Benefits of Cabbage – Fight Cancer and More
When was the last time you ate cabbage? I know, I know...it’s not a fancy food. In fact, it has such a reputation for being an unwanted veggie that the awesome benefits of cabbage have pretty much been forgotten or ignored!
Part of the cruciferous family (like kale and spinach), cabbage is one of the cheapest, easiest, and most effective health foods. Additionally, you can find (literally) anywhere!
No matter where you live, whether you have access to a farmer’s market or not, you’re going to be able to buy cabbage. Up until a few decades ago, cabbage was a staple food item in families. Especially those families who lived on a budget.
Two things that keep modern families from including the benefits of cabbage in their meal plans are the slightly strong taste and tough texture when eaten raw. An easy way to fix this is to shred or fine-dice cabbage so it’s easier to chew and the flavor blends with other ingredients.
Cruciferous veggies are some of the best-researched foods on the planet. There’s a good reason for that...they’re packed with compounds that prevent and fight disease.1
The most popular cabbage varieties in the United States are green and red cabbage. Red has a slightly higher nutritional value than green but both are loaded with good stuff your body is going to love...so consider shredding them together to maximize your cabbage benefits!
5 Whole-Body Health Benefits of Cabbage
- Incredible nutrition: Cabbage is packed with multiple forms of vitamin B, C, K, manganese, fiber, potassium, copper, folate, and so much more. The antioxidant properties of this much-maligned veggie are enough on their own to warrant inclusion in your eating plan. Just half a cup of steamed or raw cabbage provides 47% of your daily vitamin C requirement.2
- Naturally anti-inflammatory: You know the drill when it comes to the dangers of rampant inflammation in the human body. Cabbage is packed with anthocyanins that are scientifically proven to lower inflammation.3
- Diabetic friendly: Naturally low in calories and with a “very low” ranking on the glycemic index, cabbage offers a lot of good stuff without the hit to your blood sugar. You can eat as much cabbage as you want without sending your glucose levels into a panic.
- Excellent for digestion: Perhaps this is the most well-known aspect of eating cabbage. It’s got a long history of helping to keep you “regular” with plenty of soluble fiber while also mending damage to the digestive tract (such as peptic ulcers). Fermented cabbage boosts your good gut flora and removes bad bacteria that you don’t want.4
- Heart healthy: If you eat cabbage steamed, special compounds are released that help lower overall cholesterol in your body. This occurs in raw cabbage as well but to a lesser degree. Cholesterol plays a key role in bile production. Substances in cabbage bind to the cholesterol-based bile acid and flush it from your system rather than letting it build up.5
Preventing and Fighting Cancer with Cabbage
One of the most promising properties of this old-school vegetable is its ability to lower overall oxidative stress and mop up free radicals that can lead to cell abnormalities and cancer.6
The sulforaphane in cabbage has been studied repeatedly and found effective in preventing breast, colon, prostate, and bladder cancer.7
If you opt for conventional cancer therapies (such as radiation), the 3,3'-diindolylmethane (DIM) found in cabbage is definitely something you want to add to your diet
Researchers with Georgetown University conducted a radiation therapy study on rats. They discovered that rats administered DIM isolated from cabbage lived longer – reaching the goal of 30 days set by the team – than non-supplemented rats after fatal doses of radiation were administered.
The supplemented rats also tested higher in red blood cells, white blood cells, and blood platelets than those rats that didn’t receive DIM. Those involved in the study hope to use this compound to protect healthy tissue in those patients who undergo conventional cancer treatments.8
A natural chemical called apigenin provides another powerful cancer-fighting benefit of cabbage. The substance is found in several cruciferous and leafy green veggies and has a dramatic effect on reduction of tumor size in a study released by the University of Missouri.9
Another incredible compound that occurs naturally in red cabbage is anthocyanin, an antioxidant that slows the spread and multiplication of cancer cells.
It also shows great promise in stimulating apoptosis (cell death) in cancerous cells. Also known as “cell suicide,” apoptosis is the backbone of many cutting-edge natural therapies being studied around the world in the fight against cancer.
