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10 Health Benefits Of Cabbage: Add It To Your Daily Diet

Health Benefits Of Cabbage

The high vit C content of cabbage fights free radicals in the body, lowering your risk of cancer, degenerative nerve diseases, heart disease, or stroke. Its potent antioxidants may help restore kidney function, cure peptic ulcers, and regulate blood glucose levels. Cabbage juice can also serve as a viable probiotic drink for those who are lactose intolerant!

If you constantly pass it over for broccoli, or carrots, or potatoes, you may want to think twice. The humble cabbage can do your body a lot of good and potentially protect you from major illness.

Research reveals that antioxidant-rich red and green cabbages can help your body on multiple fronts – from boosting vascular health to keeping the digestive system running well. And that isn’t all! Read on to discover the many health benefits of this unassuming vegetable.

1. Helps Blood Clotting

Cabbage is a good source of vitamin K, a blood clotting aid. Vitamin K is what keeps you from “bleeding out” when you’re injured and prevents you from getting easily bruised every time you have a small bump or minor fall. The nutrient may also be needed to keep up bone health in older adults.1 A serving of cabbage contains around 38.2 µg of vitamin K, making it an easy way to get in the nutrient.2

2. Lowers Blood Glucose Levels

Cabbage can help reduce blood glucose levels, a property that’s made it popular in natural therapy for those with diabetes.3 Ayurveda too suggests the use of cabbage in soups as part of a light diet for someone with diabetes.4

3. Promotes Cardiovascular Health

Not only is vitamin C crucial for building the body’s immunity but this potent antioxidant can also cut your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.5 Higher homocysteine concentrations in the blood are a precursor to atherosclerosis and vascular disease. Researchers have found that pretreatment using vitamin C therapy can help to reduce homocysteine levels by easing oxidative stress.6 Young cabbage heads have the highest amount of vitamin C in the Brassica family, so it may be a good idea to eat some in every meal.7

4. Heals Peptic Ulcers

Peptic ulcers are extremely painful stomach lesions that can cause burning even with the ingestion of mild food. Treatment of peptic ulcers usually involves taking a mix of antibiotics and other medication. Often, the treatment has side effects that can range from the tiresome (changing how things taste) to the painful (diarrhea and headaches). And you’ll be under the weakening effect of these heavy medications for a couple of weeks – and that’s if the treatment works at first go.8 In patients who followed the treatment regimen along with cabbage juice every day, the ulcers healed in eight days or so. This is because cabbage contains an ulcer healing compound that is now being referred to as vitamin U.9

5. Offers Antioxidant Benefits

As we know, oxidative stress on the body has a role to play in everything from cancer and diabetes to heart disease. In one study, of all the Brassica vegetables reviewed, red cabbage was found to have the highest antioxidant activity followed by green cabbage. Phenolic compounds present abundantly in cabbage are responsible for this action.10

6. Repairs Your Wounds

Traditional medicine has used cabbage to heal surface wounds for very long. Science now agrees that this might be a good idea. The sugars present in cabbage can bind to a surface wound and help in closing it up faster.11

7. Slows The Brain’s Aging

Who doesn’t want to slow aging? As we age, the brain’s capacity to process events decreases. Modern research shows that it is again the oxidative stress on the brain that causes it to lose its efficiency. However, red cabbage extract not only reverses this oxidation but also helps restore the levels of glutathione in the brain required for it to function optimally.12

8. Cures Constipation

In a healthy person, constipation occurs when there isn’t enough fiber in the diet. Cabbage is next only to pure wheat bran in its ability to bulk up the stool, making for a great food to eat when you feel constipated. Studies have found it may not just be comparable but could even be more effective than other popular vegetables and fruit like carrots and apples in its ability to bulk up the stool.13

9. Preserves Kidney Health

In people with acute diabetes, the loss of kidney function is a worrisome consequence. For people with kidney trouble, cabbage comes highly recommended by everyone from the National Kidney Foundation and the National Institutes of Health to kidney disease support groups. The abundance of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, has an anti-inflammatory effect, while the fiber helps aid digestion, easing the load on the kidney. Plus, it isn’t very high on potassium – a nutrient that’s avoidable when you have kidney problems.14

Red cabbage has antioxidant compounds that may help restore kidney function, but further study is warranted. In lab studies on mice, juice from red cabbage, given based on body weight for 60 days, was able to completely restore kidney function as well as the original body weight of the subjects.15

10. Amps Up Your Probiotic Quotient

When we think of probiotics, the first foods that come to mind are milk and milk products. However, those who are vegan or lactose intolerant cannot have these products. In lab studies, cabbage juice proved to be a great substrate for growing probiotic bacteria, thereby providing a viable probiotic drink to these groups of people. Probiotics are extremely helpful in maintaining gut health.16 It’s perhaps just a matter of time before this drink hits store shelves!

