Green, leafy and nutritive cabbage is a low calorie vegetable. This fiber-rich vegetable is a popular option for salad recipe and offers host of benefits. Several varieties of cabbages are available to choose from – Wombok, Savoy, Jauary King, green and red cabbages. They can either be eaten raw or cooked. The taste varies from savory to gently sweet. Being rich in iron, vitamins and potassium, they are widely used in both eastern and western cuisines.
Nutritional Breakdown of Cabbages
According to USDA National Nutrient Database, one half cup of shredded cabbage (75 grams) contains 17 calories, 4 grams of carbohydrate (including 1 gram of fiber and 2 grams of sugar) and 1 gram of protein.
Half cup of cooked cabbage provides 47% of vitamin C needed for the day. It also provides 102% of vitamin K, 6% of folate, 8% of manganese and lesser amount of vitamin B6, potassium, thiamin and calcium.
Cabbage contains antioxidants like Beta-carotene, choline, zeaxanthin, lutein and flavonoids like quercetin, kaempferol and apigenin.
Health Benefits of Cabbage
Increase in the consumption of cabbage lowers down the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart diseases and mortality, thus promoting healthy complexion, weight loss and increase in energy levels.
Protection from Radiation Therapy:
A compound, 3,3’-dindolylmethane (DIM) is available in cabbage and has shown protective property against the harmful effect of radiation therapy. DIM has protective effects against cancer.
Another cancer fighting compounds found in cabbages are sinigrin, sulforaphane, lupeol and indole 3-carbinol (I3C). The sulforaphane and I3C compounds are known to increase anticancer effects. Sulforaphane, a compound that gives the vegetable a bitter taste has shown to be effective on multiple types of cancer like esophageal, melanoma, pancreatic and prostate. Researchers have proved that sulforaphane has the power to inhibit histone deacytylase, a harmful compound which plays major role in cancer progression.
Apigenin is another natural chemical compound found in cabbage that decreases the tumor size in a disruptive form of breast cancer. The study showed that this compound has strong potential to be used as a non-toxic treatment for cancer in future.
Red cabbage contains a powerful antioxidant, anthocyanin that transmit the cabbage red and purple color. This antioxidant has strong property to slow down the proliferation of cancer cells stop the formation of new tumor growth as well as kill already formed cancer cells.
Maintain Healthy Heart:
The anthocyaninsin red cabbage help protect against cancer and has been shown to suppress inflammation that may lead to cardiovascular disease. The high polyphenol content in cabbage also reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases by reducing blood pressure and preventing platelet buildup.
Immunity and Digestion:
A popular method of consuming cabbage is in its fermented form. The high fiber and water content in cabbage helps in preventing constipation thus maintaining a healthy digestive tract. Eating adequate fiber promotes regularity, which is essential for the daily excretion of toxins through bile and stool. Cabbage contains variety of nutrients like glucosinolates, antioxidant polyphenols, amino acids like glutamine and the anti inflammatory isothiocyanates (ITCs). In case of ITCs, the digestive tract benefits include proper regulation of bacterial population of Helicobacter pyroli inside the stomach. Though these bacteria are normal stomach inhabitants, but their increase in the population results in latching the lining of the stomach in an undesirable way. Moreover, the ITCs made from cabbage’s glucosinolates can minimize the risk of these unwanted stomach events.
High in Sulfur, the Beautifying Mineral:
Cabbage helps dry up oily and acne skin. Internally sulfur is essential for keratin, a protein substance necessary for healthy skin, hair and nails.