Cabbage has been cultivated for thousands of years and consumed by many different cultures, but there are still plenty of interesting things about this humble vegetable that you may not know about. Cabbage offers an array of health benefits that you might be surprised to learn about. Here are 7 remarkable benefits of cabbage you didn’t know about
1) Lowers Cholesterol
Eating cabbage is a great way to lower your cholesterol, including LDL or bad cholesterol. It’s not hard to see why. One cup of raw chopped cabbage has just 16 calories and five grams of fiber. That fiber helps slow digestion, preventing rapid spikes in blood sugar that would cause your body to produce excess insulin. And when your body produces excess insulin, it sends cholesterol into your bloodstream for storage. One study published in Phytotherapy Research found that regularly consuming about 3/4 cup per day of raw cabbage juice was enough to significantly decrease participants’ total serum cholesterol by 22 percent after just four weeks. Whether you use juice or opt for cooked cabbage adding cabbage to your diet is a simple way to help keep those numbers down over time.
2) Reduces Inflammation
Cabbage has properties that help inhibit inflammation and reduce pain. For example, studies have shown that glucosinolates—compounds found in cruciferous vegetables like cabbage—have anti-inflammatory effects. Studies suggest drinking one cup of raw cabbage juice per day could help lower your risk for certain cancers by preventing DNA damage caused by carcinogens in tobacco smoke, helping to prevent and treat asthma. While eating more whole foods is always a good idea, research suggests including more cruciferous vegetables in your diet may be helpful. Adding cabbage to your meals might help you absorb nutrients better from other foods you eat at the same time.
3) Lowers Blood Pressure
Like red cabbage, white cabbage contains an anthocyanin pigment called lutein that helps to keep arteries supple. Studies show that eating a half cup of shredded red daily can decrease systolic blood pressure by 5.5 percent and diastolic blood pressure by 3.8 percent within two weeks (2). In addition to lowering blood pressure, studies suggest that eating white or red may help prevent cancer due to the high levels of antioxidants in these cruciferous vegetables.
4) Improves Digestion
With its high fiber content, cabbage can help keep your digestive system running smoothly and efficiently. One cup of shredded green cabbage provides 2 grams of fiber, nearly half that recommended daily amount for adults. If you’re concerned about gas or bloating from raw cabbage consumption, cook it first. Adding a bit of apple cider vinegar to sautéed cabbage will also help break down tough fibers for easier digestion. The vitamin C in cabbage may also help prevent constipation by increasing fluid absorption in your intestines. As a bonus, eating helps strengthen your immune system against infections. It is one of nature’s best sources of beta-carotene and vitamin C.
5) Promotes Healthy Bowel Movements
Not surprisingly, cabbage is loaded with fiber. One cup of chopped raw cabbage contains about a gram of fiber. In addition to keeping your gut in tip-top shape, fiber may also help lower your risk for colon cancer and aid in digestion by keeping waste moving through your intestinal tract. Talk about being regular! (See what we did there?) The high water content also makes it ideal for cleansing out toxins from your body and lowering inflammation. Just remember that too much of anything—even something as healthy as cabbage, so don’t overdo it on any superfoods. Moderation is key!
If cleanliness is next to godliness, we guess that colorfulness must be just down the street. The leaves and florets of cabbage are not only easy on your eyes but they’re also an excellent source of nutrients. As far as cruciferous vegetables go, cabbage is tops when it comes to nutrition density. An average head pack is 3 grams protein, 2 grams carbohydrate, 0 grams fat, and almost 1 gram dietary fiber.
6) Fights Cancer
There is strong evidence that can help prevent cancer. Studies on juice have found that it increases cancer cell death and arrests their growth, according to a 2009 review published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. But how does it work? The cancer-fighting compound allyl isothiocyanate (AITC) is created when fresh cabbage leaves are chopped or chewed, making the juice a powerful anti-cancer agent. Other anti-cancer foods include broccoli, ginger, kale, and brussels sprouts.
7) Reduces Pain & Swelling
According to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Food Science. An organic powder may help reduce pain and swelling by more than half in post-surgery patients. Additionally, studies have found that curcumin may be able to reduce inflammation in people with rheumatoid arthritis as well as gouty arthritis. And eating cabbage may be one way to include it in your diet!
Cabbage is a rich source of organic acids, including ascorbic acid (vitamin C), caffeic acid, cerotic acid, ferulic acid, quinic acid, and sinapic acid. Additionally, they may help boost the immune system and fight off infections. All these acids also act as antioxidants, which help neutralize the harmful effects of substances known as reactive oxygen species. ROS are produced during exercise or in response to stress.
9) Add it to salads
For a simple cabbage salad, start with a base of chopped cabbage and add in your favorite toppings. Toppings could include shredded carrots, diced apples, raisins, nuts, seeds, and green onions. Dress the salad with vinegar and oil-based dressing or your favorite creamy salad dressing.
10) Pickle it
Cabbage is a versatile vegetable that can be used in a variety of dishes. Pickling cabbage is a great way to preserve its nutrients and add some zest to your meals. Plus, it’s easy to do! Here are seven ways to pickle cabbage. Slice up the cabbage finely. Combine salt, sugar, water, and vinegar in a pot or bowl. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Add spices like black pepper or coriander seeds for added flavor (optional). Pack the mixture into glass jars. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for at least two weeks before eating.