Its leaves can range from light green to dark purple, and they can be wrinkled or smooth. Naturally low in calories, this cruciferous vegetable packs a lot of health benefits.
However, the cabbage, which is eaten throughout the world in both cooked and raw form, is sometimes misunderstood. Frequently mistaken as a form of lettuce because of its appearance, cabbage actually is a leafy vegetable that is part of the Brassica family that includes its nutritious cousins kale and broccoli.
As with other fruits and vegetables, the darker the color, the more nutritious the cabbage. That means red cabbage — which can range from light red to deep purple — but all cabbage is worth adding to your diet for its health benefits.
According to the USDA, eating a half cup of cooked cabbage provides 35 percent of your daily vitamin C requirements. That makes cabbage a richer source of this important nutrient than oranges!
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that has many benefits to the human body, including helping defend against the common cold, healing wounds, preventing ulcers and boosting the immune system. Vitamin C plays a role in skin health and the body’s response to the aging process.
Cabbage is rich in fiber, which is essential to a healthy digestive system. The roughage in cabbage helps the body retain water, which protects against indigestion, constipation, ulcers and other stomach problems.
The sulphur contained in cabbage aids the body in fighting infection and helps in wound healing. It also reduces the frequency of ulcers. Research studies have indicated that the sulfur-containing compounds (sulforaphane) found in cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage may help guard against certain forms of cancer.
Cabbage contains glutamine, a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that is linked with the reduction of inflammation, joint pain and various skin problems.
Cabbage also is rich in beta-carotene, which is important for eye health. Beta-carotene is linked with the prevention of macular degeneration and the delay of the formation of cataracts.
The vitamin K contained in cabbage can boost the cognitive function of the brain.
Vitamin K also helps protect the body from the neural degeneration, which is a contributing factor to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
The calcium contained in cabbage is essential to healthy bones and, as a result, can protect against osteoporosis and other forms of bone weakening.
The anthocyanins contained in cabbage, particularly in red cabbage, help reduce the inflammation that may contribute to cardiovascular disease.
Cabbage also contains potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure. As a vasodilator, potassium helps open up blood vessels, reducing the possibility of constricted arteries and veins and helping prevent platelet buildup.
The fermenting of cabbage releases lactic acid, which can help ease muscle soreness and other general aches and pains in the body.
The iodine contained in cabbage aids the healthy function of the endocrine system, which helps remove toxins from the body and boosts neurological function.
How to choose a cabbage
Select a cabbage that feels heavy for its size and see that its leaves are tight and firm. You may store fresh cabbage for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
For the most nutrition, eat cabbage raw. However, you may also serve it boiled, steamed, roasted, sautéed or even stuffed. Some people are put off by the odor of cabbage as it cooks. However, this unpleasant smell, which is caused by its sulphur content, usually occurs only when the vegetable is overcooked.
How do you eat and prepare cabbage? What is your favorite type? Share your tips in the section below: