. Good For Eye And Skin: The sulphur compounds protect our retina against oxidative stress preventing cataract and macular degeneration. The vitamin C, also known as the skin vitamin, protects against signs of early ageing like wrinkles and dryness of the skin.
7. Cook It Right: Keep the cooking time, and contact with the cooking surface, to the minimum, which enhances the flavour and also retains the essential nutrients. Boiling or steaming cauliflower isn’t great for its texture or flavour enhancement. Studies have shown that cauliflower stands up well to various cooking methods without losing its nutrient levels. Vitamin C, phytonutrients and flavonoids present in the vegetable aren’t destroyed after cooking. In fact, researchers have found that the bioavailability of nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin improves after cooking.
Best Way To Select And Store: While buying cauliflower, make sure it is clean, creamy-white and compact – the bud clusters should not be separated. Avoid picking up spotted cauliflower or one where the flowers are present. Try to get one which is surrounded with leaves, those are the freshest. The leaves of cauliflowers are also very nutritious. Cauliflower grows in the months of October and November in India and is best consumed during its peak season.
While buying cauliflower, make sure it is clean, creamy-white and compact
Store the cauliflower with its stem side down, preferably covered with paper or plastic bag to prevent loss of nutrients due to exposure to air light or heat.
Source : https://food.ndtv.com