Cabbage belongs to the botanical family Cruciferae along with Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Like other cruciferous vegetables, cabbage has the anticarcinogenic properties that are beneficial for cancer prevention. There are various types of cabbage such as red, green, and Napa and all have different profiles of glucosinolate, the pytochemical responsible for its cancer-fighting properties.

Disease/Ailments:

Elevated cholesterol
Cancer prevention
Chronic Inflammation
Peptic ulcers

Health benefits:

Peptic ulcers: Fresh cabbage juice has been shown to help heal stomach ulcers and improve health of the stomach and digestive tract.

Anti-inflammatory: The anthocyanins found in red cabbage are anti-inflammatory compounds, and isothiocyanate compounds present in other varieties of cabbage help to shut down the metabolic processes that produce components needed in the inflammatory system.

Antioxidant: Cabbage is one of the most concentrated vegetables with vitamin C, a premier antioxidant nutrient. In addition, it has phytochemicals such as flavonoids and carotenoids that function as key antioxidants.

Detoxification: Phytochemicals in cabbage called glucosinolates are converted into isothiocyanates in our bodies, which aid in both phases of the detoxification process. In addition, cabbage contains sulfur-rich nutrients, which are needed in the second phase of detoxification.

Cancer prevention: Due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and pro-detoxification properties, cabbage is highly influential in cancer prevention. The glucosinolate that is present in cruciferous vegetables is converted to isothiocyanates compounds, which are cancer preventative.

Lowering cholesterol: The fiber-related nutrients in cabbage bind some of the bile acids in the intestine and are eliminated in the stool. When this happens, the liver needs to replace the lost bile salts by drawing from its cholesterol stores and thus lowering cholesterol levels.

Good source of:

Vitamin C, K, manganese, folate

Purchasing, storing, and enjoying:

Purchasing: Choose cabbage heads that are firm and dense with shiny, crisp, and colorul leaves. They should be free form cracks, bruises, and blemishes. Severe damage to the outer leaves may indicate worm decay in the inner core. Avoid buying pre-cut cabbage since when cut, cabbage begins to lose its vitamin C content.

Storing: Store cabbage in the refrigerator. Red and green cabbage will keep for about two weeks while Savoy cabbage will keep for one week.

Enjoying:

  • Steamed: Steamed cabbage is the best way to obtain the most nutrients.
  • Fresh: Raw leaves finely shredded are excellent for salads or great when added to tacos.
  • Juice: Blend raw leaves in a blender and consume before meals for insuring a healthy digestive tract.

Resources & recipes:

Types of cabbage: http://www.thekitchn.com/know-your-cabbages-green-red-s-112856

Cabbage Rolls: http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2013/01/vegan-cabbage-rolls.html

Red Cabbage Slaw Salad: http://www.fitsugar.com/Vegan-Tahini-Cabbage-Slaw-Recipe-23163590

Cabbage Salad with Peanut Dressing: http://www.food.com/recipe/cabbage-salad-with-peanut-dressing-vegan-411003

 

 

References:

Ambrosone CB, Tang L. Cruciferous vegetable intake and cancer prevention: role of nutrigenetics. Cancer Prev Res (Phila Pa). 2009 Apr;2(4):298-300. 2009.

Higdon JV, Delage B, Williams DE, et al. Cruciferous Vegetables and Human Cancer Risk: Epidemiologic Evidence and Mechanistic Basis. Pharmacol Res. 2007 March; 55(3): 224-236. 2007.

Hu R, Khor TO, Shen G, Jeong WS, Hebbar V, Chen C, Xu C, Reddy B, Chada K, Kong AN. Cancer chemoprevention of intestinal polyposis in ApcMin/+ mice by sulforaphane, a natural product derived from cruciferous vegetable. Carcinogenesis. 2006 May 4; [Epub ahead of print. 2006. PMID:16675473.

Kushad MM, Brown AF, Kurilich AC, et al. Variation of glucosinolates in vegetable crops of Brassica oleracea. J Agric Food Chem 1999 Apr;47(4):1541-8. 1999. PMID:13320.

Kahlon TS, Chiu MC, Chapman MH. Steam cooking significantly improves in vitro bile acid binding of collard greens, kale, mustard greens, broccoli, green bell pepper, and cabbage. 2008 Jun;28(6):351-7. 2008.

Miron A, Hancianu M, Aprotosoaie AC et al. [Contributions to chemical study of the raw polysaccharide isolated from the fresh pressed juice of white cabbage leaves]. Rev Med Chir Soc Med Nat Iasi. 2006 Oct-Dec;110(4):1020-6. 2006.

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About the Author

Ashley Kim

"Our bodies are our gardens—our wills are our gardeners." – William Shakespeare

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