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7 Incredible Health Benefits of Cauliflower

Written by: Nick Jack
Category: 2014
on 24 August 2020
Hits: 1720

One of my favourite foods to eat during the cold winter months is cauliflower. While I love the taste of this vegetable and include it in many of my hearty meals, it has some amazing health benefits that many people are not aware of. For example, did you know that a whole head of cauliflower has approximately 12 grams of fibre? Fibre is an essential requirement to keeping our bodies healthy and functioning and essential for our digestive system to work at optimal efficiency. When our diet is low in fibre we can experience a host of problems like constipation and diverticulitis which become breeding grounds for more deadly diseases like cancer. In this article we take a close look at the benefits of eating cauliflower and how it can improve your overall health.

Why Do We Need To Include Fibre In Our Diet?

First and foremost dietary fibre is required to keep our digestive system healthy and helps in stabilising glucose and cholesterol levels. Research shows that countries with traditionally high-fibre diets, diseases such as diabetes, heart disease & bowel cancer are far less common than in Western countries.

Sadly, most Australians do not consume enough fibre in their diet. The Heart Foundation recommends that Australian adults should aim to consume approximately 25–30 g daily, however the average daily consumption is 20-25 grams of fibre daily.

In our recent article how to improve lung capacity and respiratory health we explained in great detail how important fibre is. A study involving nearly 2,000 adults revealed low fibre intake was associated with reduced measures of lung function while a diet rich in fibre-containing foods may play a role in improving lung health.

Here is what they found:

  • 68%of those with the highest fibre consumption had normal lung function compared to 50 percent with the lowest fibre intake
  • 15% of those who ate the most fibre had airway restriction compared to 30 percent of those who ate the least
  • People who ate a lot of fibre scored better on two breathing tests, indicating larger lung capacity and the ability to exhale more air in one second

In this study, the high-fibre group was consuming 18 grams of fibre a day or more, which is still on the low end of what you should, ideally, be eating. A general rule is to make sure you get 20 to 30 grams of fibre per day

There are 2 types of fibre found in our food:

  1. Soluble Fibre: One of the major roles of soluble fibre is to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, it can also help with constipation.  Sources of soluble fibre are, flaxseed, psyllium, fruit & vegetables.
  2. Insoluble Fibre: Insoluble fibre helps to prevent constipation, sources of insoluble fibre are the skins of vegetables and fruits, nuts, seeds & wholegrain foods.

You must also drink a lot water in your daily diet as a high fibre diet may not help with constipation if you are dehydrated. Fibre is also essential for us as we age, as the digestive system slows down with ageing process. The nutritional requirements of seniors are much different from younger people and the need to eat quality food increases as we age.

What If My Diet Is Low In Fibre?

Having a diet that is low in fibre can lead to numerous health conditions like Type 2 diabetes which the Baker Heart & Diabetes Institute recently estimated in their latest report in June 2020, that there is two to three million Australian people at risk of developing the disease! A 45 year old person with diabetes can expect to live six years less than a person free of diabetes, and are 10 times more likely to develop kidney failure, than those without diabetes.

 

You can read more about this in the article – Type 2 Diabetes prevention is better than a cure

Other problems caused from a lack of fibre include:

  • Constipation
  • Colon Cancer
  • Diverticulitis
  • Heart Disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Obesity

How Can You Increase Your Fibre Intake?

One of the fastest and easiest ways to get more fibre in your diet is to use psyllium husk.

As a soluble fibre, psyllium husk acts as a prebiotic that facilitates the nourishment of beneficial bacteria in your gut and helps improve immune function. If you remember our article on boosting the immune system we discussed how important the digestive system is and that it contains 70% of our immune building bacteria and cells.

People with Type 2 diabetes and those who are at risk of getting this disease may benefit from psyllium husk because of its potential to improve glycemic control. Studies suggest that it can assist with decreasing glycemic responses to meals and lowering insulin and blood sugar levels.

Psyllium husk is also said to help people maintain a healthy weight since it can absorb liquid in the body and induce a feeling of satiety. These effects may be linked to psyllium husk's tendency to be water-soluble and viscous.

