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Winter is almost over, but there is still time to make the most of the fruit and veggies the cooler months have to offer. 

Cauliflower

Move over kale because cauliflower is having a moment. Data reveals it’s now used as an ingredient across 36 different grocery categories, covering everything from dried pasta to frozen foods. Cauliflower’s rising popularity is no doubt thanks to its favourable nutrient profile, with one cup containing 25 calories and 3g of fibre – that’s about 10% of our daily needs – as well as 77% vitamin C and 20% vitamin K among other nutrients. 

High in fibre

Fibre promotes positive digestive health by feeding the good bacteria and preventing digestive diseases such as constipation, diverticulitis and irritable bowel disease. Fibre also contributes to feelings of fullness, which can aid in weight loss and obesity prevention. Furthermore, many of the foods now made from cauliflower are substitutions for carbohydrate- and calorie-dense foods such as rice and flour. 

Antioxidants

Like other cruciferous vegetables, cauliflower is a rich source of cancer-fighting antioxidants – in particular, glucosinolates and isothiocyanates. These have been shown to protect against specific cancers including colon, lung, breast and prostate. Caulis also contain sulforaphane, which has been shown to suppress cancer development by inhibiting the enzymes involved in cancer and tumour development.

Best eaten

Cauliflower has come a long way from the humble cauli bake. These days it can often be found as cauliflower rice or even pizza crusts, and it can replace chickpeas in hummus, flour in tortillas, potatoes in mash and even be served as a “steak”. Alternatively, for a delicious salad, simply roast the florets and serve with chopped almonds, pomegranate arils, olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Or, check out this soup recipe.

Leeks

Leeks are a lesser-known yet equally nutritious member of the allium family, alongside the more familiar onions and garlic. They’re a good source of vitamins A, C and K, manganese, fibre, B6, iron and folate, as well as antioxidants including flavonoids and allium sulphur compounds. The allium vegetable family has numerous health benefits due to its anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial properties. 

Vitamin K

One cup of leeks contains around 47% of the daily intake of vitamin K for women, making them a good source of this valuable nutrient. Vitamin K plays an essential role in regulating blood flow in the body, by acting as a cofactor in blood clotting and thus preventing excessive bleeding. It also has a role to play in preventing osteoporosis by activating osteocalcin, a key protein involved in bone formation.

Best eaten

With their slightly sweet and milder flavour, leeks are perhaps best known for their hero role in potato and leek soup. However, they can really be used anywhere you’d use onions. Enjoy raw in salads or sauté or roast them. This helps bring out their sweet flavour and makes them a great addition to soups, quiches, pies and roasts.

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