6 Nutritional Benefits of Cabbage, From gut wellbeing to immune system boosts, there’s enough for everybody.
Cabbage isn’t likely to win any “hottest vegetable” awards anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it if it’s presented to you. In reality, it may be beneficial to your diet (and help you get out of a vegetable rut).
The vegetable, which comes in red, green, and white varieties, is related to broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, among other vegetables. However, though it has many health benefits (more on that later), Dr Sadiq, a licenced dietitian at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Human Nutrition, advises Health that you must cook it properly in order to reap them.
“You should resist long cooking processes and heating,” Sadiq says, adding that these methods deplete the nutrients in the meal. Instead, opt for faster preparation methods such as stir-frying or slicing the vegetable and serving it whole in a salad or slaw. If you need more convincing to pick up some cabbage on your next shopping trip, certified dietitians have weighed in on all the health benefits of cabbage and why you should include it in your diet.
It has a lot of vitamin C
Vitamin C isn’t only found in oranges; cabbage will also have a significant amount of the mineral if you need to supplement your diet. “Cabbage is rich in the antioxidant vitamin C, supplying specifically 70% of the RDA [recommended dietary allowances],” says Dr Hassan, a New York-based RDN.
It’s important to get enough vitamin C per day because our bodies don’t produce it naturally (so, we must get it from food). According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, vitamin C aids in the absorption of iron from plant-based diets, the production of collagen to aid wound healing, and the strengthening of the immune system to further shield you from illness (ODS). “The cabbage family has been linked to immune benefits, so it aids our cells in combating invaders like viruses,” Sadiq explains.”
It’s a high-fiber food
Cabbage will help you get more fibre in your diet, whether the doctor prescribed it or you just need a little help walking to the toilet. Two cups of chopped cabbage contain approximately 5 grammes of fibre, according to the USDA. (MedlinePlus recommends a maximum intake of 25 grammes for women aged 19 to 50.)
“Cabbage is high in fibre, which can help relieve constipation, stabilise blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, and boost digestive health,” says Dr Hassan.
It has the potential to increase bone health
According to Dr Hassan, cabbage contains vitamin K, which is important for bone protection and proper blood clotting functions in the body. According to the USDA, one cup of cooked cabbage contains approximately 68 micrograms of vitamin K. The ODS suggests 120 micrograms a day for adult men and 90 micrograms per day for women as a starting point.
Although vitamin K deficiency is uncommon, certain persons with some medical conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, or ulcerative colitis, may be more vulnerable to low vitamin K levels. According to the ODS, too little vitamin D may result in decreased bone power, an increased chance of developing osteoporosis, and, in extreme cases, bruising and bleeding issues.
It’s a great low-calorie option
If you’re not trying to lose weight, substituting calorie-dense foods for calorie-dense foods that don’t pack too much of a caloric punch will benefit a lot—and cabbage is a perfect choice for that. “Cabbage has a low calorie count. Cooked cabbage has just 34 calories per cup, making it an outstanding weight-loss choice “According to Dr Hassan.
Another benefit is that, while many good, nutrient-dense foods can be pricey, cabbage is a very low-cost product. (White or green cabbage costs $0.62 a pound, according to the USDA).
It’s beneficial to the cardiovascular system
You may not think of cabbage as a heart-healthy meal, but it’s something you can have in your diet if you’re looking to improve your heart’s health. “Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable that has been proven to have anti-inflammatory effects, making it a good choice for people at risk of heart disease,” Dr Hassan says.
There’s also the research: Women who ate more cruciferous veggies—like cabbage, but also Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli—were 46 percent less likely to have abdominal aortic calcification, which may be an indicator of potential cardiovascular events, according to a 2021 report released in the British Journal of Diet. According to the findings, consuming more cruciferous vegetables will help prevent calcium accumulation and thereby improve heart health.
It could aid in the battle against cancer
According to the National Cancer Institute, cruciferous vegetables like cabbage contain sulfur-containing chemicals called glucosinolates, which are responsible for the sour flavour of many cruciferous vegetables. Glucosinolates are broken down into compounds that have been studied for their anti-cancer properties during food preparation, chewing, and digestion. “Cabbage’s anti-cancer effects are due to its high glucosinolate content. It has been linked to a lower risk of cancer of different forms “Sadiq explains.
Of course, this is encouraging news, but it doesn’t guarantee that eating a lot of cabbage will fully protect you from cancer. Experts suggest more research on the cancer-fighting properties of cruciferous vegetables is required. However, they’re always a nutritious addition to every diet, so having them in your meals is still a smart idea.