Health Benefits Of Cauliflower


There is no denying that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables has a positive and important impact on our health. In the last few years, the consumption of Brassica species has grown significantly, especially thanks to their nutritional value. Besides that, the consumption of Brassica species has also been linked to a  reduced risk of several chronic diseases.1 Brassica species include several vegetables, such as brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, arugula, bok choy, cabbage, kale, radishes, among others. 

Cauliflower is one of the cruciferous (Brassicaceae) family of vegetables. It is an important vegetable that grows all over the world and can be included in our diet in several different ways, as a vegetable, or as an ingredient that can be added to soups or salads.1 Cauliflower is a part of the top 25 in the ranking of powerhouse vegetables and fruits in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI). This scoring method ranks different foods based on their nutrient content per calorie.

A fun fact about cauliflower is that it can be found in different colours, other than white. Orange cauliflower tastes very similar to the white variety, but has 25 times higher content of vitamin A. Purple cauliflower has this colour thanks to anthocyanins, a rich antioxidants pigment that is also found in red cabbage. And finally, green cauliflower which has a sweeter taste when compared to white cauliflower,  it being a cross between cauliflower and broccoli.

About cauliflower

Health benefits of cauliflower

Cauliflower is a vegetable that is known for providing a number of health benefits when included in a balanced diet.

Some of the benefits of eating cauliflower include:

  1. Antioxidant properties: Cauliflower is high in antioxidants (like vitamin C or K) which are helpful in neutralising free radicals. This is important because antioxidants t do not allow the free radicals to cause cell damage, which could eventually lead to cancer or heart disease
  2. Reduced cancer risk: Cauliflower is rich in plant-based compounds. Some studies have been indicating that these compounds may reduce the risk of developing some types of cancer, especially lung, stomach, rectal, and colon cancer. A recent study, that included a group of 391 healthy Chinese adults exposed to high levels of pollution, found that the daily consumption of a broccoli and sprout (which belong to the Brassica species) drink, significantly increased the urinary excretion of benzene (a carcinogen- a substance which may cause cancer)2
  3. Heart health: Some studies have concluded that a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables is linked with a smaller risk of having cardiovascular conditions when compared to a diet poor in this group of vegetables
  4. Digestive health: Because cauliflower is rich in fibre, it prevents constipation and promotes and helps to preserve good colorectal health

Nutrients we can get from cauliflower

Cauliflower is considered a super nutritional vegetable. First, because it is cholesterol-free and fat-free and second of all because it is high in vitamin K, vitamin C, and is an important source of folate and vitamin B6. Cauliflower also contains some important minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus.  Like mentioned before, cauliflower is also a good source of antioxidants, which will help protect your cells from free radicals and their damage. 

One cup-serving (around 100 g) of raw cauliflower contains:

  • 25 calories
  • Around 5 grams of carbohydrates
  • Around 2 grams of protein
  • 2 grams of dietary fibre
  • 77% of your daily value of vitamin C
  • 20% of your daily value of vitamin K
  • 10% of your daily value of vitamin B6
  • 8% of your daily value of folate

Ways to include cauliflower in our diet

Another reason why cauliflower is an interesting vegetable is its versatility when it comes to cooking and dietary incorporation. Cauliflower can be roasted, steamed, mashed, turned into a sauce or even used as a low-carb substitute for rice or potatoes.

A quick and easy way to prepare cauliflower is making a delicious soup. Here, you can find a simplified version of this cauliflower soup recipe

  1. Toss the cauliflower florets in a roasting tin with olive oil, thyme, and cumin. Let it roast for about 15 minutes
  2. Heat olive oil with onion and celery and fry until it softens, then add garlic. Stir the cauliflower and add the stock and bring to a simmer. Let it cook for 10 minutes
  3. Blend until smooth using a food processor. Add into a bowl and top it off with parsley, olive oil, and some reserved cauliflower

Some other interesting ways to enjoy cauliflower include:

  • Cauliflower rice
  • Mashed Cauliflower
  • Cauliflower pizza crust
  • Cauliflower popcorn
  • Buffalo cauliflower
  • Cauliflower hash browns
  • Cauliflower nachos
  • Loaded cauliflower
  • Roasted cauliflower burger
  • Cauliflower mac and cheese
  • Cauliflower tortillas
  • Cauliflower hummus
  • Cauliflower breadsticks

If you search online, you will be surprised at the variety of delicious and innovative recipes that you can prepare by incorporating cauliflower in your meals.

