The cabbage, or brassica, family constitutes a large variety of vegetables including green and red cabbage, collards, kohlrabi, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and kale. All the varieties have plenty of health benefits and are of high nutritional value. The word cabbage derives from the word caboche (“head”), from the Picard dialect of Old French.
Green cabbage is the most cultivated and popular variety, more than the red or Savoy types. The red cabbage has been adopted by chefs worldwide as it adds a dash of color to salads and other dishes, while the Savoy is a favorite for slaw and salads. The flavour of cabbage varies as per the type, ranging from savory to gently sweet.
Historical evidence points to the Ancient Greek and Roman civilizations being the first to cultivate and benefit from cabbage’s culinary and medicinal properties. Cabbage was introduced in Europe around 600 B.C. by groups of Celtic wanderers. It were the early German settlers that introduced cabbage and the traditional sauerkraut recipe to the US palette. The most common form of cabbage in the U.S. comes in compact heads of tightly wrapped leaves in white, green or red colors.
17 Health Benefits Of Cabbage
Weight Loss Food
Cabbage is referred to as “smart carb” as it is low in calories and fat and rich in fiber, which inhibits the conversion of sugar and other carbohydrates into fat. A must have on any weight loss diet.
Cabbage is very rich in fiber and its laxative effect makes it effective in stimulating bowel movement, in water retention and maintaining the bulkiness of the food as it moves through the bowels, preventing constipation and other digestion-related problems.
Fresh cabbage juice has been effective in the treatment of ulceration in the digestive tracts, and breast, colon, liver, lung and ovarian cancers. Contains cancer preventative compounds lupeol, sinigrin and sulforaphane that help protect cells from invasion of carcinogens.
A compound called histidine in cabbage is found to be useful in treating allergies and regulating the T-cells in our immune systems. Cabbage contains very high levels of antioxidant Vitamin C that fights free radicals thus strengthening the immune system.
The amino acid- glutamine and high sulphur, chlorine and iodine content, in cabbage juice gently cleanses, detoxifyies, and heals the mucus membranes in the digestive tracts of stomach and peptic ulcers.
Wrapping cabbage leaves around affected areas of blisters, sores, skin eruptions (as in psoriasis), burns and ulcers, speeds up the healing process. Antioxidant sources, including vitamin-C, anthocyanins, and sulphur, fight free radicals that cause wrinkles, skin discoloration, spots, and many other conditions.
Red cabbage contains Vitamin K, iodine and anthocyanins that improve mental function and concentration, prevent neural degeneration, improving your defense against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and keep the endocrinal glands in healthy condition.
Vitamin C and sulphur in cabbage purifies the blood and removes toxins like free radicals and uric acid, root causes of rheumatism, gout, arthritis, renal calculi, skin diseases, and eczema.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Potassium is a vasodilator that helps by opening up and easing the pressure on the blood vessels, improves blood flow, and prevents cardio vascular diseases like heart attack and stroke.
Super healing effect of the superior chlorophyll in cabbage is critical for production of blood and maintaining healthy levels of red blood cells preventing anemia.
A warm compress made with cabbage leaves can help relieve the pain of a headache. Raw cabbage juice can also heal chronic headaches.
Regulates Blood Sugar
Cabbage has very simple sugars and the natural red pigments of red cabbage (betalains) lowers blood sugar levels and boosts insulin production, preventing diabetes.
Cabbage leaves accumulate cadmium-binding complexes-glutamine, which is a strong anti-inflammatory agent preventing irritation, allergies, joint pain, fever, and various skin disorders.
Cabbage is a rich source of beta-carotene that promotes good eye health, prevents age related macular degeneration and delays the onset of cataracts.
Cabbage is a great source of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, essential minerals for the protection of bones from degradation and the onset of conditions like osteoporosis and arthritis.
During cooking, sugars in cabbage get fermented, releasing lactic acid that reduces muscle soreness and aches.
Cabbage also contains vitamin-E that keeps the skin, eyes and hair healthy. Calcium, magnesium, and potassium found in cabbage are very useful in the treatment of varicose veins, and leg, peptic and duodenal ulcers.
Side Effects Of Cabbage
Cabbage contains significant quantities of riffinose, an indigestible sugar and complex carbohydrate that passes through your intestines undigested and can cause flatulence, and other symptoms like belching, abdominal discomfort and bloating.
Eating too much insoluble fiber, present in cabbage, can contribute to symptoms of diarrhea and can also clog your intestines.
Cabbage contains high amounts of vitamin K, a vitamin that helps your blood clot, hence it is not recommended to patients on blood-thinning medications.
Iodine deficiency coupled with high consumption of cabbage, competes with iron uptake processes and hence interferes with the production of your thyroid hormone. However, cabbage consumption that is independent of iodine deficiency does not increase your risk of hypothyroidism.