Cabbage is a delicate vegetable that grows especially well in fertile soils. There are various types of cabbage avaailabe that vary in color. You can find various shades of green, as well as red or purple types. Head shape varies from the standard round to flattened or pointed. Most varieties have smooth leaves, but the Savoy types have crinkly textured leaves.
Always regarded as a good source of vitamins, cabbage recently has been shown to have disease-preventive properties as well.
Cabbage is a leafy green or purple biennial plant. It is grown as an annual vegetable crop for its dense and packed leaves which are edible. Cabbages are multi-layered vegetables that are primarily leaves. Cabbage is available perennially all around the year an has become an integral part of our daily diet. From salads to curries and soups, cabbages find their place in out diet.
Each layer or leaf of the cabbage is packed with huge amounts of natural anti-oxidants that help you fight cancer. Cabbage is one of the vegetables that is highly recommended for prevention of cancer.
There are three major varieties of cabbage, namely green, savoy and red/purple. The purple/red variety has much more nutrients because of pigmentation of red/purple color. In general, both the greed and red cabbages have smooth leaves. However, savoy variety is more ruffled, crumpled layers and yellowish green in color. Irrespective of the color of the cabbage you choose, all of them are packed with nutrients. They are all very low in calorific value and very high in both fiber and nutrients. Eating just 1 ounce of any of the cabbages provides 4 percent of the recommended daily intake of eight vitamins and minerals. Due to their high fiber content, apart from these the health benefits cabbage has span to weight loss as well.
One of the issues that persist with cabbages is the fact that they may contain cabbage worms (or brain worms) that are highly detrimental to health. The key to ensure that you remove these worms from your cabbage is cleaning your cabbage in salt water or vinegar water. Read more about how you can remove the cabbage worms in our article, Cabbage Worms – Dangerous if not cleaned. However, while a lot of people are skeptical about eating raw cabbages, the health benefits cabbage provides, exceeds much more than this minor issue.
Read more about health benefits cabbage provide:
Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin K. Cabbage is also a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6 and folate, cabbage may have protective effects against colon cancer as well. In addition to its usual purpose as an edible vegetable, cabbage has been used historically as a medicinal herb for a variety of purported health benefits.
Storage: Keeping your cabbage cold will help it retain its nutrients and crisp texture. Place inside a plastic bag first. It should stay in prime condition for up to two weeks.
Cleaning & Cutting: Do not wash cabbage until you are ready to use it. Refrain from washing before storing. Cabbage can store well in a hydrator drawer. You can put the cabbage in a plastic bag to help retain moisture but it isn’t totally necessary.
Cut cabbages first into quarters and then diagonally across the wedge. Then, cut into thin slices for tossing raw into salads or cut a little thicker for steaming or boiling.
How to Buy: Cabbage comes in either a green or red color. When picking out green cabbages, look for those that are shiny and bright, almost lime, green. Red cabbages should be a deep maroonish-purple color. If you feel a cabbage and it feels soft and spongy rather than firm and dense, your cabbage might be rotten on the inside. Only pick out cabbages that are firm or hard to the touch.
Special Steps: When you cut cabbage in half, it begins to lose its vitamin C. If you will store half of a cabbage, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator for up to two days.
TIP: If you notice any signs of worms or insects, which sometimes appears in cabbage, soak the head in salt water or vinegar water for 15-20 minutes first.
The health benefits of cabbage include frequent use as a treatment for constipation, stomach ulcers, headaches, obesity, skin disorders, eczema, jaundice, scurvy, rheumatism, arthritis, gout, eye disorders, heart diseases, aging, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Mineral Content: It also contains a adequate amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is required for the red blood cell formation.
Vitamin & Compounds: Fresh cabbage is an excellent source of natural antioxidant, vitamin C and Vitamin K. Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals. It is also rich in essential vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and thiamin (vitamin B-1).
Water Content: Cabbage is 93 percent water by weight.
Carbohydrate Content: Fresh, dark green-leafy cabbage is incredibly nutritious; but very low in fat and calories. 100 g of leaves provide just 25 calories.
These compounds are powerful antioxidants and known to help protect against breast, colon, and prostate cancers and help reduce LDL or “bad cholesterol” levels in the blood.
Bone health: Cabbage is a great sources of minerals, like calcium, magnesium, and potassium. These three essential minerals are integral in the protection of bones from degradation and the onset of conditions like osteoporosis and general bone weakening.
Eye health: Cabbage is a rich source of beta-carotene, so many people, particularly as they get older, turn to cabbage for its ability to prevent macular degeneration and generally promote good eye health.
Brain health: Cabbage is a very powerful brain food. The presence of Vitamin K and anthocyanins within cabbage can give a strong boost to mental function and concentration.
Blood pressure and heart health: The presence of potassium in cabbage also makes it a wonderful way to protect yourself from elevated blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Inflammation: Cabbage is known to accumulate a build-up of cadmium-binding complexes in its leaves, and one of the main components of that is glutamine. Glutamine is a strong anti-inflammatory agent, so consuming cabbage can reduce the effects of many type of inflammation, irritation, allergies, joint pain, fever, and various skin disorders.
Cancer: Cabbage scavenge free radicals from around the body, which can be very detrimental to overall health and are major contributors to things like cancer.
Cabbage also has a number of anti-cancer compounds, like lupeol, sinigrin, and sulforaphane, which are known to stimulate enzyme activity and inhibit the growth of tumors, which can lead to cancer.
Weight management: Cabbage is frequently recommended for people who want to lose weight. Cabbage is extremely low in calories, only 33 calories in a cup of cooked cabbage.
Metabolism: Cabbage is a huge weight loss booster because it contains high amounts of B Vitamins, considered natural metabolism boosters.
Skin: Cabbage has a wealth of different antioxidant sources, including vitamin-C, anthocyanins, sulphur, and other smaller sources. Antioxidants play a major role in skin health and the general toning and improvement of the body in response to the aging process.
Bloating – Excessive consumption of cabbage may lead to increased intestinal gas which causes bloating, which the human small intestine cannot digest.
Food-borne illness – Cabbage has been linked to outbreaks of some food-borne illnesses. The latter toxin has been traced to pre-made, packaged coleslaw mixes, while the spores were found on whole cabbages that were otherwise acceptable in appearance.
Goiter and iodine intake – Cabbage contains small amount of thiocyanate, a compound associated with goiter formation when iodine intake is deficient.
Here are some simple and delicious cabbage recipes.
1) Stuffed Cabbage Rolls: This is a great way to use leftover brown rice; it makes a satisfying and delicious meal.
2) Spring Rolls: This recipe is really easy; it’s really more of a process than a recipe. Rice paper wrappers, which are available in the ethnic sections of most larger supermarkets these days, are a great way to wrap your veggies and protein for a quick snack or light lunch.
3) Black bean and cabbage stew: Loaded with veggies and nutrients, a perfect dish for a delightful dinner.