Thursday, 20 March 2014

Amazing Health Benefits of Cabbage 

Do you ever wonder what would be the secret of Chinese people everlasting youthfulness? Yes...It is cabbage!
Rich in phyto-nutrients, this cool season leafy vegetable belongs to the "Brassica" family of vegetables, which also include brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy, kale, and broccoli. It is one of the widely cultivated crops around the world. 

• Cabbage, is known to reduce the risk of a number of cancers, especially lung, colon, breast, ovarian stomach and bladder cancer.
• Cabbage is a muscle builder, blood cleanser and eye strengthener.
• The juice of fresh raw cabbage has been proven to heal stomach ulcer.
• Cabbage provides high levels of iron and sulphur, minerals that work in part as cleansing agents for the digestive system.
• Juice of fresh cabbage is effective in treating fungus infection(due to it sulfur content).
•Cabbage boosts the immune system’s ability to produce more antibodies.
• Cabbage can lower serum cholesterol.
• Red Cabbage has more phytonutrients than the green cabbage. The vitamin C content of red cabbage is 6-8 times higher than that of the green cabbage.
• Cabbage is a rich source of tartronic acid. This acid converts excess sugar and fat in human body. In a way it controls carbohydrates and fat. Thus, it becomes the best slimming agent. Weight loss, thus, becomes yet another health benefit of cabbage.
Cabbage is also a very good source of dietary fiber, manganese, vitamin B6 and folate, and a good source of thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, potassium, Vitamin A, tryptophan, protein and magnesium.

                            More health benefits of Cabbage are: 

  • Fresh, dark green-leafy cabbage is incredibly nutritious; however, very low in fat and calories. 100 g of leaves provide just 25 calories.
  • The vegetable is the storehouse of phyto-chemicals like thiocyanates, indole-3-carbinol, lutein, zea-xanthin, sulforaphane, and isothiocyanates. 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.
  • Fresh cabbage is an excellent source of natural antioxidant, vitamin C. Provides 36.6 mg or about 61% of RDA per 100 g. Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.
  • Total antioxidant strength measured in terms of oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC value) is 508 µmol TE/100 g. Red cabbages contain more antioxidant value, 2252 µmol TE/100 g.
  • It is also rich in essential vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential in the sense that our body requires them from external sources to replenish.
  • It also contains a adequate amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. 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.
  • Cabbage is a very good source of vitamin K, provides about 63% of RDA levels. Vitamin-K has the potential role in bone metabolism by promoting osteotrophic activity in them. So enough vitamin K in the diet gives you healthy bones. In addition, vitamin-K also has established role in curing Alzheimer's disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in their brain.

Selection and storage

Cabbage is a cool-season crop. In the US supermarkets, however one may find them a year around. While buying, choose fresh, compact, firm, medium-size head heavy for its size.
Pests are common in cabbage. Conventionally grown heads may be subjected to insecticide spray to avoid pest infestation. Therefore, wash thoroughly in running water then soak in saline water for about 30 minutes, again wash in clean water in order to remove dust, pests, eggs/ova/cysts and any residual insecticides.
Use cabbage while farm fresh to get its maximum health benefits. However, it can be stored in the refrigerator for few days for later use.

Preparation and serving methods

To prepare, trim off the stem end and discard any withered outer layer leaves. Wash the head as described above. Cut the head into two equal halves and then slice the leaves as you may desire in the recipes.
Here are some serving tips:

  • Thoroughly cleaned cabbage can be eaten raw, in fact, is very nutritious.
  • Sliced or grated raw leaves are added to vegetable salad preparations.
  • Raw sliced or chopped leaves can be added to vegetable salad preparations.
  • Fresh or pickled cabbage leaves used as rolls, in filling (sarmale), which is usually based on minced meat in many parts of Central Europe, Balkans, and Asia-minor regions.
  • Stew fried cabbage, onion, garlic, bell pepper and green chillies mixed with steamed rice, and soya/chilli/tomato sauce is one of the favorite dishes (Chowmein) in China and other South East Asian regions.
  • Furthermore, it is used in the preparation of a kind of soup with added beet juice, and yogurt known as "borscht," a very popular in eastern European nations.

Safety profile

Cabbage may contain "goitrogens,” certain plant-derived compounds, especially found in cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, etc., may cause swelling of thyroid gland and should be avoided in individuals with thyroid dysfunction. However, they may be used liberally in healthy persons. (Medical disclaimer).

Source: Nutrition and You, Natural Health US