The health benefits of cabbage are well now known but most household wrinkle their noses at the mere mention of this valuable, misunderstood vegetable.
Cabbage derives its curative properties form its strong phyto-nutrients and anti-oxidant elements that help strengthen your immunity to fight off infections.
It belongs to cruciferous family just like kale, Brussels sprouts, kale, collard greens and broccoli. Health benefits of cabbage vary depending on the type of cabbage, but purple red cabbage is the most nutritious than light green cabbage or savoy-cabbage because of its rich red/purple pigmentation.
Structurally, cabbage is composed of firm, superimposed leaves placed over each other in dense layers giving it a ball like shape.
When buying cabbage heads go for fresh ones; look for cabbage that has a firm and dense shiny leaves, crispy, colorful leaves free from cracks, bruises or blemishes. Avoid cabbage with severely damaged or decayed outer leaves as they are signs of worm infested or overstayed stock.
Buy small sized cabbage heads that you can cook at once. This is because the moment you cut cabbage, it starts to lose its nutrients - vitamin C. Incase you can’t cook your cabbage all at once, wrap the remaining portion with a tight perforated plastic paper and keep it refrigerated to prevent loss of this vital vitamin.
Nutritional Benefits of Cabbage
Cabbage is one of few vegetables with very –very- low calories and fats content and zero cholesterol.
It’s highly rich in dietary fiber, vitamins (A, B, K and especially vitamin C) and folate.
It stores vital minerals like potassium, sulfur, iodine, iron and phosphorus. In addition; it also contains essential vitamins, which your body can’t manufacture on its own, like thiamin (vitamin B-1), pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5) and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6).
Cabbage contains lactic acid, which is a cleansing property. Lactic acid helps clean and disinfect colon from toxic substances. It also helps relieve muscle soreness.
Cabbage is highly endowed with roughage that’s very vital in relieving and preventing constipation.
Health Benefits of Cabbage
Studies show that different types of cabbage contain different patterns of glucosinolates. This means that your broadest health benefits of cabbage comes from inclusion of all varieties in your diet.
Anti-cancer: - Several studied have proved that regular consumption of cabbage reduces the risk of developing cancer infections.
Cabbage contains powerful anti-oxidant compounds such as lutein, zeaxanthin, isothiocyanates and sulforaphane that are widely known to help protect against lung, breast, prostate, colon and ovarian cancers.
Detoxification: - Cabbage is a good detoxifier too. The presence of sulforaphane, iodine and vitamin C helps detoxify enzymes and clean cells in the body. They work together in purifying the blood and removing toxins from the body.
This cleansing effect prevents diseases like skin infections, renal calculi, eczema and arthritis etc.
Anti Ulcers: - Fresh raw cabbage juice…particularly from red cabbage… contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties and sulphur that are very effective in dealing with stomach ulcers especially peptic ulcers.
Skin Wound/Injuries: - Cabbage leaves are rich in glutamine and sulhur, which are substances that speed up healing of wounds. Squeeze some juice from the leaves on the wound and then place the leaf directly on the injured or burnt area of the skin.
Repeat the process severally using fresh leaves after cleaning the wound until the wound heals.
Weight loss: - Cabbage is very helpful in losing weight. Its rich fiber and extremely low calories and fats content make a perfect combination for burning fats naturally. It also contains substances that inhibit conversion of carbohydrates and calories into fats.
Improve immune system: - The rich and strong phyto-nutrients present such as vitamin C and micro-minerals help strengthen your immunity to fight off infections.
Constipation: - Cabbage is a wonderful remedy for constipation. It’s highly packed with roughage that helps relieve and prevent constipation. Roughage has the ability to retain water and soften the bowel hence making it to move gently in the large intestine.
Brain Food: - Studies have linked red cabbage in particular, to have the potential of reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin K and anthocyanins anti-oxidants present also help prevent a certain type of protein called amyloid beta from damaging the brain cells.
Strong Gums: - Vitamin C prevents scurvy, which is known for spongy and bleeding gums, cracked lip corners etc.
Unlike most vegetables, cabbage is highly venerable to pests or worms and it’s frequently exposed to pesticide spray.
So, once at home, wash it with plenty of running water to get rid of any pesticide/insecticide residual, soil or dust on the surface. Open the loosely outer leaves and wash thoroughly…worms like snails like hiding in-between the superimposed leaves.
Use a clean chopping board and a shape knife to chop the cabbage into small pieces. Cabbage is more nutritious if eaten raw--add sliced or grated raw leaves in vegetable salad for more taste.
Avoid overcooking cabbage because it tends to decrease in its nutritional value especially vitamin C and the remaining nutrients become difficult to digest.
Studies suggest we should have 2 to 3 serving of cabbage per week. To ensure don’t miss health benefits of cabbage; consider growing some at your backyard.
Cabbage hinders absorption of iodine. Incase you suffer from thyroid disorders and you frequently eat cabbage, ensure your get iodine supplements.
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