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Health and Nutritional Benefits of Cabbage

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

Latin Name: Brassica oleraceae.

In India, cabbage is called Bandh Gobi.

About Cabbage

Cabbage is a cool-season leafy, green edible vegetable whose leaves cluster around compactly to form a round or oval dense head. There are several varieties of cabbage with colours ranging from green, red and purple to the loose wrinkled savoury variety.

Chinese cabbage or bok choy, however, belongs to a different species though it belongs to the same genus Brassica.

Though it not known for certain which country cabbage is native to, it was grown in Ancient Greece and Rome and reached Europe around 600 BC.

There are various ways to consume cabbage, from eating it raw in salads to steaming, braising, sauteing, stewing and even pickling.

The phytonutrients in cabbage react with carbon steel and turn the leaves black. For this reason, use a stainless steel knife or a thick plastic knife to cut cabbage.

If you find some worms or insects within the folds of the cabbage head, soak the head in saltwater or vinegar water for about 15 minutes to dislodge them and then rinse it.

The characteristic flavour of cabbage is due to the glucosinolates it contains. Cabbage seeds contain the highest concentration of these glucosinolates.

Overcooking cabbage sometimes produces an unpleasant tasting and smelling vegetable due to the production of hydrogen sulphide.

Cabbage has also been used traditionally as a medicinal plant.

Some people suffer from gastric distress when they consume cabbage. This can be overcome by blanching the whole or curt cabbage head for 5 minutes before cooking it if needed. Change the water if you need to cook it.

Nutritional Benefits Of Cabbage

  • Cabbage is a low calorie, low fat and no cholesterol vegetable.
  • It is a good source of dietary fibre.
  • Cabbage is unusually rich in phytochemicals like thiocyanates, indole-3-carbinol, lutein, zeaxanthin, isothiocyanates and sulforaphane which are very powerful antioxidants. It has an orac value of 508 THE/100grams. Red cabbage has an orac value of 2258 THE/100 grams.
  • It contains very high levels of vitamin C and K supplying about 61% and 63% of the daily requirement respectively per 100 grams.
  • Cabbage contains several minerals like potassium, iron, manganese, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium.
  • It is a good source of folates and several other B complex vitamins like pyridoxine, thiamine, pantothenic acid and riboflavin,
  • Though cabbage contains very low levels of fat but contains surprisingly large amounts of the omega 3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in proportion to fat levels. In fact, there is far more ALA in 100 calories of cabbage than in 100 calories of salmon.

Cabbage Nutrition Facts

Cabbage (Brassica oleracea, capitata group), 

Nutrition Value per 100 g

 

(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)

 

Principle

Nutrient Value

Percentage of RDA

Energy

25 kcal

1%

Carbohydrates

5.8 g

4%

Protein

1.3 g

2%

Total Fat

0.1 g

0.50%

Cholesterol

0 mg

0%

Dietary Fiber

2.50 mg

6%

Vitamins

 

 

Folates

53 mcg

13%

Niacin

0.234 mg

1.50%

Pantothenic acid

0.212 mg

4%

Pyridoxine

0.124 mg

10%

Riboflavin

0.040 mg

3%

Thiamin

0.061 mg

5%

Vitamin A

98 IU

3%

Vitamin C

36.6 mg

61%

Vitamin K

76 mcg

63%

Electrolytes

 

Sodium

18 mg

1%

Potassium

170 mg

3.50%

Minerals

 

Calcium

40 mg

4%

Iron

0.47 mg

6%

Magnesium

12 mg

3%

Manganese

0.160 mg

7%

Phosphorus

26 mg

3.50%

Zinc

0.18 mg

1.50%

Phyto-nutrients

 

Alpha-Carotene

33 mcg

--

Beta-Carotene

42 mcg

--

Lutein-zeaxanthin

30 mcg

--

Cabbage & Green Peas Vegetable Indian Style

Health Benefits Of Cabbage

Some of the major health benefits of cabbage are:

  • Anti Cancer

Cabbage has been hailed as an outstanding cancer inhibitor. Extensive studies, hundreds of them, have been conducted to find out its cancer-preventing benefits.

