Cauliflower: Good for Your Brain and Heart

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Cauliflower is an annual plant belonging to the cabbage family and is a close relative of kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. It originated from Asia and spread to other regions of the world as more people discovered its edibility. Ancient records show that cauliflower has been cultivated for almost a thousand years especially in the Turkey region. The vegetable became popular in Europe in the 16th century and caught on four decades later in the US. Today, China and the US are leading producers of cauliflower.

In its early stages, cauliflower looks like broccoli. However, as the two plants grow, the differences begin to show. Broccoli opens outward to reveal green florets while cauliflower curls inwards to form a tight flowerhead. The tiny white florets are protected from direct sunlight by leaves surrounding the head. Since chlorophyll cannot form without sunlight, the flowerhead remains white, however, some varieties have purple, orange or green flowerheads.

The purple and orange varieties are said to develop their unique colors due to the presence of anthocyanins while the green variety is said to have been crossbred with broccoli. Anthocyanins are flavonoids that give plants purple, red, orange and red colors.

Cauliflower thrives in clay-like, mildly acidic but fertile soil. It requires sufficient watering and sunlight for optimal growth and flowering.

Though cauliflower’s leaves are edible, it’s the white florets in a tightly packed head that the plant is known for. The florets can be eaten raw, stir-fried, added to soups or cooked.

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Normally, cauliflower gives off a strong odor when cooking just like other vegetables in the cruciferous family. The pungent smell results from the presence of sulfur compounds in these vegetables known as glucosinolates.

Cauliflower is not among the blossoms that are considered pretty. However, in spite of its seemingly bland appearance, the flowerhead is highly nutritious and is considered among the most nutritious plants on the planet. It is an ideal source of vitamin C, folate, and vitamin K.

Vitamins C and K are antioxidants that neutralize the effect of free radicals which are compounds that damage normal cells and contribute to the development of conditions such as cancer and cardiovascular problems. Folate helps in cell development and metabolism. The flower also contains fiber which enhances digestion and promotes weight loss.

Apart from antioxidants, cauliflower is famous for containing choline, an important nutrient that is required by the body for neurodevelopment. While the body is known to make a little choline, most of it comes from the food you eat.

Though choline is utilized by the body for many other functions, it is mostly known for boosting cognitive abilities. Studies have shown that consumption of choline during pregnancy supercharges the brain activity of animals in the uterus. Some schools of thought seem to hold that choline may help in reducing the possibility of developing age-related memory loss.

Cauliflower may look bland compared to popular flowers such as roses but this plant packs a powerful nutritional punch compared to its good-looking rivals.

Cauliflower is good for your brain and heart
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Cauliflower: Good for your brain and heart
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Cauliflower: Good for your brain and heart
Description
Cauliflower is an annual plant belonging to the cabbage family and is a close relative of kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. It originated from Asia and spread to other regions of the world as more people discovered its edibility. Ancient records show that cauliflower has been cultivated for almost a thousand years especially in the Turkey region. The vegetable became popular in Europe in the 16th century and caught on four decades later in the US. Today, China and the US are leading producers of cauliflower.
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