Okay, it’s not really magic. But this vegetable that looks a little like a brain is good for the brain—and virtually everything else in your body. So much so that this cruciferous vegetable can contribute to your general health and healing what ails.
It comes in different varieties (green, purple, savoy, bok choy) and can be eaten in many delicious ways. Popular in Asian and Eastern European cuisine, there are good reasons to add some leaves to your daily diet.
Cabbage has many nutrients that your body needs: vitamins C, E, and K; sulphur; beta-carotene; potassium; magnesium; and calcium. This, in addition to its intrinsic fiber, are all valuable components for your body.
Cabbage contains more vitamin C than an orange. This water-soluble vitamin isn’t stored in your body so must be regularly replenished to maintain balance. C is an efficient antioxidant that is crucial for healing and fighting disease. Affecting the immune and nervous systems, the vitamin C in cabbage can reduce the progression of degenerative disease like Alzheimer’s and cancer.
1. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
One of the components of cabbage is glutamine, the most common amino acid, which the body stores in muscle and the lungs. Glutamine is an anti-inflammatory; eating food rich in glutamine can reduce the effects of allergies, joint pain, muscle aches, fever, and skin disorders. New mothers know about using cabbage leaves to soothe breast pain after childbirth.
2. Blood Pressure
The potassium in cabbage keeps blood vessels open and flowing, maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. High blood pressure increases the risk of stroke and heart attack.
3. Bone health
The minerals abundant in cabbage are essential for bone strength and the prevention of osteoporosis and similar degenerative bone conditions.
4. Brain Function
Vitamin K protects from nerve damage and promotes brain health. It is necessary for blood coagulation and the creation of certain proteins in the body. By protecting the nerves, K prevents the effects of degeneration, like dementia.
Anthocyanins are what make red cabbage red (and red grapes which are used to make red wine, another source of anthocyanins). This is a rich antioxidant that has been found to reduce the risk of cancers and support the brain and entire nervous system.
5. Cancer Prevention
Due to its various resident antioxidants, cabbage and other members of the Brassica vegetable family get rid of free radicals which can cause internal damage if not kept in check. Additional natural chemical compounds found in cabbage have been found to possess anti-cancer agents: lupeol, sinigrin, and suforaphane. A study at Vanderbilt University concluded that eating cruciferous vegetables contributed to breast cancer survival.
6. Eye Health
Cabbage is loaded with beta-carotene, which is known to contribute to eye health and prevention of cataracts of the eye.
7. Weight Loss, Detoxification, Digestion, and Fighting Infection
Due to its high fiber content, cabbage fills you up while providing essential vitamins and minerals. Toxins in your blood and organs are gathered and removed, especially those that contribute to rheumatism, arthritis, and skin disease.
Low in calories (33 calories in one cup of cooked cabbage), you can eat a lot and get all its benefits without feeling hungry. The fiber also reduces the incidence of constipation, which can lead to gastrointestinal health issues and the accumulation of toxins that contribute to premature aging, skin disease, ulcers, and headaches.
As with most vegetables, the cooking process removes some of the nutritional value so you’re better off eating your cabbage raw. Fortunately, it’s good fermented and in slaw and salads. If you have thyroid problems, however, you should avoid cruciferous vegetables (including cabbage) as they may interfere with thyroid function.