The fashion of cauliflower: is there a problem?Dave Smith
It’s funny because it’s a bit absurd: that a vegetable that, not too long ago, could have been voted “most likely left in a vegetable tray” suddenly shot to the fame of lovers of food. Food, transforming into everything from pizza dough to Buffalo wings. “This trend is a good thing, right?
First, a misunderstanding to correct: white vegetables are reputed to be weak from a nutritional point of view, but that is not the case, especially with cauliflower. It is a cruciferous vegetable related to broccoli, and the compounds that produce a strong smell when cooked are the same that give it its possible properties to fight cancer. The vegetable is also a surprisingly good source of vitamin C and contains a couple of grams of fiber per cup, in addition to potassium and folic acid.
It is likely that the increase in popularity is due to low crab and vegan diets, and people are looking for versions of their favorites, either without grains or without meat or animal products. Cauliflower is a relatively soft vegetable, and it is also versatile: you can cut it into “rice”, roast thick slices such as “fillets”, bread and bake it in “nuggets,” pulverize it and form it into “bread sticks,” or even turn the Frozen flowers in a smoothie to add volume (seriously, it’s good!).
As a dietitian, I love trends that mean eating more vegetables, since most people do not meet daily recommendations. And if cauliflower can help people manage a special diet, I agree.
Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable and contains a carbohydrate called raffinose that the body cannot fully digest. For some people, that can cause gas. In addition, the fiber in cauliflower, while good for the body, can also cause gas and bloating. That is especially true if you were not eating a diet high in fiber and suddenly you add a lot of cauliflower. Give your body time to adjust by gradually increasing the amount of fiber you eat (and drinking lots of water).
Cauliflower is also a source of vitamin K, which helps with blood clotting. Some people who take anticoagulant medications (such as warfarin) are advised to consume a diet low in vitamin K, and the National Institutes of Health warns that a sudden change in vitamin K intake can cause bleeding. Cauliflower does not have nearly as much K as vegetables such as spinach and Brussels sprouts, so standard cauliflower portions are probably not a problem. But if you start eating a lot daily and take blood thinners, it is advisable to check with your doctor just to be sure.
Finally, a warning that the fact that something is gluten or vegan free does not make it healthy, nutritious or low in calories. There is no doubt that a plate of cauliflower “rice” is much lower in calories than the real one, but that is not the same for everything. I recently tried a cauliflower dough pizza in a restaurant that was tasty, and then I noticed that it actually had the same calories and even a little more fat than normal crust. And a cauliflower crust feels a bit out of place if it’s loaded with, for example, bacon, sausages and extra cheese. Oh, and cauliflower-made brownies are, well, still brownies. So go ahead and use cauliflower in all kinds of ways, but also use common sense!
Tags: Ingredients, cauliflower, vegetables, healthy eating, healthy swaps