Nutrient Decline in Cauliflower


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The nutrient content in cauliflower has been tracked by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for decades and tends to show a decline in nutrient content. Compared with 1950, cauliflower from 1999 showed nearly a 60% decline in iron, a 37% decline in phosphorous and riboflavin, and a 31% decline in vitamin C. None of these differences are statistically significant, but they are in line with a larger trend in nutrient decline as we describe in more detail here. The trend is driven in part by the use of hybrid seed. Hybrid vegetables might be bred to store better or travel farther but breeder sacrifice nutritional content (and flavor too) in the process. You can act in your own life by gardening and by growing heirloom produce when you do. For heirloom seed, check out the Sustainable Seed Company.

Change in Nutrients for Cauliflower

In the table presented below we present the nutrient content of cauliflower from 1950 and 1999. The 1950 values for cauliflower are adjusted for water content — a sample with more water will bias the results. These nutrient indicators are based on a small number of data points and none of the individual differences are statistically different from one another, but all together, they suggest that nutrients have decreased in small garden produce.

Nutrient Change In Cauliflower

Nutrient
1950*
1999
Calories
24.4
25
Protein
2.34
1.98
Fat
.19
.21
Carbohydrates
4.8
5.2
Ash
.78
.71
Calcium
21.44
22
Phosphorus
70.18
44
Iron
1.07
.44
Vitamin A
.
Thiamin
.11
.057
Riboflavin
.1
.063
Niacin
.58
.53
Vitamin C
67.25
46.4

*The 1950 data is adjusted for water content.

Creative Commons License: Share the Knowledge

The graphs used to present differences in nutrients in garden crops on the Traditional Foods site, including change in cauliflower, can be posted for noncommercial use with a link back to this cauliflower page or to the our page that discusses the data project here: nutrient decline.

Source of Data

The historical measures on the nutritional content of garden crops has been archived and made available by the USDA. It was also examined by Davis, Epp, and Riordan whose analyses we describe on this website. We adjusted the 1950 cauliflower nutrient content so that the water content of the 1950 and 1999 samples would be comparable, as did Davis, Epp, and Riordan.

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