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Cabbage is one of the most consumed vegetables in India as well as in other countries. But not everyone knows that is also one of the most nutritious vegetables out there. It is loaded with several essential vitamins and minerals and is good for the digestive system, skin, hair, and immune system. Cabbage also has healing properties which also have a mention in Ayurveda.
Nutritional Profile of Cabbage
The table below states the nutrients present in one cup (89g) of chopped cabbage.
|Principle Nutrients||Nutrient Content|
|Total Fat||0.09 g|
|Dietary Fibre||2.5 mg|
|Vitamin A||98 IU|
|Vitamin C||32.6 mg|
|Vitamin K||69 mcg|
Table source: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/11109
Health Benefits of Cabbage
Here are 20 benefits of eating cabbage regularly:
1. Lowers the Signs of Ageing
Cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables contain a high amount of Vitamin C and E, which help in the production of collagen, the compound which keeps the skin elastic and wrinkle-free. Vitamin A along with Vitamin D protects the skin and gives you a youthful skin.
2. Helps Fight Free Radicals
Cabbage is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants help fight oxidative damage caused by free radicals and prevent a whole range of ailments.
3. Speeds Up the Recovery Process
Cabbage leaves are used as a poultice. Using these leaves can ease skin eruptions caused by acne, psoriasis, eczema, ulcers, wounds, insect bites and rashes. Grated leaves or blended leaves can be applied directly over the affected area with some dressing for faster healing.
4. Improves Complexion
Cabbage can also cure acne and other skin conditions. Some steamed cabbage leaves compressed in a cotton cloth can be placed on the affected area overnight for best results. The high levels of potassium and Vitamin A also improve complexion.
5. May Provide Relief From Allergies
Cabbages and other cruciferous vegetables of its kind contain anti-inflammatory properties. They are rich in sulforaphane and glutamine which are powerful anti-inflammatory agents. Regular consumption can ease health conditions worsened by inflammation such as allergies, irritation, fever, joint pain and skin disorders.
6. May Prevent Cancer
The Brassica vegetables such as cabbage contain a significant amount of glucosinolates that have strong anti-cancer properties. These compounds scavenge free radicals which are bad for health and contribute to cancers of different kinds. Red cabbages are particularly loaded with compounds such as sinigrin, lupeol and sulforaphane with anti-cancer properties.
7. Good for the Digestive Tract
Cabbage is high in fibre, which makes it healthy for the digestive tract. Eating cabbage can provide relief from constipation. This is very effective in treating constipation and related gastrointestinal disorders.
8. Promotes Weight Loss
As cabbage is loaded with essential nutrients and contains almost no calories or fats, hence it is perfect for people who are on a weight loss diet. If you don’t like to eat cabbage in the form of vegetable, you can drink cabbage juice.
9. Protects the Eye
Vitamin A which is an essential nutrient for our eyes is present in cabbage and helps maintain good vision. The beta-carotene, an antioxidant present in cabbage is also helpful in preventing macular degeneration and delay the onset of cataracts.
10. Improves the Health of Hair
Cabbage being rich in many of the essential nutrients helps maintain healthy hair and prevents hair fall. It also prevents dry hair and protects the hair strands from physical damage. Vitamin C which is found in cabbage is essential for the production of the protein keratin which primarily makes up the hair and nails in the body.
11. Improves the Health of the Heart
Red cabbages are rich in compounds called anthocyanins which give them their characteristic purple colour. Studies have shown a link between diet consisting of foods rich in these compounds and lowering of heart disease. Along with this, cabbages are also good sources of potassium and calcium essential for healthy functioning of the heart.
12. Good for the Brain
Cabbage is also brain food. Vitamin K and anthocyanins in cabbage promote mental function and focus. Vitamin K is also important to protect the nerve cells from damage and prevent degenerative diseases. Cabbage is also a rich source of iodine which is an essential nutrient for the brain.
