Although cabbage may not be the most appealing vegetable, it is full of nutrients that will keep you healthy and strong. Cabbage and its health benefits include boosting your immune system, improving digestion, and sometimes even embarrassing results.
You can use this common leafy green vegetable in many different ways, including soups, salads and sandwiches. To get the best benefits, you can either eat it raw or stir-fried. It can be fermented in gut-healthy foods such as sauerkraut or kimchi, or chopped into coleslaw to get a quick fix.
“Cabbage is good news for you. Julia Zumpano, RD/LD, registered dietitian, says that cabbage is one of those foods that tastes better and has more nutrition than people think. It’s also versatile, affordable, and easy to locate.
Zumpano discusses the health benefits of eating cabbage, and how they can improve your overall health.
8 reasons cabbage is good for your health
Many people are familiar with cabbage because of its abundance of vitamins, fiber and minerals. A cup of chopped raw green cabbage has 22 calories.
- 54% of the daily recommended vitamin C intake.
- 85 % of the daily recommended vitamin K intake
- More than 2 grams fiber
- 1 gram protein
Zumpano says that cabbage is also potassium-rich, which can lower blood pressure. “The more information we have about cabbage, the better it will be.”
Although research shows that leafy green vegetables are generally good for you in general, we still need to study how cabbage affects your body. Zumpano claims that cabbage’s nutritional value can mean it has the following benefits.
1. Combat inflammation
Anthocyanins are naturally occurring antioxidants that are responsible for some of the health benefits associated with cabbage. Anthocyanins are not only a color for your fruits (think blueberries), but they may also help reduce inflammation.
Chronic inflammation (long-term swelling), is linked to heart disease, cancer and other medical conditions. Anthocyanins were shown to reduce inflammation in animal studies.
Although more research is needed, one small human study found that people who ate the highest amounts of cruciferous vegetables had lower levels of inflammation than those who ate less.
2. Keeps you strong
Vitamin C, also known by ascorbic acid (or ascorbic acid), does a lot for your body. Vitamin C helps to make collagen and improves your immune system. It helps to absorb iron from plant-based food.
3. Improves digestion
Insoluble fiber and phytosterols, which are plant sterols, can help cabbage keep your digestive system healthy. It feeds the good bacteria that helps protect your immune system and produce essential nutrients. This is especially true when fermented cabbage is used in sauerkraut or kimchi.
Zumpano says that cabbage can help you keep your regularity. “It can also support safe and healthy weight reduction.”
Fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate that cannot be digested or absorbed. It adds bulk to your meals and takes up space in your stomach, allowing you to eat more and last longer than you would if you were consuming carbs.
4. Protect your heart
Anthocyanins in cabbage are more than just an inflammation fighter. They may also help reduce your risk of developing heart disease, according to research. Researchers have discovered 36 types of anthocyanins found in cabbage. This could make it a great option for cardiovascular health.
5. Reduces blood pressure
Potassium, a mineral and an electrolyte, helps to regulate blood pressure. A cup of red cabbage can provide a healthy amount potassium, up to 6% of the recommended daily intake. This can help lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
6. Reduce cholesterol
LDL cholesterol (or “bad”) cholesterol can lead to heart disease if it builds up. Two substances in cabbage, fiber and phytosterols (plant steroids), compete with cholesterol for your body’s absorption. These substances can reduce bad cholesterol and improve your health.
7. Healthy blood clotting and bone health
Vitamin K is vital for your well-being. Vitamin K is essential for your well-being. Without it you could be at risk of developing bone diseases like osteoporosis. Your blood would also not be able to clot properly. You have the great source of vitaminK in cabbage. Just one cup contains 85% of your recommended daily intake.
Zumpano says that Vitamin K keeps our bones strong, and blood clotting well. “Cabbage can provide the boost you need to ensure your body is healthy and protected from illness and disease.” You don’t have to eat as much cabbage to reap the health benefits.
8. Keeps cancer at bay
Early animal studies have shown that leafy green vegetables such as cabbage may contain phytochemicals that could help prevent cancer. They are rich in antioxidants and plant compounds such as glucosinolates. These sulfur-containing chemicals are broken down in the digestive process and become substances that can help fight cancer cells.
What side effects can cabbage have on your health?
Are you excited to add more cabbage into your diet? Be careful not to eat too much cabbage. Increase your cabbage intake slowly to maximize the health benefits. Then, allow your body time to adapt. To reduce constipation (which can lead to excess gas), it is important to stay hydrated.
Because of the potential for flatulence, diarrhea and abdominal discomfort, cabbage is not recommended as a romantic meal choice. You might also find it in medications, such as blood thinners. It can also cause hypothyroidism (a condition in which your thyroid produces less thyroid hormone) and slow down your metabolism.
Side effects can be avoided in most cases by eating cabbage as part a healthy diet. If you have concerns or symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider.
What are the different types of cabbage?
Brassica oleracea is a type of vegetable that includes cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts. Green cabbage is the most popular type. There are hundreds of varieties of cabbage, in red, purple, and white hues. They come in a variety of sizes and textures.
While some varieties of cabbage are delicate and subtle in flavor, others have a strong peppery kick. There are many types of cabbage that provide nutrition.
- Bok choy and baby bok choy have leaves that flow out from a central stalk.
- Brussels sprouts are small round cabbages that grow on thick stems.
- Cannonball cabbage is a type of green cabbage. It has tight-packed smooth leaves and a hard head that can grow to as big as a basketball.
- January King cabbage is a vibrant, green-colored cabbage with purple-tinted leaves.
- Kale with its crinkled, dark-green leaves that fan out from a central stalk.
- Napa cabbage, also known as Chinese or celery cabbage, is characterized by long, green leaves and a thick white stalk.
- Red cabbage is a roundish, brightly colored, and often smaller than green cabbage.
- Savoy cabbage is a curly, loosely layered cabbage with ruffled leaves.