Broccoli vs. Cauliflower: Health Benefits

Medically Reviewed on 5/23/2022

Which one is healthier: cauliflower or broccoli?

Broccoli vs. Cauliflower
Studies suggest that both broccoli and cauliflower are excellent food options for your health.

Both cauliflower and broccoli are two of the most widely consumed cruciferous vegetables. Both are quite nutritious, satiating, and low-calorie foods.

Both broccoli and cauliflower are excellent dietary options. Broccoli has the additional benefit of being rich in lutein, which is good for eye health. They are low in calories and provide various nutrients including protein, minerals, and vitamins in the diet. They are rich in fiber that helps promote overall health.

Though broccoli has a higher concentration of some nutrients, such as protein, calcium, iron, and some vitamins, it does not mean that you need to replace cauliflower with broccoli in your diet.

A diet that includes lean protein, dairy, fruits, and vegetables provides for most of your nutritional needs. Thus, either or both of these vegetables can be included in a wholesome diet. You may choose one over the other based on the availability of these fresh vegetables in your area. In most places, broccoli is more expensive than cauliflower. Thus, you can choose to eat the latter more often if it fits your pocket.

Broccoli vs. cauliflower nutrition chart

Table. Nutrients in cauliflower and broccoli
Nutrients Cauliflower (1 cup raw, 110 grams) Broccoli (1 cup, raw, 91 grams)
Water 101 grams 81.3 grams
Energy 27.5 kcal 30.9 kcal
Total carbohydrates 5.47 grams 6.04 grams
Sugars 2.1 grams 1.55 grams
Fiber 2.2 grams 2.37 grams
Protein 2.11 grams 2.57 grams
Fats 0.31 grams 0.34 grams
Calcium 24.2 mg 42.8 mg
Iron 0.46 mg 0.66 mg
Magnesium 16.5 mg 19.1 mg
Phosphorous 48.4 mg 60.1 mg
Zinc 0.30 mg 0.37 mg
Selenium 0.66 µg 2.28 µg
Sodium 33 mg 30 mg
Potassium 329 mg 288 mg
Thiamin 0.05 mg 0.06 mg
Riboflavin 0.06 mg 0.11 mg
Niacin 0.56 mg 0.58 mg
B6 0.20 mg 0.16 mg
Folate 62.7 µg 57.3 µg
Choline 48.7 mg 17 mg
B12 0 0
Vitamin A 0 28.2 µg
Vitamin K 17 µg 92.8 µg
Vitamin E 0.08 mg 0.71 mg
Lutein + zeaxanthin 1.1 µg 1270 µg
Vitamin C 53 mg 81.2 mg


Foods That Aren't as Healthy as You Think See Slideshow

What are cruciferous vegetables?

Cruciferous vegetables are a class of vegetables that belong to the mustard family (Brassicaceae) of flowering plants. Many of the plants belonging to this family are eaten as vegetables while some are grown as ornamental plants (such as candytuft).

Cruciferous vegetables are named so because their flowers have petals arranged in the form of a cross (cruciform). They are popular for their nutritional benefits and include:

  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Turnip
  • Napa cabbage
  • Kohlrabi
  • Horseradish
  • White mustard
  • Radish
  • Wasabi

How can I include cauliflower and broccoli in my diet?

Cauliflower and broccoli are versatile vegetables that you can include in various recipes. They do not have a strong taste and thus can be made based on your liking by adding the condiments and spices of choice.

Some of the suggestions for consuming these vegetables are:

  • Cauliflower rice
  • Broccoli soup
  • Baked cauliflower or broccoli
  • Steam and add them to salads
  • Marinate them with low-fat yogurt and spices and grill them to make delicious starters or side dishes
  • Pizza using finely grated cauliflower as a base instead of flour
  • As a part of sauteed vegetables
  • Stuff them in your sandwiches
  • Steam them and add some spices to enjoy as a snack with yogurt dip or hummus
  • Add them to pasta, rice, or quinoa to add bulk and nutrition

8 health benefits of cauliflower and broccoli

Both cauliflower and broccoli are considered superfoods. Their health benefits include:

  1. Good for cardiovascular health: Both cauliflower and broccoli help improve heart health and blood pressure. The potassium and antioxidants present in these vegetables help regulate blood pressure and improve the health of the heart and blood vessels. They help lower blood cholesterol levels and the risk of heart diseases and stroke.
  2. Keep gut healthy: Both are rich in fiber. This helps promote healthy bowel movements and the growth of “good bacteria” in the gut. This helps reduce or prevent the risk of gut issues, such as constipation and indigestion.
  3. Improve immunity: Broccoli and cauliflower are loaded with essential vitamins and antioxidants. They help strengthen the immune system, which can consequently lower the risk of various infections. The vitamin C in these vegetables is particularly great for a strong immune response.
  4. Promote healthy vision: Vitamin A, lutein, and zeaxanthin and the mineral selenium help promote healthy vision. They protect the eyes from the damaging effect of free radicals and thus promote eye health.
  5. Improve bone and muscle health: Calcium, vitamin K, magnesium, and phosphorous present in cauliflower and broccoli are needed for healthy and strong bones, teeth, and muscles.
  6. Help manage weight: Being low in calories, broccoli and cauliflower are preferable options for weight watchers. These vegetables are high in fiber and thus, promote satiety. Several low-calorie foods can be prepared by substituting ingredients, such as potatoes or meat, with cauliflower or broccoli. They will help you stay full and prevent bingeing.
  7. Promote brain health: These vegetables are rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. These compounds help protect the brain against various damaging free radicals and promote healthy brain functioning. Because broccoli and cauliflower help regulate blood cholesterol and pressure, they help lower the risk of stroke. Some studies suggest that they may help lower the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s. A study published in the journal Nature Communications suggests that cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower, can lower Alzheimer’s risk by reducing the levels of harmful tau protein in the brain.
  8. May protect against cancer: Studies suggest that broccoli and cauliflower may help protect against colon, breast, prostate, lung, and pancreatic cancer. Carotenoids and glucosinolates present in these vegetables protect the cells from oxidative damage. This kind of damage can alter the DNA of the cell leading to uncontrolled growth of cells, which consequently leads to cancer.


Studies suggest that both broccoli and cauliflower are excellent food options for your health. You may choose them according to your taste preferences, their availability, and the cost of these vegetables in your area. You can include them along with various other vegetables, fruits, nuts, dairy, and lean protein sources to ensure optimal nutrition.

Instead of sticking to one particular vegetable, it is recommended to include various fruits and vegetables in your diet so that you get the benefits of them all. Including a variety of whole foods ensures that you stay healthy while not getting bored of the same repetitive foods.


According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.” See Answer

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Medically Reviewed on 5/23/2022
Image Source: iStock image

URMC Communications. Could Cabbage and Broccoli Help in the Fight Against Alzheimer’s?

Manchali S, Murthy KNC, Patil BS. Crucial facts about health benefits of popular cruciferous vegetables. J Funct Foods;2012 4(1): 94-106.

FoodData Central. Cauliflower, raw.

FoodData Central. Broccoli, raw.

National Institutes of Health. Cruciferous Vegetables and Cancer Prevention.