Cabbage, despite its impressive nutrient content, is often overlooked compared to other leafy greens. It comes in a variety of shapes and colours including red, purple, white, and green with either smooth or crinkled leaves. It is loaded with vitamins and minerals that provide many health benefits.
Health benefits of cabbage
Cabbage is low in calories and high in fibre. It has Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, folate, manganese, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. It also contains powerful antioxidants that protect the body from damage caused by free radicals that damage cells.
Rich in vitamin C
It is packed with vitamin C which is extremely beneficial. Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron from plant-based foods, makes collagen to help wounds heal, and bolsters the immune system protecting the body from disease. The cabbage family has been associated with having immune benefits that help the cells attack invaders such as viruses. Vitamin C is high also in antioxidants.
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Better brain health
Research shows that older adults who eat at least one serving of cabbage or similar vegetables daily have brain ages that are an average of eleven years younger than those who rarely eat any. Eating vegetables promotes brain health and reduces the risk of developing dementia.
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Help decrease the risk of cancer
Cabbage has components that have been linked to a decreased risk of various types of cancers, notably colorectal cancer.
May keep inflammation in check
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to fight pathogens and protect against infection. However, inflammation becomes a problem when it is triggered even though there is no “intruder” to fight against. Chronic inflammation is linked to a variety of diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and inflammatory bowel syndrome. Vegetables like cabbage have antioxidants that have been shown to reduce inflammation.
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May keep heart healthy
Red cabbage contains powerful compounds called anthocyanins which have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease. One study found that people with a higher intake of anthocyanin-rich foods had a much lower risk of a heart attack.
Anthocyanins also lower the risk of coronary artery disease. Anthocyanin has anti-inflammatory properties and is responsible for the colour of red cabbage. Cabbage contains 36 different kinds of anthocyanins making it excellent for heart health.
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May lower blood pressure
High blood pressure affects more than a billion people worldwide and is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Potassium is an important nutrient in lowering blood pressure. Potassium helps excrete excess sodium through urine and relaxes the blood vessels which lowers blood pressure.
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Could help lower cholesterol levels
The body has good and bad cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is good and LDL cholesterol is bad cholesterol. Good cholesterol is essential for the body’s proper functioning, aiding in proper digestion and the synthesis of hormones and vitamin D. Heart disease is linked to elevated levels of bad ‘LDL’ cholesterol. Cabbage contains substances that have been shown to decrease unhealthy levels of LDL cholesterol.
Reduced risk of diabetes
A diet high in green leafy vegetables may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Support digestive tract
Fibre present in cabbage bulks up bowel movements and helps treat constipation. Fibre also promotes regular bowel movements and soluble fibre increases the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut. These bacteria protect the immune system and produce critical vitamins like B12 and K2. Cabbage may also help the body retain water which maintains the bulkiness of food as it moves through the bowels.
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Excellent source of vitamin K
It is rich in Vitamin K which is a hugely important nutrient when it comes to bone health. Vitamin K deficiency can lead to reduced bone strength and an increased risk of developing osteoporosis. Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and brittle so that even a small fall or mild stress such as bending over or coughing can cause a fracture. Vitamin K also plays an important role in blood clotting which prevents excessive bleeding.
Reduced breastfeeding discomfort
Many new mothers struggle with mastitis when breastfeeding. Mastitis is an infection of the breast resulting in pain, swelling, warmth, and redness. It is mainly a product of clogged milk ducts.
It is most common in pregnant women but can occur in men and women who are not breastfeeding. Multiple studies suggest that applying cabbage leaves to the breasts may reduce both pain and breast hardness. This could make it possible to continue breastfeeding despite initial obstacles.
Cabbage leaves have long been used as a poultice. Using them can ease skin eruptions caused by acne, psoriasis, eczema, boils, ulcers, wounds, insect bites, and rashes. They can be grated or blended then applied directly over the affected areas with some dressing for faster healing.
Great for weight loss and low-calorie option
Cabbage is low in calories and packed full of other nutrients and water. It is often recommended for people who want to lose weight in a healthy way. It is however not nutritionally complete on its own and should be taken as part of a balanced, healthy diet, not as the main or singular component.
Cabbage is one of the most versatile vegetables. It can be eaten raw in salads. It can also be boiled, steamed, sautéed, grilled, or roasted. Eat more cabbage of this vegetable. You can also make it into a probiotic – Fermented Foods: How To Make Sauerkraut And Why You Should Add This Cabbage Dish To Your Diet
Check out the benefits of these other vegetables – spinach, broccoli and cauliflower.
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