Top Cauliflower Benefits + Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 10/03/22 •  10 min read

What are cauliflower benefits and side effects every ethical consumer must know? Here are cauliflower pros and cons and how buying them will impact your health, the environment, animals and laborers. 

cauliflower benefits and side effects

Food is something we consume every day and if you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on cauliflower benefits and side effects.

You are going to learn all about cauliflower benefits and side effects. This will include cauliflower benefits for your health and potential risks, cauliflower water footprint and carbon footprint, sustainability, if cauliflower is vegan or impact animals in other ways, and much more. 

After learning if cauliflower is good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be able to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.

This post is all about cauliflower benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.

Must-Know Cauliflower Benefits And Side Effects


Cauliflower health benefits may include:

Additionally, cauliflower is…

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Water footprint: low, it takes 285 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of cauliflower / 35 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of cauliflower

Carbon footprint: low, 0.31 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of fresh cauliflower, a car driving equivalent of 0.75 miles or 1.25 kilometers

Destruction: low, cauliflower production is relatively sustainable, there is no significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc., be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc.

Cauliflower is…


Kills: none, cauliflower production does not require any animals

Harms: none, cauliflower production does not require any animals

Indirectly kills or harms: none, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Cauliflower is…

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Health and safety: overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: laborers often experience exploitation, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits


The world’s top cauliflower producing country is China, followed by India and USA.

In the United States, California is the major cauliflower-producing state with about 90% of the supply. Arizona is second, followed by New York.

The world’s top cauliflower exporting country is Spain. Then the USA, Mexico, France, Italy, Guatemala, Netherlands, Kenya, Canada and UK.

Yes! Cauliflower is high in fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, antioxidants and phytonutrients.

cauliflower is alkaline.

acidic foods and alkaline diet benefits that improve ph levels

Is cauliflower alkaline or acidic?

Cauliflower is alkaline.

What is the pH level of cauliflower?

Cauliflower has an 8.0 pH level, once digested.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

cauliflower is gluten free.

glutinous foods have side effects but a gluten free diet can help

Is cauliflower gluten free?

Yes, cauliflower is gluten free. Cauliflower does not contain gluten.

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

cauliflower is not a common food allergen.

side effects of common food allergens like milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Is cauliflower a common food allergen?

No, cauliflower is not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to cauliflower but it is relatively rare by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

cauliflower is a high-fodmap food.

fodmap friendly food

Is cauliflower FODMAP friendly?

No. Cauliflower is a high-FODMAP food so you should limit or eliminate it while on a low-FODMAP diet. 

A low FODMAP diet may help those with bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).

It’s all about knowing your body. Observe what works and what doesn’t. You body might even react negatively to a low-FODMAP food simply due to intolerance. Everyone is different! Be mindful and patient. Take time to get to know what’s best for your physical health and overall wellbeing.

See this High-FODMAP and Low-FODMAP List of Foods.

cauliflower has a low water footprint.

water footprints of food and products

Does cauliflower have a high or low water footprint?

Cauliflower has a low water footprint compared to other foods.

What is the water footprint of cauliflower?

It takes around 285 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of cauliflower / 35 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of cauliflower.

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource?

How much water does it take to produce an apple? Or a serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of “water footprints”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

cauliflower has a low carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Does cauliflower have a high or low carbon footprint?

Cauliflower has a low carbon footprint compared to other foods.

What is the carbon footprint of cauliflower?

It takes around 0.31 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of fresh cauliflower, a car driving equivalent of 0.75 miles or 1.25 kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

cauliflower is sustainable.

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

Overall, is cauliflower eco friendly? Is cauliflower sustainable?

Cauliflower production is relatively sustainable. Be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc. when using regenerative practices.

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. Furthermore, the industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

cauliflower is vegan.

benefits of vegan food to eat on a vegan diet which helps save animals

Is cauliflower vegan?

Yes, cauliflower is vegan. Cauliflower is a vegetable and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. 

Animals of factory farming suffer. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. In fact, growth hormones allow all kinds of animals to become fatter faster and live short lives.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non Vegan Foods List

cauliflower is a product that may or may not have labor issues.

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Is cauliflower a product that has labor issues?

At this time, there are no specific reports of worker mistreatment regarding cauliflower farming but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Cauliflower may or may not have labor issues.

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. Additionally, fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. So we can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade.



SNAP-Ed Connection – USDA

Cauliflower, raw – FoodData Central – USDA

Adriane Marie

Hi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.

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