Cancer has the following 3 varied and rich nutrients that make it a unique vegetable in the prevention of cancer.

1. Antioxidants

Cabbage has excellent levels of Vitamin C, good levels of beta carotene. Also, it has an exceptional range of antioxidant phytonutrients of which the polyphenols are ranked very high as powerful antioxidants. The polyphenols have anti-inflammatory benefits as well.

These antioxidants prevent oxidative stress which helps to reduce cancer risk.

2. Anti-inflammatory compounds

When inflammation combines with oxidative stress the chances of cancer increase manifold.

The anthocyanins in cabbage (red cabbage is extremely rich in them), specifically provide anti-inflammatory benefits thereby reducing the risk of cancer.

Cabbage also contains omega-3 fatty acid ALA, that is an anti-inflammatory too.

3. Glucosinolates

Glucosinolates in cabbage are converted into isothiocyanates that have cancer-preventing properties. Isothiocyanates help detoxify the body as well.
A diet rich in cruciferous vegetables like cabbage reduces the risk of lung cancer in smokers.

  • Improves Digestive Health

Cabbage especially cabbage juice heals stomach ulcers. The glucosinolates, the polyphenols and glutamine help in keeping the digestive tract healthy. They help in reducing the proliferation of Helicopter pylori bacteria in the stomach and also prevent issues like constipation, bloating, indigestion etc.

  • Lower Cholesterol Levels

The fibre in raw and cooked cabbage both reduce cholesterol levels by binding to the bile acids and removing them from the body thus preventing them from emulsifying fats and getting absorbed. Shortage of bile acids forces the liver to draw cholesterol from the body and as a consequence cholesterol levels are lowered.

It is to be noted here that lightly steaming cabbage increases its cholesterol increasing ability.

Some More Health Benefits Of Cabbage

Cabbage detoxifies the body. The sulphur compounds and vitamin C aid in detoxifying the body and purifying the blood

The anti-inflammatory benefits extend to providing relief in gout, arthritic and rheumatic affections,

Cabbage is rich in iodine and iodine is needed for healthy functioning of the brain and nervous system. Cabbage consumption can, therefore, benefit in Alzheimer's disease.

Cabbage aids in the healing of wounds and fights microbial infections due to its sulphur compounds. It also boosts immunity levels, counters ageing, controls weight, keeps the hair, skin and eyes healthy, keeps bones strong, relieves headache etc.

Some Useful Information

To maximize the benefits of cabbage for cancer cabbage should be eaten only raw or better still only cooked for a short while. Cooking for a long period destroys the myrosinase enzyme. It is the myrosinase enzyme that converts the glucosinolates to allyl isothiocyanate and this particular isothiocyanate has the property of reducing the risk of various types of cancer of including cancer of the prostate, breast, colon and bladder.

It has been found that steaming cabbage for just under 5 minutes is the optimum time to gain this benefit.

This can also be done by allowing the sliced or shredded cabbage to sit for 5 to 10 minutes for the myrosinase to convert the glucosinolates into allyl isothiocyanate before it is cooked.

Sinigrin, one of the glucosinolates offering cancer protection, sometimes contributes to the slightly bitter taste in cabbage This should not be a deterrent to its consumption as sinigrin is also converted to allyl isothiocyanate.

A Word About Red Cabbage

Red cabbage is nutritionally more concentrated in polyphenols than green cabbage.

It contains 196.5 mg/100 grams of polyphenols containing 28.3 mg of anthocyanins versus 45 mg of polyphenols containing 0.01 mg of anthocyanins in green cabbage.

Also, red cabbage contains 6 to 8 times more vitamin C than green cabbage.

Precautions

Cabbage contains certain nutrients that may interfere in the thyroid gland's ability to produce thyroid hormones thereby causing swelling of the thyroid gland.

Those with impaired thyroid function should avoid consuming cabbage.

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Disclaimer

The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.

