What Are the Benefits of Cauliflower & Broccoli?

by Cynthia Myers


Cauliflower and broccoli belong to the group of plants known as cruciferous vegetables. Along with cabbage, Brussels sprouts and turnips, these crunchy, colorful vegetables contain healthful compounds that may help fight cancer. You can eat broccoli and cauliflower raw, steamed, stir-fried or cooked in casseroles. When shopping for these vegetables, choose firm heads with tightly closed buds, or opt for frozen broccoli or cauliflower.


Broccoli and cauliflower are both good sources of vitamin C. According to the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, a half cup of chopped, cooked broccoli contains as much vitamin C as a half cup of orange juice. A half-cup serving of cauliflower provides 45 percent of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C. Broccoli also contains vitamin A in the form of beta carotene.


Broccoli contains 89 milligrams of calcium per half-cup serving, making it a good source of this essential mineral for vegans and others who can't or don't consume milk products. Broccoli also contains folic acid and iron. Cauliflower contains potassium, a mineral essential for muscle and bone development.

Cancer Fighting Properties

Cauliflower, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables contain compounds known as isothiocyanates, which inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Researchers at the University of California, Berkley, reported that isothiocyanates inhibited the growth of breast tumors in humans. A study by L.J. Wang and other researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, reported in "Cancer Causes & Control," found that people whose genetic makeup made them more likely to develop lung cancer were less likely to develop the cancer if they ate cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower. Researchers are working to create cancer treatments from the isothiocyanates in cruciferous vegetables.

Low in Calories

Cauliflower and broccoli provide a lot of nutrition for very few calories. Broccoli has only 23 calories per half-cup serving, while a half cup of cooked cauliflower contains only 15 calories. Both vegetables are fat free and sodium free.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.