Let’s face it…cabbage just isn’t sexy! It doesn’t receive all the attention the rest of the cruciferous vegetable family do, but it should!
There are three main types of cabbage: green, red and Savoy. Red and green cabbage have a more distinctive taste and crunchy texture, while Savoy is more delicate. Bok choy and Chinese (Napa) cabbage are two other popular varieties. Bok choy has a mild flavor and Chinese cabbage with its pale green pretty ruffled leaves is perfect for salads.
When it comes to research on the outstanding health benefits of cabbage (and there are many) cancer prevention tops the list. Cabbage contains numerous substances with suspected or demonstrated cancer-fighting properties shown to be beneficial in several types of cancer including breast cancer.
Like its other cruciferous friends, cabbage contains indole-3-carbinol (I3C) which converts the stronger more dangerous type of estrogen to a safer, less active form of estrogen. When the stronger form of estrogen is most active in the body, it is more likely to promote tumor growth than the less active form. Research on cell cultures in the lab, have shown that I3C also inhibits growth of existing breast cancer cells. Another cancer fighting component in cabbage is sulforophane, an antioxidant that protects the body from DNA damage by fighting free radicals and also helps the body detoxify carcinogens.
Green cabbage is the most commonly eaten variety of cabbage, but I’d love for you to give red cabbage a try if its not already part of your diet. Red cabbage is not only beautiful to look at but it also contains additional health benefits not found in green cabbage. You won’t be disappointed! The red pigment polyphenols called anthocyanins in red cabbage are what make it extra special. These anthoycanins give the red cabbage significantly more protective phytonutrients than green cabbage. They have been shown to have a protective, preventative and therapeutic role in a number of diseases including cancer.
Despite having highlighted the red cabbage, the key to gaining the broadest health benefits from cabbage is to include all the different varieties in your diet. Cabbage is an inexpensive, high value vegetable that I hope you learn to love, if you don’t already!
Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin C, offering more than oranges, which are thought to be the richest source. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that reduces free radicals in the body that can cause premature aging and can help with various skin disorders. Cabbage is also a rich source of beta-carotene that promotes good eye health.
Cabbage is also a great source of vitamin K and has a huge amount of fiber. It is very low in calories and can aid in weight loss. It’s also been shown to help lower cholesterol, offer heart protection, relief from arthritis and protect bone health.
Sesame Carrot and Red Cabbage Stir Fry
The perfect fall stir-fry from Shundara at Savvy Naturalista www.savynaturalista.com
Winter Salad with Red Cabbage, Almonds and Oranges
This is as delicious as it is beautiful! From Kasia at My Full House www.my-full-house.com
*Kasia is Danish now living in Poland. Be sure to scroll down to find the English version of the recipe – its worth it!
I found this great little article called “Know Your Cabbage” in case you’d like to check some new varieties. From The Kitchn www.thekitchn.com
What’s your favorite variety of cabbage? Share below.