Some Of My Other Hubs On Healthy Foods

  • Health Benefits Of Prunes
    Dried Prunes may not be the among the handsomest of fruits with their dark and wrinkly appearance but they have amazing health benefits. Read on to learn about the various health benefits of prunes..
  • Health Benefits Of Macadamia Nuts
    Macadamia nuts are called a functional food. Learn about the excellent nutritional profile as well as the many health benefits of macadamia nuts, by reading on...
  • Health Benefits Of Karela Or Bitter Melon
    Karela is also called bitter gourd, bitter melon or bitter squash. It is probably the most bitter fruit that is used as a vegetable. Learn about the health benefits of Karela, by reading on...
  • The Health Benefits Of Asparagus Or Shatavari
    Asparagus is called Shatavari in India. While the shoots are eaten, the roots are used in Ayurvedic medicine. Learn about the impressive list of health benefits of asparagus by reading on...

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly

Comments

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on September 11, 2013:

@Donna-thanks for stopping by.

@Karthik-thanks.

@Mahavir-This is new info and a very useful one. I'm going to try this out. Thanks for reading and sharing.

@cepheid-thanks.

Christopher P from Estonia on September 11, 2013:

Love cabbages especially on a stew.

Hmm, ..

Mahaveer Sanglikar from Pune, India on September 11, 2013:

Those who do not like using onion in recipes, should use cabbage leaves instead of onions. Many people are doing this, and this makes the food tasty.

As always it is another great Hub from you. Thanks.

Shared with followers.

Karthik Kashyap from India on September 10, 2013:

I hadn't seen this hub earlier. Very well written and very informative hub :)

Donna Campbell Smith from Central North Carolina on September 10, 2013:

Cabbage is very inexpensive, so it is good to know it is so healthy.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on May 04, 2013:

Paul,

Our salads too comprise ofraw cabbage and we also cook it as a vegetable. I'm glad you like the information. Thanks for giving the hub a thumbs up and for all the sharing.

Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on May 03, 2013:

rajan,

This is another awesome hub on a vegetable which is certainly very beneficial to good health. My parents used to always plant cabbage in their garden. My mother would then cook it sometimes as sauerkraut, a German dish, or boil it and serve it with corned beef which my father loved. I wasn't aware that cabbage was so high in Vitamin C! In some Thai dishes, cabbage is served raw in salad form. Voted up and sharing. Also Pinning and Tweeting.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 26, 2013:

@ Catherine - You are going to reap a real healthy crop of cabbage soon. Appreciate the input and thanks for visiting.

@ Eddy - Always a pleasure to see you around, my friend. Thank you.

@ Cathy - Your comment is heartwarming. Thanks very much.

Cathy from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri on February 26, 2013:

Excellent hub on one of my favorite vegetables, especially at St. Paddy's Day. Thank you for doing such a great job providing so much information and noting the value of its contents. And recipes, yes. I might prescribe to eating it raw now though!

Eiddwen from Wales on February 26, 2013:

This series is so interesting my friend;keep them coming.

Eddy.

Catherine Dean from Milledgeville, Georgia on February 25, 2013:

Currently I am growing five heads of red (purple) cabbages. I love fresh slaw with fish and pork. Great hub! I voted up.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 25, 2013:

@ moonlake - I've never tasted sauerkraut so it would be interesting to make it. Thanks for stopping by.

@ Mary - I'm glad you got this info from the hub. It is better to avoid it till you can ask your doctor. Appreciate the visit.

@ shin_rock - Thanks for coming by.

shin_rocka04 from Maryland on February 25, 2013:

Cabbage is definitely one of my favorite vegetables to eat and I'm glad it's rich with vitamins and nutrients. Sharing and voting up.

Mary Craig from New York on February 25, 2013:

I cannot thank you enough for this one Rajan. I like raw cabbage but had no idea it interfered with thyroid function! I already have an under active thyroid so don't need anything to make it worse. Rajan to the rescue armed with so much good information!!

Voted up, useful, and interesting.

moonlake from America on February 25, 2013:

Very useful hub. Love cabbage love eating it raw. People here like to make sauerkraut out of it. We have a big old crock that we inherited from my uncle and he always used it to make his sauerkraut. Voted up and shared.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 24, 2013:

@Prasetio - thanks for visiting and commenting.

@ Kas - lightly steaming or cooking it is the best way to go. Thanks for the vote up.

@ Nithya - thanks for reading and commenting.

@ Rasma - Glad you like the information about your favorite vegetable. Thanks.