13. Helps Strengthen the Bones
Cabbages are abundant sources of nutrients that are necessary for building strong bones. They are loaded with calcium, magnesium, and potassium which are all essential for strengthening the bones. Eating cabbage may also help in warding off diseases such as osteoporosis.
14. Regulates Blood Pressure
Red cabbage is an abundant source of anthocyanins which is known to lower blood pressure. Eating cabbage regularly helps maintain normal blood pressure and decreases the risk of heart diseases.
15. Good for Diabetic Patients
16. Good for Pregnant Women
Cabbage is an abundant source of folates. Folates are critical nutrients required in the early developmental stages of the foetus. The absence of folates can cause neural tube defects and other congenital disabilities in babies. Hence, this vegetable is good for pregnant women. However, it should not be consumed raw as eating raw or uncooked may lead to premature delivery or even miscarriage.
17. Boosts Immunity
Being loaded with Vitamin C and antioxidants, cabbage helps boost immunity. It supports the immune system and fights off various diseases.
18. Helps Treat Peptic Ulcer
The presence of anti-inflammation compounds such as glucosinolates helps reduce peptic ulcers in the stomach. Cabbage juice is a remedy for ulcers. It eases the inflammation in the stomach lining and speeds up the recovery process.
Tips to Select and Store Cabbage
To get the most out of cabbage, you must first choose the best ones from the market. Here’s how to pick good cabbages:
- Cabbages are available all year round in supermarkets. Look for ones that are large, dense, and firm. They should have colourful leaves that are crisp and shiny without bruises, blemishes or insect bites. They must also feel heavy for their size.
- Tightly packed leaves at the bottom of the cabbage indicate freshness. If they are starting to separate from its stem, the cabbage is old. Don’t buy it if it seems old.
- Shredded cabbage or which is already cut in half should be avoided as they would have lost their Vitamin C content.
- To retain their freshness and Vitamin C level, it’s essential to keep them cold in a refrigerator.
- Cabbages that are stored in plastic bags in a refrigerator can be stored for a week or two.
- Cabbages with loose leaves will not last too long and are best stored in a cool dark place.
- In case you need half a cabbage, the other half should be wrapped in a plastic bag with some water sprinkled on the cut side and refrigerated.
- Another way to store cabbage effectively is to freeze it. First, shred the cabbage and blanch the shreds for two minutes. Filter out and freeze the shreds in an airtight container.
How to Cook Cabbage
You can include cabbage in soups, salads and casseroles. It can be boiled, fried, stuffed, steamed or even eaten raw. Here are some healthy ways to cook cabbages:
- A simple cabbage dish can be made by boiling some water and adding chopped cabbage to it. Add sugar and sprinkle some meat seasoning and simmer for 35 minutes.
- Grated cabbage can be cooked in milk for 3 to 4 minutes and seasoned with pepper and salt.
- A low-calorie cabbage dish involves cooking cabbage leaves in a mixture of mustard and cucumber juice. Steamed cabbage and other vegetables can be diced and added to it. Cook until the cabbage is a little crispy.
- Shred red cabbage into fine pieces and add sliced apples and a bit of vinegar. Cook for 1 minute.
- To make stuffed cabbage rolls, remove the core and stuff it with vegetables of your choice. Cook for 3 minutes until it is soft and serve with a spicy sauce.
- For a quick and delicious dish, stir-fry sliced cabbage with ginger, garlic, chillies and a bit of soy sauce.
Are There Any Side Effects of Eating Cabbage?
Cabbages also have a few side effects like any other vegetable, some of them include:
1. What Are the Different Varieties of Cabbage?
There are 7 varieties of cabbage – red cabbage, Choy sum, Bok choy, Savoy cabbage, Napa cabbage, Cannonball cabbage, January king cabbage.
2. Can I Eat Raw Cabbage Daily?
Yes, cabbage can be consumed every day in small to moderate quantities.
Cabbage is an amazing vegetable loaded with plenty of essential nutrients. Since it can be incorporated into so many foods, you can reap its benefits every day.