Nonetheless, a study found that different ways of cooking white cauliflower affect its nutrients, chemicals, and antioxidant activity. Boiling and blanching caused the greatest loss of nutrients and chemicals, while stir-frying, and microwaving caused less loss and kept more nutrients and chemicals.1

How much is enough?

Well, it depends on your individual needs and preferences. Although there are no specific recommendations regarding the cauliflower intake, according to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the recommended weekly dosage of dark green vegetables, which includes cauliflower, is between 1.5 and 2.5 cups.

Some possible side effects of eating cauliflower include:

  • Feeling gassy and feeling bloated: Cauliflower, especially when consumed raw, can be difficult to digest, which can end up causing bloating and gas. For most people, moderate doses of cauliflower can be tolerated, but for someone who suffers from gastrointestinal issues, it could be more difficult and cause some digestive distress. A good tip is to opt for cooked cauliflower instead of eating it raw
  • Cauliflower allergy: Although it’s very rare, there have been documented cases of cauliflower allergy.3 So, it is important to pay attention when eating cauliflower, mainly if it’s the first time or if you know you are allergic to other members of the Brassicaceae family such as brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, or cabbage. The symptoms include itchiness, difficulty breathing, a runny nose, swelling of the throat, red skin, facial swelling, or diarrhoea1
  • Thyroid functioning: In cauliflower, we can find goitrogens, which are natural substances that can interfere with the normal function of the thyroid gland. Goitrogens can aggravate thyroid problems because they lead to the reduction of the T4 hormone absorption and also interfere with the activity of thyroid hormone4,5

Overall, cauliflower is safe for consumption, but it might lead to some possible side effects if consumed in large quantities or if you have certain health problems or cauliflower allergy. 


Cauliflower makes part of the cruciferous (Brassicaceae) family of vegetables. It is an important vegetable that grows all over the world. It is a vegetable that is known for providing several health benefits thanks to its antioxidant properties and fibre. Cauliflower is also high in vitamin K, vitamin C, folate, and vitamin B6, and is also a good source of minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus. Cauliflower is versatile, as it can be roasted, steamed, mashed, turned into a sauce or even used as a low-carb substitute for rice or potatoes. However, boiling and blanching can cause nutrient loss while stir-frying and microwaving preserves more nutrients and chemicals. Cauliflower can be incorporated into the diet in several ways, including cauliflower rice, mashed cauliflower, and cauliflower pizza crust. Although there are no specific recommendations regarding cauliflower intake, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends consuming 1.5 to 2.5 cups of dark green vegetables, which includes cauliflower, per week. Possible side effects of eating cauliflower include feeling gassy or bloated, especially when consumed raw, as it can be difficult to digest. Although it’s very rare, some cases of cauliflower allergy have been documented.. Goitrogens found in cauliflower can interfere with the normal function of the thyroid gland. Overall, cauliflower is a versatile and healthy vegetable that can easily be added to one's diet in various ways.


  1. Ahmed FA, Ali RFM. Bioactive compounds and antioxidant activity of fresh and processed white cauliflower. Biomed Res Int [Internet]. 2013 [cited 2023 Aug 18];2013:367819. Available from:
  2. Linus Pauling Institute [Internet]. 2014 [cited 2023 Aug 18]. Cruciferous vegetables. Available from:
  3. Scott O, Galicia-Connolly E, Adams D, Surette S, Vohra S, Yager JY. The safety of cruciferous plants in humans: a systematic review. J Biomed Biotechnol [Internet]. 2012 [cited 2023 Aug 18];2012:503241. Available from:
  4. Goitrogen - an overview | sciencedirect topics [Internet]. [cited 2023 Aug 18]. Available from:
  5. Bajaj JK, Salwan P, Salwan S. Various possible toxicants involved in thyroid dysfunction: a review. J Clin Diagn Res [Internet]. 2016 Jan [cited 2023 Aug 18];10(1):FE01–3. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Joana Carneiro

Masters of Public Health - Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública, Lisboa

Joana is a recent graduate, who has a Degree in Biomedical Sciences and a Master's Degree in Public Health. She has more than two years of experience working as a healthcare professional in both private and public settings and more than 4 years of experience working as a volunteer in a non-profit organization, helping disadvantaged communities. Joana is passionate about public health, specifically about everything related to health education, health communication and health equity. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
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