Cauliflower Nutrition Facts

Calories, Carbs, and Health Benefits of Cauliflower

cauliflower nutrition facts and health benefits

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

With the rise of low-carb, ketogenic, and Paleo diets, cauliflower has become an increasingly popular and versatile non-starchy vegetable. Cauliflower is often referred to as the "king" of the Brassica family because it packs a lot of fiber and cancer-fighting nutrients. While its family origins date back more than 2,000 years, cauliflower became popular in Europe during the 1500s. (It was also favored by King Louis XIV, who reportedly demanded it be served at all state dinners.) The name means "cabbage flower," coming from the Latin "caulis" (stalk) and "floris" (flower). 

Once strictly a white vegetable, you can now find green, orange, and purple varieties of this cruciferous (named for the cross-shaped flowers) cousin of broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Cauliflower is available year round, but its peak season is late summer through late fall.

​​Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for one cup (107g) of raw, chopped cauliflower.

  • Calories: 27
  • Fat: 0.3g
  • Sodium: 32mg
  • Carbohydrates: 5g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sugars: 2g
  • Protein: 2g

Carbs in Cauliflower

Like all vegetables, cauliflower is a carb. But it's the non-starchy, complex kind with lots of fiber and low amounts of natural sugar. One cup contains about a sixth of the carbs as the same amount of cooked pasta or rice, so it's a great option for people with diabetes or anyone counting carbs. 

Fats in Cauliflower

Cauliflower has only a trace amount of fat and is cholesterol-free.

Protein in Cauliflower

Cauliflower has a minimal amount of protein. You should include other protein sources in your diet to meet your daily needs.

Micronutrients in Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a good source of folate, a B vitamin that's needed to make DNA and other genetic material, as well as for your cells to divide. It's also an excellent source of bone-boosting vitamin K and immune-enhancing vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps protect cells from inflammation that can lead to chronic illness. 

Health Benefits

Cauliflower delivers a healthy dose of fiber, which provides a slew of benefits, from helping you maintain a healthy weight to lowering your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer.

Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower also contain a group of substances known as glucosinolates, sulfur-containing chemicals that are responsible for the pungent aroma and bitter flavor of cruciferous vegetables. These chemicals also break down to form compounds that research has shown may help protect against several forms of cancer. 

Common Questions

How do I buy cauliflower?

Choose cauliflower that has firm, compact heads that are tightly closed. The florets should not have any yellowing, as this is an indication that the cauliflower is overly mature. Any attached leaves should be bright green and crisp. Reject any heads that show signs of softness, because that's the start of spoilage. For the best flavor, eat cauliflower as soon as possible—precut florets don't store well and are best when eaten within a day of purchase.

How do I store it to maximize freshness?

Cauliflower is extremely perishable and should be kept cold and tightly wrapped. Store it in the crisper section of the refrigerator in its original packaging. Don't wash cauliflower until you're ready to cook it. Brown speckling is a sign of oxidation, which happens as a result of prolonged exposure to light and air and occurs naturally the longer cauliflower is stored. You can cut away the occasional brown spot, but if this discoloration appears throughout the head (a sign of spoilage), it's best to toss the whole vegetable.

Recipes and Preparation Tips

Raw cauliflower can be broken up into small florets to add crunch to salads or to munch on as a snack with low-fat dressing or dip. Cauliflower can also be cooked whole, pulsed, or cut up into florets for steaming, sautéing, blanching, stir-frying, and roasting. It can easily substitute for starchier foods, such as potatoes and rice, and is more nutritious, adding vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. If you make cauliflower "rice" as a substitution for the rice grain, you've easily added an extra vegetable to your meal for fewer calories and carbohydrates.

Allergies and Interactions

Allergic reactions to cauliflower aren't common, although there was one reported case of an anaphylactic reaction to cauliflower in 2005. If you think you're allergic to cauliflower avoid eating it and talk to your doctor to determine the source of the problem. 

Those with thyroid problems should avoid eating large amounts of cauliflower and cabbage. They both interfere with the body's absorption of iodine, which is needed by the thyroid gland. 

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