Also make sure you stay well hydrated and drink plenty of water. Staying well hydrated by taking in fluids throughout the day helps keep the mucosal linings in the lungs thin. This thinner lining helps the lungs function better.

Other ways to increase your daily fibre intake include:

  • Eat more vegetables
  • Switch to brown rice
  • Switch to wholegrain bread
  • Include chia seeds
  • Eat avocado
  • Include raspberries, blackberries & strawberries

Top 7 Health Benefits Of Cauliflower

Before we jump right into all the incredible benefits of cauliflower we must address the danger of this food to certain groups of people. For even though it is an amazing food people who follow the FODMAP diet should avoid it as it is could cause digestive upsets.  It should also be noted for those of you who are taking blood thinners eating a lot of cauliflower may react adversely with the drugs, due to the high levels of Vitamin K found in cauliflower.

For the rest of us this is a vegetable we should be trying to include in our meals and here is 7 benefits that you may now know of.

  1. FibreAs we have just discussed in great detail, fibre should be an essential part of our diet for our digestive health, and cauliflower packs a massive punch in this department.
  2. Loaded with NutrientsDid you know that cauliflower contains some amount of almost every vitamin and mineral that your body needs!  This makes the cauliflower quite impressive in terms of its nutrient importance.
  3. Low in CarbohydratesHaving followed the Keto Diet since April 2019, cauliflower has been a major component of my diet as it is a low energy carbohydrate source. For me personally this replaces grains and legumes which are a high energy carbohydrate source that disrupt my fat burning ketosis
  4. Easy to UseCauliflower is so versatile, as it can replace grains and legumes in many recipes, which is a great way to eat more vegetables. Examples of ways to cook this vegetable is by roasting a whole cauliflower, cauliflower steak, baking, cauliflower soup, steaming, cauliflower rice, cauliflower as the base of a pizza, cauliflower mash, cauliflower mac & cheese, even cauliflower hummus without the chickpeas.
  5. High In CholineCholine is an essential nutrient. Choline helps our body to have healthy brain development and aids in the production of neurotransmitters that are necessary for a healthy nervous system, choline also helps to prevent cholesterol from accumulating in the liver. Sadly, most people are deficient in choline.
  6. Aids Weight LossNot only is cauliflower a low energy carbohydrate, it is also low in calories, but being high in fibre will help you to stay fuller for longer, which in turn will mean that you will eat less throughout the day.
  7. Great Source of AntioxidantsCauliflower is a great source of antioxidants. Carotenoid and flavonoid are antioxidants found in cauliflower, they have anti-cancer effects and may reduce the risk of several other illnesses, including heart disease.

Additional Resource To Help You With Nutrition 

Obviously there is lot more to eating healthy and nutrition than the tips featured in this article. To help you out with all the other parts you may want to know we put together a great PDF report you can download instantly with all the information you need for finding what works for you. Click here to see more about this program and download instantly to your phone or computer.

Summary

As you can see from this article, cauliflower provides our body with some great health benefits and is packed with fibre, vitamins & minerals, including a few that most people need more of. It contains antioxidants that may reduce inflammation and protect against several diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Best of all it is easy to cook with, and tastes great in so many different meals.  

If you would like to know more about our Personal Training programs click the image below and I will be in touch within 24 hours to schedule a time for a free health diagnostic consultation.

About The Author

Nick Jack is owner of No Regrets Personal Training and has over 15 years’ experience as a qualified Personal Trainer, Level 2 Rehabilitation trainer, CHEK practitioner, and Level 2 Sports conditioning Coach. Based in Melbourne Australia he specialises in providing solutions to injury and health problems for people of all ages using the latest methods of assessing movement and corrective exercise.

References:

  • Precision Nutrition 
  • Nutrition & Physical Degeneration - By Weston A Price
  • Eat Real Food - By David Gillespie
  • How To Eat, Move & Be Healthy by Paul Chek
  • Metabolic Typing - By Bill Wolcott and Trish Fahey