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Today we live in an era where dietary advise can be a little more confusing. One minute we are told that such and such food is a must for dietary inclusion, and the next minute we are told all the possible negative effects consuming it can have on our health. Fortunately, among all the bewildering and conflicting information, some foods like cabbage manage to stay off the “criminal list”

So What is Cabbage?

Cabbage is a green leafy vegetable, that belongs to Brassicaceae (also called Cruciferae) family. It is grown as an annual vegetable crop and it is closely related to broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. There are many varieties of cabbages such as Wombok, January King, Savoy, Red and Green Cabbages. Their tastes range from savory to slightly sweet.  I am pretty sure you are most familliar with the green cabbage because it is the most common type and widely used in various cuisines. It is a common choice in salad recipes, and can be eaten in various ways: raw, cooked, grated, boiled, and many more. It is round, and consists soft, whitish inner leaves covered with hard, dark green leaves.

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Raw cabbage is a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber that help protect your body. The vegetable is low in fat and calories which is why it is a popular ingredient in many low fat diets. This vegetable with green leafy layers hosts a number of nutritional and health benefits. The abundance of nutrients in cabbage will make you want to add it to your weekly diet. 

Did You Know…

  • Cabbage is one of the oldest vegetables, dating back to the 1600’s?
  • About hundred different types of cabbage are grown in the world.
  • Cabbage is considered to be a staple in countries, like China and Poland?
  • Flowering cabbages are grown for ornamental purposes and they do not develop heads.
  • Cabbage develops yellow and white flowers gathered in terminal, non-branched inflorescence.
  • The largest cabbage dish ever was made in Macedonia in 2008, with 80,191 cabbage rolls weighing 544 kg.
  • China is the largest producer and Russia is the largest consumer of cabbage in the World.

What Nutrients are in Cabbage?

Cabbage is low in calories but boasts a rather impressive nutrient profile. One cup of raw cabbage contains 22 calories, one gram of protein, two grams of fiber, and 85 percent of your recommended daily allowance of Vitamin K. It also has Vitamin C, folate, manganese, Vitamin B6, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, along with micro nutrients such as iron, riboflavin, and Vitamin A, (Amazing right?) Now lets delve into health benefits this vegetable(cabbage) has to offer us.

It Provides Relief from Constipation

Constipation occurs as a result of lack of roughage (fiber) in food. It is the root cause of many other ailments and health hazards such as stomach ulcers, headaches, gastrointestinal cancers, indigestion, and a subsequent loss of appetiteEating cabbage is good for our stomach because of its rich fiber content. This helps the body retain water and also maintain the bulkiness of the food as it moves through the bowels. Thus, it is a good remedy for constipation and other digestion-related problems. 

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Good for Your Heart

Most of us know that high blood pressure increases the risks of heart attack and stroke. Cabbage contains nutrients that are thought to be good for your heart. The vitamin C in cabbage has been shown to reduce the blood levels of an inflammatory marker called C-reactive protein, or CRP (1.) Some studies suggest a high level of CRP in the blood may be a better indicator of a person’s risk to heart disease than high cholesterol levels. Also, red cabbage is full of a compound called anthocyanins, which is responsible for its brilliant purple hue. This compound is a flavonoid that has been linked in some studies to a reduction in the risk of heart disease. So eat some cabbage, it is good for your heart! Moving on…

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It Helps Treat Stomach Pain/Ulcer

Cabbage has a long history of use as a natural remedy for stomach pains/ulcers, and the popular anti-ulcer activities of cabbage juice also seem to be backed by science. Eating cabbage or drinking cabbage juice is very effective in the treatment of peptic ulcer because of the high glutamine content it has. Despite the long history of use of cabbage juice as a remedy for ulcers, it is important that you talk to your doctor if you suspect you might have an ulcer. After determining the cause and severity of your ulcer, your doctor can help you find the best cure for you.

It Decreases The Risk of Cancer

Eating cabbage can help to protect you against the effects of carcinogens. The vegetable contains phytonutrients and glucosinolates, which are believed to help battle cancerous cells. It is also helpful in treating bladder and colorectal cancer, further research is being conducted in these areas.

Note: Cooking, particularly boiling and microwaving at high power, may reduce the bioavailability of the nutrients. To maximize the potential anti-cancer effects of cabbage, avoid over-cooking.
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It Helps in Weight Loss

If you want to loose weight cabbage is the right food to eat, (Yeah.) It is rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients but low in carbohydrates and calories (only 33 calories/ cup) which makes it a smart-carb to eat. so, eat more cabbage and don’t worrying about putting on extra weight!

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It Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Acute inflammation is part of the body’s natural healing process, but sometimes the body’s inflammatory response won’t get turned off, and the acute inflammation can gradually progress into chronic inflammation.  Cabbage is known to accumulate binding complexes in its leaves that use glutamine. Being a strong anti-inflammatory, glutanin helps to reduce the effects of various types of inflammation, irritation, allergies, joint pain, fever and various skin disorders.

It is a Powerful Immune Booster

Cabbage is very good for your immune system too, thanks to the presence of  vitamin c. One head of cabbage meets up to 60% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C, which is remarkable for such a simple vegetable.

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It Helps Detoxify Your Body

As mentioned earlier, cabbage is packed with vitamin c and sulfur which are both known to remove excess water and toxins such as free radicals and uric acid from the body. Free radicals may lead to the proliferation of malignant cells. Cabbage can help to flush out the free radicals therefore reducing the effects of possible cell damage to your body.

Is It Safe To Eat Cabbage In Pregnancy?

Yes, it is absolutely safe and in fact, health specialists recommend the inclusion of cabbage in pregnancy diet. You should, though, avoid eating raw cabbage as it is more prone to bacterial contamination, in turn, more likely to cause food poisoning. Food-borne illnesses like listeria are very risky since the infection can sicken you and the unborn baby, and it has often resulted in miscarriage, premature delivery or even stillbirth.

If you are consuming cabbage during pregnancy, do make sure that you properly wash, boil, cook, or roast it before eating. You might want to avoid coleslaw which includes raw cabbage. You can consume it in various preparations such as cabbage soup and stew.

Side-Effects & Allergies of Cabbage

Cabbage has a host of beneficial effects but it can have some detrimental effects on certain individuals. People should not opt for a cabbage-only diet for losing weight as they will lose all the benefits acquired once they revert back to their normal diet. People should avoid having products, including cabbage, containing Vitamin K if they are taking blood-thinners. This is because Vitamin K plays a pivotal role in clotting of blood. High cabbage intake may also cause bloating, flatulence or diarrhea.

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