I know what you’re thinking. It’s not a popular cruciferous vegetable (to say the least) but the benefits of cabbage are something you’re truly missing out on.
Like the other members of its scientifically well-researched family (kale, broccoli, etc), it’s filled with compounds that prevent and fight disease.
First things first, the flavor. It’s a little overpowering if eaten raw and the coarse texture is almost impossible to ignore if you eat it in large pieces.
There are several different varieties of cabbage but the most well-known are green and red. Both have excellent nutritional profiles and slightly different glucosinolates (sulfur-containing compounds your body loves). In other words, they’re both great for you while red cabbage has a slight nutritional advantage. The best option is combining the two common types.The health benefits of cabbage are well-known and can help prevent, fight, and beat cancer!Click To Tweet
5 Whole-Body Health Benefits of Cabbage
1. Incredible nutrition. Cabbage is packed with multiple forms of vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, fiber, potassium, copper, folate, and so much more. The antioxidant properties of this much-maligned veggie are enough on their own to warrant inclusion in your eating plan. A half cup of steamed or raw cabbage provides 47% of your daily vitamin C requirement.
2. Naturally anti-inflammatory. You know the drill when it comes to the dangers of rampant inflammation in the human body. Cabbage is packed with anthocyanins that are scientifically proven to lower inflammation. Red cabbage has a slight edge in this category.
3. Diabetic friendly. Naturally low in calories and with a “very low” ranking on the glycemic index, cabbage offers a lot of good stuff without the cost. You can eat as much of this food as you like without sending your glucose levels into a panic.
4. Excellent for digestion. Perhaps this is the most well-known aspect of eating cabbage. It’s got a long history of helping to keep you “regular” while also mending damage to the digestive tract (such as peptic ulcers). Fermented cabbage boosts your good gut flora and removes bad bacteria that you don’t want.
5. Heart healthy. If you eat cabbage steamed, special compounds are released that help lower overall cholesterol in your body. This occurs in raw cabbage as well but to a lesser degree. Cholesterol plays a key role in bile production. Substances in cabbage bind to the cholesterol-based bile acid and flushing from your system rather than building up.
Preventing and Fighting Cancer with Cabbage
Perhaps the most promising modern aspect of this old-school vegetable is its ability to lower overall oxidative stress and mop up free radicals that can lead to cell abnormalities and cancer. The sulforaphane in cabbage has been studied repeatedly and found effective in preventing breast, colon, prostate, and bladder cancer.
If you opt for conventional cancer therapies (such as radiation), the 3,3′-diindolylmethane (DIM) found in cabbage is definitely something you want to add to your diet.The most promising aspect of cabbage is its ability to lower oxidative stress. #CancerPreventionClick To Tweet
Researchers with Georgetown University conducted a radiation therapy study on rats. They discovered that rats administered DIM isolated from cabbage lived longer – reaching the goal of 30 days set by the team – than non-supplemented rats after fatal doses of radiation were administered.
The supplemented rats also tested higher in red blood cells, white blood cells, and blood platelets than those rats that didn’t receive DIM. Those involved in the study hope to use this compound to protect healthy tissue in those patients who undergo conventional cancer treatments.
A natural chemical called apigenin provides another powerful cancer-fighting benefit of cabbage. The substance is found in several cruciferous and leafy green veggies and has a dramatic effect on reduction of tumor size in a study released by the University of Missouri.
Another incredible compound that occurs naturally in red cabbage is anthocyanin, an antioxidant that slows the spread and multiplication of cancer cells. It also shows great promise in stimulating apoptosis (cell death) in cancerous cells. Also known as “cell suicide,” this is the backbone of many cutting-edge natural therapies being studied around the world in the fight against cancer.
Adding the Benefits of Cabbage to Your Meals
The right cabbage will feel heavy when you pick it up. It should be solid, without spreading of the leaves, and firm to the touch. They hold up well in the refrigerator (far longer than most “leaf” vegetables) for two weeks or more.
You can eat it boiled, steamed, sautéed, or raw. No matter how you choose to serve it, I suggest shredding it first! It makes it more palatable, easier to consume, and helps blend the flavors with whatever else you’re eating.
My favorite method of eating raw cabbage is shredded with spring greens and spinach in a chopped salad. I love being able to get a little bit of everything in each bite so chopped salads are my go-to in the middle of the day. Salads and shakes are the quickest and easiest way to get multiple health-boosting foods in the same meal.
If you prefer cabbage cooked, I suggest shredding multiple varieties and sautéing in a bit of grass-fed butter. Medium heat for about five minutes is all you need to make this otherwise “boring” veggie a superstar.
You can season it liberally with garlic, onion, a bit of sea salt, or whatever spices strike your fancy. Adding other vegetables, noodles, lean pork, strips of beef, or chopped chicken is a great way to make cabbage part of a nutritious meal.
The benefits of cabbage for your entire body are well-known and as more information emerges in its ability to help prevent, fight, and beat cancer, you can be sure you’ll be seeing an uptick in how many people are won over to eating it.
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