Have Yours Cooked Or Raw!

Not always be in the mood to eat a raw cabbage salad? No worries! Unlike several food items that lose their benefits upon cooking, cabbage retains most of the glucosinolates in it.17 Glucosinates are compounds that are useful in stimulating digestion and also have some antibiotic properties. The homely cabbage may thus retain its benefits even after it is well cooked. So, be sure to add a generous helping of cabbage to your food, be it in a green salad or a broth or curry. You’ll have no reason to regret it!

References   [ + ]

1. Vitamin K, US National Library of Medicine.
2. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28, “National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28”). USDA.
3. Platel, Kalpana, and K. Srinivasan. “Plant foods in the management of diabetes mellitus: vegetables as potential hypoglycaemic agents.” Food/Nahrung 41, no. 2 (1997): 68-74.
4. Varsakiya, Jitendra. “LIFE STYLE INTERVENTION FOR DIABETIC PATIENT IN AYURVEDA.” Int. Jour. of Ayurveda & Alternative Med. 3, no. 2 (2015): 71-75.
5. Padayatty, Sebastian J., Arie Katz, Yaohui Wang, Peter Eck, Oran Kwon, Je-Hyuk Lee, Shenglin Chen et al. “Vitamin C as an antioxidant: evaluation of its role in disease prevention.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 22, no. 1 (2003): 18-35.
6. Chambers, John C., Andrew McGregor, Jeff Jean-Marie, Omar A. Obeid, and Jaspal S. Kooner. “Demonstration of rapid onset vascular endothelial dysfunction after hyperhomocysteinemia an effect reversible with vitamin C therapy.” Circulation 99, no. 9 (1999): 1156-1160.
7. Goldoni, J. S., I. A. Bonassi, and F. A. Conceiçäo. “[Comparative study of vitamin C of cabbage cultivars (Brassica oleraceae L., var. capitata L.), before and after their processing in sauerkraut].” Archivos latinoamericanos de nutricion 33, no. 1 (1983): 45-56.
8. Treatment for Peptic Ulcers, National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease.
9. Cheney, Garnett. “Rapid healing of peptic ulcers in patients receiving fresh cabbage juice.” California medicine 70, no. 1 (1949): 10.
10. Cartea, María Elena, Marta Francisco, Pilar Soengas, and Pablo Velasco. “Phenolic compounds in Brassica vegetables.” Molecules 16, no. 1 (2010): 251-280.
11. Samuelsen, Anne Berit, Bjørge Westereng, Osman Yousif, Ann Katrin Holtekjølen, Terje E. Michaelsen, and Svein H. Knutsen. “Structural features and complement-fixing activity of pectin from three Brassica oleracea varieties: white cabbage, kale, and red kale.” Biomacromolecules 8, no. 2 (2007): 644-649.
12. Lee, Kun-Jong, Dai-Eun Sok, Yun-Bae Kim, and Mee Ree Kim. “Protective effect of vegetable extracts on oxidative stress in brain of mice administered with NMDA.” Food research international 35, no. 1 (2002): 55-63.
13. Cummings, J. H., W. Branch, D. J. A. Jenkins, D. A. T. Southgate, Helen Houston, and W. P. T. James. “Colonic response to dietary fibre from carrot, cabbage, apple, bran, and guar gum.” The Lancet 311, no. 8054 (1978): 5-9.
14. Diet – chronic kidney disease, US National Library of Medicine.
15. Kataya, Hazem AH, and AlaaEldin A. Hamza. “Red cabbage (Brassica oleracea) ameliorates diabetic nephropathy in rats.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 5, no. 3 (2008): 281-287.
16. Yoon, Kyung Young, Edward E. Woodams, and Yong D. Hang. “Production of probiotic cabbage juice by lactic acid bacteria.” Bioresource Technology 97, no. 12 (2006): 1427-1430.
17. Verkerk, Ruud, and Matthijs Dekker. “Glucosinolates and myrosinase activity in red cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. var. Capitata f. rubra DC.) after various microwave treatments.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 52, no. 24 (2004): 7318-7323.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.