@ Devika - good to know you cabage is one of your favorite foods. Thanks fro visiting.

@ John - thanks for your input. And thanks for talikng time to read and share.

@ Aurelio - this is a lucky coincidence and good for you. Appreciate the votes.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on February 24, 2013:

We actually just bought a bunch of cabbage because they were on sale at the grocery. Good to know the health benefits of our purchase. Voting this Up and Useful.

JCielo from England on February 24, 2013:

When I was a child my gran, who lived with us, always used to give me the liquid left over after she boiled cabbage (she called it the 'bree') because she said it would 'help to build me up.' I loved it then and still do today!

Super hub Rajan, as always. Voted up, useful and shared.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 24, 2013:

The benefits are so good to know of and these are some of my favorite foods. Interesting information and often over looked.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on February 24, 2013:

A great and informative hub. Nice to know that one of my favorite vegetables has so many benefits. I even love the aroma when it's cooking. Passing this on.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on February 23, 2013:

Great hub, cabbage is very healthy but very few like it because of the smell. Thanks for sharing.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 23, 2013:

@ Cyndi - I too was surprised about the omega 3 as it came up as totally unexpected while I was researching. Thanks for coming by.

@ Kathyrn - Cabbage subzi is the way we make cabbage here. I hope you give it a try.

@ Bill - Nice to know you have the info now.

@ WND - thanks and I do hope you go for it .

@ Bill - You now know the reason why cabbage smells wile cooking. Appreciate the input.

@ Georgie - I hope this motivates you to eat cabbage regularly.

@ Donna - Glad you are motivated to start growing cabbage again.

@ Carol - Yes almost, after all they are from the same family. Thanks for commenting.

Kas from Bartlett, Tennessee on February 23, 2013:

Alright Rajan, you've hit upon on another favorite of mine. Not as much a fan of raw cabbage but I do enjoy it cooked. I honestly didn't know it was quite that nutritious though, nor did I know that it was a cancer fighter. Thanks for writing a very informative and interesting hub! Voting up!

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on February 23, 2013:

Very informative hub and well written. I learn many things here, especially to know that cabbage useful for our health. My mother often use cabbage for cooking as various menu. Thank you very much for writing and share with us. Voted up and Take care!

Prasetio

carol stanley from Arizona on February 23, 2013:

A reminder we have not had cabbage in a few weeks..I guess brussel sprouts count as little cabbages. Thanks for this great hub as always..and I am off th get some cabbage. Thanks...voting up and sharing.

Donna Hilbrandt from Upstate New York on February 23, 2013:

Another good, informational hub. I love cabbage. I like it best as a raw salad, but I also like it cooked. I tried growing it in my garden two summers ago, and it wasn't extremely successful. The cabbage heads were quite small. I may try again. Voted up.

GH Price from North Florida on February 23, 2013:

I love cabbage, raw or cooked, and now I know that it is very good for me. Thank you fir this very useful Hub!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 23, 2013:

It's funny my friend, but I hate the smell of cooked cabbage. It is some weird thing that has been with me my entire life. I have never gotten over it and still to this day I don't like being in the kitchen when someone is preparing cabbage. Having said that, you have done another great job of detailing the benefits of this vegetable. Well done! Have a wonderful weekend.

wetnosedogs from Alabama on February 23, 2013:

Thanks for this wonderful cabbage hub. I love cabbage and I love soup. I really need to try that.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on February 23, 2013:

Rajan, once again you have educated me about the benefits of one of my favorite veggies. I've always known that green leafy veggies are good of us but had no idea as to the extent. Great info.

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on February 23, 2013:

This is another informative article about food. I haven't cooked with cabbage very often, but I do enjoy cole slaw. The recipe for Cabbage Subzi looked great. I haven't heard of all of those ingredients, but it makes me curious. At some point I will try a similar type of cooked cabbage. Thanks for sharing your vast knowledge of foods with us!

Cynthia B Turner from Georgia on February 23, 2013:

I like cabbage, but had no idea there is Omega 3 in it. Thank you for some very useful information about the health benefits found in cabbage. Thanks, too, for providing the recipes.

Have a great weekend.