Cauliflower is a type of vegetable with a significant source of numerous nutrients. Although not grown in Rwanda, the vegetable is easily accessible in most local markets at affordable prices.
Not so many people are aware of the vegetable however; this is why very few include it in their daily diet. Nutritionists however say because of its many nutritious benefits, cauliflower should be a must have on everyone’s diet.
Private Kamanzi, a nutritionist at Amazon Cabinet Clinic in Remera says the vegetable is nutritious and healthy; therefore, there is a need for one to start including it in their diets.
One of its importance, he says is that it has a lot of vitamin K and fibres. Both of these essential nutrients he says are needed for the proper functioning of the digestive system.
Digestive diseases are related to health problems that occur in the digestive tract. Kamanzi says these conditions may range from mild to serious. Some of these conditions include cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, and lactose intolerance, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcer disease and hernia.
For those people having ulcers or gastric problems, he says extracting the juice from the cauliflower and taking it three times a day ensures the conditions to be kept at bay; and also prevents them from recurring.
He explains that this is because of its vitamin A nutrient that the vegetable has and that this can help repair the lining of the stomach, and if it has been damaged, the vegetable can help in its healing process.
Kamanzi says because of its high amount of fibre, it also reduces the risk of several chronic diseases.
He explains that fibre is important because it feeds the healthy bacteria in the gut that helps reduce inflammation and promote digestive health.
“Consuming enough fibre may help prevent digestive conditions like constipation, diverticulitis and inflammatory bowel disease,’ he says.
Moreover, studies have shown that a diet high in fibre-rich vegetables like cauliflower is linked with a lower risk of several illnesses, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes among others.
Fibre may also play a role in obesity prevention due to its ability to promote fullness and reduce overall calorie intake.
Used in nutrition therapies
Joseph Uwiragiye, head of nutrition department at University Teaching Hospital (CHUK) says this vegetable is in most cases used in the nutrition therapy.
Nutrition therapy is the treatment of a medical condition through changes in diet, by adjusting quantity, quality and methods of nutrient intake.
Its ability to treat different disorders makes it one of the best options for nutrition therapy, he adds.
He says the vegetable can play a role in reducing the uric acid in the blood for those people with a medical condition known as gout.
“This is a disease that comes about due to high uric acid in the blood and it affects the bones (causes the degradation of the bones),” he explains.
Uwiragiye further notes that, because this vegetable doesn’t contain any sugar, it has a low glycaemic index and hence the best option for those individuals suffering from diabetes.
He however says that it’s better to be used when it’s raw and the only way to do it is by extracting juice from it.
“This is important when it comes to maximizing its benefits and also, because most of the time people don’t like it in salads because of its tasteless nature,” he says.
People with diabetes and ulcers, he says are normally recommended to take cauliflower juice alongside olive oil, because this way, it increases its effectiveness and that this is how it is recommended for consumption when it is part of nutrition therapy.
Kamanzi says when one wants to reduce weight, taking three glasses of cauliflower juice with ginger; three times a day can ensure the best results.
Besides, he says cauliflower has several properties which can help reduce weight.
First, he says it is low in calories with only 25 calories per cup; therefore one can consume a lot of them without gaining weight.
“It can also serve as a low-calorie substitute for high-calorie foods, such as rice and flour. As a good source of fibre, cauliflower slows digestion, this may automatically reduce the number of calories one takes in throughout the day, which is an important factor when it comes to weight control,” he says.
He notes that high water content is another weight loss friendly aspect of cauliflower. In fact, 92 percent of its weight is made up of water.
Consuming foods with lots of water and low-calorie is associated with weight loss according to many studies and research.