Cabbage, along with other green vegetables such as kale, broccoli, and cauliflower are considered to be cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables have a high profile when it comes to healthy eating. They are high in fiber, vitamins C, E and K, and are considered the key to weight loss. Fiber stays in the stomach longer, so it makes you feel full longer. (Pletcher, 2016)
Cabbage is usually prepared as a side to meat, typically in a salad, served with ranch dressing like coleslaw. It’s sometimes used in vegetable stir fry’s alongside carrots, peas and other vegetables. Cabbage is also served in a casserole or other pot-cooked foods. Korea’s national food relies on cabbage – kimchi. (Appenbrink, 2016)
Today, we’ll break down seven health benefits that you can get from eating cabbage.
- Cabbage prevents inflammation
While acute inflammation is normal in the body, as a response to infection and wounds, chronic inflammation is the type of inflammation that we should worry about. Chronic inflammation is a prolonged inflammatory response that causes change to the cells in the site of inflammation. Chronic inflammation has been linked to problems with the cardiovascular system, which ultimately lead to autoimmune diseases such as lupus and arthritis. (Szalay, 2018)
Cabbage has been proven to hold anti-inflammatory properties. This is largely due to betalains, a certain type of compound, found in cabbage that prevents inflammation. It is recommended to incorporate cabbage to those at risk of arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases due to its anti-inflammatory capabilities. One thing to note, however, is that heat kills betalains. This is the reason why red cabbage is recommended to be eaten raw in a slaw. (Revolution, 2016)
- Cabbage promotes a good digestion
Cabbage is high in insoluble fiber – which is the type of fiber that keeps the digestive system healthy at all times. This type of fiber lasts longer in the stomach, making you feel more full for longer. It also bulks up the stool, to prevent diarrhea and runny stool, which is something that you should be concerned about. Aside from being high in insoluble fiber, it is also rich in soluble fiber. Soluble fiber has been linked to an increase number of the beneficial bacteria in the intestines. These beneficial bacteria help protect the immune system and produce important biochemical such as vitamins K2 and B12. (Kulaba, 2017)
It is important to keep the digestive system healthy at all times because it is the body system responsible for breaking down what you eat into the nutrients and chemicals that you need to keep your other body systems functioning at top performance. (McCoy, 2017)
- Cabbage promotes a healthy cardiovascular system
Cabbage, red cabbage, in particular, contains potent anthocyanins. Anthocyanins have been proven to suppress inflammation in the cardiovascular system. As discussed earlier, this inflammation, when prolonged turns into chronic inflammation that may lead to various heart diseases. Moreover, cabbage also contains polyphenol, which is a compound that reduces the platelet buildup and reduces high blood pressure – risks that are associated to higher chances of developing heart diseases. (Ware, 2017)
It is important to note that anthocyanins are particularly found in vegetables that are purple in color – including, red cabbage. Anthocyanins are plant pigments that belong to the flavonoid family. Flavonoids are certain types of phytonutrients that have been associated to fighting free radicals that may cause cancer. (Kulaba, 2017)
- Cabbage may lower high blood pressure
In the topic of keeping the cardiovascular system healthy, cabbage is excellent in lowering the blood pressure. That’s why cabbage is most specifically recommended to be included in the diet of hypertensive patients.
The reason why cabbage can lower the blood pressure is because it is an excellent source of potassium. A 2-cup serving of chopped cabbage already contains 12% of the recommended daily intake of potassium. Potassium is an essential nutrient in the body, as it helps counter the effects of sodium – the culprit when it comes to high blood pressure. Potassium also makes the blood vessels more relaxed and wider, preventing the risks of cholesterol buildup in the blood vessels. (Kulaba, 2017)
- Cabbage helps lower cholesterol levels
Still in the topic of cabbage keeping the cardiovascular system healthy, cabbage also helps lower cholesterol levels. Cholesterols are waxy substances that are necessary to maintain functions of the body. However, the rise in the level of bad cholesterol, better known as LDL, is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases, including the buildup of cholesterol in the arterial walls, causing for a higher blood pressure and difficulty of transporting blood to different parts of the body.
A 2012 study led by Dr. Piotr Duchnowicz lead to the conclusion that cabbage contains polyphenols, which help reduce the number of LDL cholesterol levels, as well as reducing platelet buildup and blood pressure. Polyphenols are also active in the bile-binding activities, which help lower bad cholesterol levels. (Nagdeve, 2019)
- Cabbage helps detoxify the body
If the first step to your current doctor-recommended diet is to do a detoxification, then, cabbage is the vegetable answer to your problems. Cabbage contains vitamin C and Sulphur, which are extremely helpful in ridding the body of toxins – including cancer-causing free radicals and uric acid from the body. Free radicals, aside from being the cause of cancer, cause bruising within the cells that damages them. (Revolution, 2016)
Cabbage also has incredible diuretic properties that help remove excess liquid in the body. The harmful toxins go along the excess liquid that is being flushed out of the body. The sulfur (not to be confused with Sulphur), found in cabbage also aids the kidneys in helping to break down the toxins so they can more easily be expelled. (Virgin, 2014)
- Cabbage helps regulate blood sugar
As mentioned earlier in this article, red cabbage contains betalains. Another health benefit of betalains is that they lower blood sugar levels in the body. It also stimulates the production of insulin in the body, necessary to keeping the blood sugar levels in check. This is another reason why red cabbage is most commonly eaten raw to diabetics, due to its blood sugar regulation capabilities. (Revolution, 2016)
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