10 Health Benefits of Cabbage

1 – Is Cabbage Good For Weight Loss?

Cabbage is largely associated with weight loss because of the cabbage soup diet. The cabbage soup diet is a crash diet which requires eating large amounts of cabbage soup for a week. Because the cabbage soup diet limits calories, it can be quick and effective for losing weight.

But the cabbage soup diet is nutritionally incomplete, so should not be adhered to for more than a week at a time.

Contrary to some reports, cabbage does not actually burn body fat. Even though cabbage will not burn fat from your body, it’s still an ideal addition to any weight loss diet. Cabbage is low in calories and high in dietary fiber. Dietary fiber helps to control appetite and keep blood sugar levels stable.

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2 – Cabbage Juice for Ulcers

Cabbage juice was first shown in a small 1949 study to be effective in the treatment of peptic ulcers. The average healing time for six patients with gastric ulcer treated with cabbage juice was only 7.3 days. Compared to 42 days for patients treated by standard therapy.

Other research has confirmed that fresh cabbage juice is effective for treating peptic ulcers. The anti-ulcer component of cabbage was at first referred to as “vitamin U” but was later identified as glutamine. Glutamine is an amino acid important for the growth and regeneration of cells lining the gastrointestinal tract.

3 – Cabbage and Brain Health

Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin K, important for the metabolism of sphingolipids. Sphingolipids are an important class of lipids found in high concentrations in membranes of the brain cells. Alterations in sphingolipid metabolism are associated with age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Cabbage is also a good source of B vitamins, which slow shrinkage of the brain by lowering homocysteine. High homocysteine levels are a risk factor for brain shrinkage, cognitive impairment and dementia.

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4 – Cabbage and Bone Health

Dietary intake of nutrients such as the calcium, magnesium and potassium found in cabbage are important to bone health. The process of bone formation requires a constant and adequate supply of these nutrients. Inadequate dietary intake of nutrients increases the risk for bone loss and osteoporosis

The vitamin K in cabbage helps modify several bone matrix proteins. There is evidence that diets rich in vitamin K are associated with a lower risk of hip fracture.

5 – Cabbage and Cancer

Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage are rich in phytochemicals known as glucosinolates. Glucosinolates could help to protect against cancer. Cruciferous vegetables have more of these anticancer phytochemicals than any other vegetables. One of the main dietary recommendations of the American Cancer Society to lower cancer risk is the inclusion of cruciferous vegetables in the diet.

Cabbage is rich in the anti-cancer compounds sulforaphane, isothiocyanates, and indole-3-carbinole (I3C). Cabbage intake has been associated with a lower incidence of lung, colon, breast, and cervical cancer. Population studies have revealed that the greater the intake of vegetables from the cabbage family, the lower the rates of cancer. One such study revealed that women who consumed 3 or more portions of cabbage each week were 72% less likely to get breast cancer.

6 – Cabbage and Liver Health

Indole-3-carbinole plays an important role in detoxifying the liver. It helps to increase the detoxification mechanisms of the body. It also improves the ability to detoxify and rid harmful hormones and chemicals from the body. Indole-3-carbinol has also been shown to increase the rate at which estrogen is broken down by the liver by almost 50%.

7 – Cabbage and Blood Pressure

Dietary intake of potassium is important in controlling blood pressure. Unlike sodium, potassium is a vasodilator, and helps to counteract the negative effects of sodium on blood pressure.

8 – Cabbage and Eye Health

Cabbage, especially red cabbage, is an excellent source of the antioxidant beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A (retinol) in the body. Vitamin A helps to improve vision and is needed for the health of your eyes. Moderate Vitamin A deficiency can result in “night blindness”. Severe Vitamin A deficiency can result in dryness and opacity of the cornea.

9 – Cabbage and Skin Health

Vitamin A (retinol) is one of the most widely acknowledged nutrients for healthy skin. Retinol is an antioxidant, and fights the free radical damage, helping to prevent wrinkling and sagging skin.

Topical retinol is also effective for the management of eczema and acne.

Vitamin A deficiency can result in rough, dry skin, which can appear as rough bumps on the back of the arms.

Increasing dietary vitamin C can contribute to improved skin health. Research has shown that diets high in vitamin C are associated with less skin wrinkling and better skin appearance.

Vitamin C plays an important part in collagen synthesis, which is necessary for the extracellular stability of the skin.

A vitamin C deficiency can result in scurvy, which manifests at first as rough dry skin.

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10 – Cabbage and Cholesterol

The soluble fiber in cabbage helps to lower cholesterol by preventing it from being absorbed. Consuming 10 – 25 grams of soluble fiber each day is recommended as part of a cholesterol-lowering diet.

Nutrients in Cabbage

Cabbage is an excellent source of several nutrients. Especially potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folic acid, calcium, biotin, manganese and magnesium. Red cabbage also contains anthocyanins. This is a phytochemical also found in Bermuda onions, beets, and blueberries. Sauerkraut is an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin K, and a good source of potassium, iron, folate, and fiber.

Nutritional value of cabbage (boiled) per 100g:

  • How many calories in cabbage – 23
  • How much protein is in cabbage – 1.3g
  • How many carbs in cabbage – 6g
  • What is the fat content of cabbage – 0.1g

History of Cabbage

Cabbage belongs to the Brassicaceae family of vegetables. These include other vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale and cauliflower. There are over four hundred different varieties of cabbage to choose from. Some of the more popular varieties are red, green, savoy, bok choy, napa and Chinese cabbage.

The exact history of cabbage is difficult to trace, but it’s believed to have been domesticated before 1000 BC somewhere in Europe. The first pickled version of cabbage was made by soldiers in Mongolia and China. Pickled and fermented cabbage was taken by Hun and Mongol warriors to Europe.

Cabbage cultivation eventually spread from northern Europe into Poland, Germany, and Russia. The high vitamin C content of the fermented cabbage dish known as sauerkraut helped prevent scurvy for sailors. Early German settlers introduced cabbage and sauerkraut into the United States.

China, Poland, Japan and The Russian Federation are some of the leading producers of cabbage today.

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