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January 15, 2015, last updated June 14, 2015

By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist







Green, healthy and fresh, cabbage is the clean-living health guru
of the food world – wholesome, although often seen as boring.
Cabbage is the vegetable we think we should eat more of but
never seem to actually get round to putting on the menu. Too
many memories of soggy boiled cabbage when growing up,
perhaps?

The truth is, cabbage is a low-calorie food packed with
nutrients. Cabbage, a member of the brassica family which also
includes brussel sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli, has a great
range of health benefits and deserves a place on the table. What
exactly makes cabbage amazing for your wellbeing? How can
cabbage help your health?

Nutritional Profile of Cabbage

The USDA National Nutrient Database says one half-cup of
cabbage has just 17 calories. In this half-cup you’ll find 47
percent of all the vitamin C you need for the day, along with 102
percent of your vitamin K. You’ll also get 6 percent of your daily
need for iron, and 7 percent of manganese. Cabbage contains
small amounts of vitamin B6, folate, vitamin A, potassium,
calcium, thiamin, and zinc. You can also count on the
antioxidants beta carotene, choline, and lutein as well as
flavonoids like quercetin.

Types of Cabbage for Health

Several different varieties of cabbage mean you can vary your
menu without getting bored. Green cabbage is the most common
type, red cabbage is more nutritiously important than green
cabbage, while savoy cabbage has looser, wrinkly leaves.  
Chinese cabbage or wombok is an oval-shaped cabbage with
crinkly leaves.

How to Eat More Cabbage

You’ll be pleased to know that you don’t have to suffer the smell
of boiled cabbage in order to cook this nutritious vegetable –
cabbage only smells sulfurous when it is overcooked. Create a
more appetizing meal by eating cabbage raw, lightly boiling,
steaming, roasting, or sautéing the leaves. Make a salad out of
shredded cabbage, roast cabbage with olive oil, pepper and
garlic, add cabbage to soups and stews, stir fry savoy cabbage,
prepare stuffed cabbage rolls, or eat cabbage with a mixture of
walnuts, cheese, and apples.

We looked at the latest scientific research to show why cabbage
is so good for you – and the reasons why you should choose
cabbage as your new favorite side dish.

Top 7 Health Benefits of Cabbage






























1. Cabbage Offers Protection from Radiation Therapy

A compound called 3,3'-diindolylmethane (DIM) found in
cabbage could help to protect against the harmful consequences
of radiation therapy. A 2013 study by Georgetown University
looked at the effect of DIM on rats that were given high doses of
radiation – rats treated with an injection of DIM survived much
longer than rats that were not given the treatment.

The cabbage compound could serve as a protective shield to
safeguard healthy tissue while radiation therapy is given for
cancer treatment. (Read more about
foods that fight cancer.)

2.
Cabbage Helps Prevent Cancer

Eating more cabbage is associated with a lower risk of cancer,
according to studies like a 1999 paper from the TNO Nutrition
and Food Research Institute, Zeist, The Netherlands.

Sulforaphane in cabbage is believed to have strong cancer-
fighting powers. Sulforaphane has been tested on a variety of
different cancers including prostate, melanoma, pancreatic, and
esophageal cancer.

Researchers believe that sulforaphane inhibits the enzyme
histone deacetylase (HDAC), which helps cancer cells progress.
Apigenin in cabbage was also found to decrease the size of
breast cancer tumors in a recent University of Missouri study.

3.
Can Cabbage Help Protect Against Hair Loss?

Former UK model Gail Porter, who suffers from alopecia, is
reporting dramatic hair growth after following a strict raw
cabbage diet with plenty of exercise.

Alopecia, or hair loss, happens when the hair thins or falls out,
leaving patches or completely hair-free areas of the body.
Cabbage is believed to prevent hair loss because it is rich in
sulfur and silicon, two minerals that help hair growth.

Cabbage also contains vitamin A, which stimulates hair growth.
However, there are no recent studies that prove cabbage can
boost hair health. Anecdotal evidence exists but there is little
science behind the claims.

4.
Cabbage Boosts Heart Health

For better heart health, add cabbage to your menu.

The sulphoraphane compounds in cabbage that have been
shown to have cancer-fighting benefits are also believed to
lower the inflammation that leads to heart disease.

A 2014 study from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China shows
that high flavonoid intake is associated with protective heart
benefits.

Cabbage is a good source of flavonoids – the high polyphenol
content  in the vegetable may
reduce blood pressure and
prevent platelet buildup.

5.
Use Cabbage for Breastfeeding Help

According to folk wisdom, applying cool cabbage leaves to the
breast can lessen the pain and discomfort of breast
engorgement when a breastfeeding mother weans her baby, or
when she does not supply the regular amount of milk to her
baby for whatever reason.

While thousands of Moms say cabbage leaves do help, it seems
there is no scientific evidence behind the theory – studies like
the 1998 report from Northern Territory University in Darwin,
Australia do not show a link between cabbage and easier
weaning.

6.
Eating Cabbage Helps Prevent Diabetes?

According to a 2010 study from Leicester University, UK, eating
cabbage (or broccoli, spinach or cauliflower) every day could
significantly lower the risk of
Type 2 diabetes.

Eating high levels of green leafy vegetables like cabbage boosts
protection against diabetes, as well as provides excellent levels
of antioxidants and nutrients to prevent disease.

7.
Does the Sulphur in Cabbage Help Your Skin?

Medical experts suggest a cabbage compress can help ease skin
irritations and prevent pimple outbreaks.

Vitamin E in cabbages improves the complexion, and sulphur
helps fight against skin infection and prevents acne breakouts.

However, there are no scientific studies that show sulphur is
specifically useful for helping boost skin health.

The Vitamin C in cabbages, on the other hand, has been shown
to protect the skin against damage from ultraviolet light – a
1992 study from the University of Western Ontario, London,
Canada demonstrates that Vitamin C has a skin protective
effect.  
















































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Cabbage contains compounds that
lower your risk for heart disease and
cancer.