Cauliflower has always been considered a healthy vegetable with a significant amount of nutrients. It also contains plant compounds that help reduce the risk of some diseases, including heart disease and cancer. Recently, it has been used as a substitute for white rice as a way to cut back on carbs. But, is it actually healthy? When a specific type of food becomes trendy, it’s hard to know if it’s actually healthy.
The widespread rise of cauliflower rice is connected to the rise of the paleo diet and other eating trends that are limit or eliminate carbs. Paleo diet is a diet that is based on consuming foods that are similar to what we might have been eating during the Paleolithic era, which is estimated to be over 2 million years ago. In general, a paleo diet consists of lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. These are generally thought to be the types of foods could have been easily obtained through hunting and gathering.
The special twist with the paleo diet is that it eliminates food that became common when humans started farming, around 10,000 years ago. Foods from farming include dairy products, legumes, and grains. According to the theory, the fact that the human diet changed relatively late and very quick, our bodies were outpaced in its ability to adapt. This is believed to be a huge contributing reason for the frequency of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease in modern times.
Despite the fact that there are no long standing clinical studies about the benefits and potential risks of the diet, millions of Americans are following some form of the paleo diet. So, what is the significance of cauliflower rice? Well, considering that traditional rice is the third-most-produced agricultural commodity in the world, as is also a grain, it is a no-no for anyone following the paleo diet. Rice is high in carbohydrates, which makes it tough to incorporate in any diet focused on cutting down on carbs.
Many of us, even Americans, are used to having their meals with a side of rice, so cutting it out seems virtually impossible. Cauliflower is essentially a low-carb substitute for traditional rice and is essentially just cauliflower that has been grated down into rice-like granules (look below for recipes). It can be eaten raw, but it’s usually lightly cooked to soften it up and create a texture more akin to traditional rice. All you can really do is make it yourself, or you can buy it pre-made at a grocery store.
Like most vegetables, cauliflower is very healthy, and a cup of boiled cauliflower has around 28 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrates. A diet high in fiber has a lot of benefits. Fiber helps us normalize our bowel movements and health, lower cholesterol levels, control blood sugar, and aid in weight loss. Fiber also slows down digestion, helping you feel fuller for a longer period of time. Cauliflower also contains vitamin B-6, which is important for brain development and proper function of our nervous and immune systems. The vitamin C in the vegetable helps the body form protein to make skin, tendons, and blood vessels. Benefits of Vitamin C also include:
- Antioxidant, which means that it fights against the internal damage caused by free radicals
- Helps repair bones, cartilage. and teeth
- Aids in the absorption of iron
- Helps heal wounds and make scar tissue
Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable, the same family as broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, and cabbage. Cruciferous vegetables are extremely healthy and since cauliflower rice is almost entirely made of cauliflower, it is definitely a great dish to add to your diet. And even cooking cauliflower rice in some olive oil or butter isn’t going to bring down the nutrition either, including adding some seasoning. It’s always better to make your own food, it’s important to note that the nutrition of most pre-packaged cauliflower rice products is good as well.
Cauliflower rice packed with a number of antioxidants and vitamins. It’s a simple dish, which is perfect for those of us who struggle with cooking. Cauliflower rice is leaps better than all of the ultra-processed foods that make up the majority of the average American diet. Check out a few easy-to-follow ways to make your own cauliflower below!
Easy Ways to Enjoy Cauliflower Rice
Food processor: Add the cauliflower florets to the food processor, which does the work for you. Pulse the cauliflower until it’s turned into rice-sized pieces.
Cheese grater: Just you grate cheese, all you have to do is move the florets up and down the grater.
Store Bought: Ok, so it’s obvious by now that you can find cauliflower rice at almost any grocery store. Frozen cauliflower rice is great to keep in your freezer when you need a quick idea for dinner time.