Adding the Benefits of Cabbage to Your Meals
Choosing your cabbage from your local produce department is easy. It should feel “heavy,” solid, firm to the touch, without separation to a lot of the outer leaves. Cabbage is naturally compact. It holds up far longer than most leafy greens – lasting two weeks or more in the refrigerator – which means less food waste. Again, it’s incredibly inexpensive!
You can eat it boiled, steamed, sautéed, or raw. No matter how you choose to prepare it, consider shredding or dicing it first! It’s easier to chew and allows the flavors to blend with the other ingredients in your meal.
Toss shredded cabbage with spring greens and spinach for a delicious and nutrition-packed salad.
If you prefer cabbage cooked, shred green and red cabbage and sauté it in a bit of grass-fed butter. Medium heat for about five minutes is all you need to make this otherwise “boring” veggie a superstar.
Cabbage really takes on spices well so don’t be shy about dashing a bit of salt, garlic, or adding diced onion to your pan. Adding other vegetables, noodles, strips of beef or pork, or chopped chicken is a great way to make cabbage part of a nutritious meal.
The benefits of cabbage are well-known and definitely something you want to try in your daily eating plan.
3 Budget Friendly Ways to Up Your “Health Food Game”
Eating right and getting excellent nutrition doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. Here are three more ways to up your “health food game” without breaking the bank!
- Beans are another old-school meal that’s packed with benefits. They are inexpensive (even in bulk), easy to prepare, and loaded with protein, folate, zinc, iron, magnesium, and fiber. The polyphenol content in multiple bean varieties make this budget-friendly food naturally anti-inflammatory and excellent for your heart.10 Adding this simple food to your meals lowers your overall risk of metabolic syndrome that leads to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Outstanding for your gut health and extremely filling, beans naturally improve digestion and help control appetite.
- Melons contain high quantities of both vitamin A and C. Not only are they tasty, melons are naturally low in sugar, calories, and contain hardly any natural fats. Agriculture Research magazine published a report stating that watermelon contains just as much, if not more lycopene than tomatoes. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant useful in the treatment of skin, bladder, and prostate cancer. It’s cheap in the summer so add it to salads, shakes, juices, or just enjoy it sliced and cold!11
- Berries are another quick and easy treat loaded with vitamin C and phytochemicals. These health helpers are easy to add to your morning cereal or to take as an on the go snack. They can lower your risk of many deadly diseases from heart disease to cancer to diabetes. The flavonoids (the compounds that give berries their color) have been shown to reduce free radical damage to your DNA. Scientists continue to link free radical damage to. Studies focusing on the cellular level have indicated that the compounds in strawberries – particularly ellagic acid – inhibits growth of cancerous mouth, breast, colon, and prostate cells. The good news is that frozen berries without anything added (much cheaper than fresh and available year-round) offer the same good stuff!12
Good Health Shouldn’t Cost a Fortune
These foods are inexpensive, easy to find, and most importantly, shown to be foods drastically improve your nutritional intake and overall health.
The benefits of cabbage and other “non-fancy” foods like beans and berries are inexpensive to buy, easy to prepare, delicious to consume, and good for your entire body. Give them a chance to impress you...you’re going to love the way they make you feel!
1 Medical News Today: The health benefits of cabbage
2 World’s Healthiest Foods: Cabbage
3 Science Direct: Sulforaphane suppressed LPS-induced inflammation in mouse peritoneal macrophages through Nrf2 dependent pathway
4 Greatist: Superfood - Cabbage
5 NCBI: The effect of green leafy and cruciferous vegetable intake on the incidence of cardiovascular disease: A meta-analysis
6 Science Direct: Natural antioxidants and antioxidant capacity of Brassica vegetables: A review
7 Dr. Axe: Red Cabbage: The Disease-Fighting, Gut-Healing Superfood
8 VOA News: Compound in Vegetables Protects Against Radiation
9 University of Missouri: Breast Cancer Effectively Treated with Chemical Found in Celery, Parsley by MU Researchers
10 Medical News Today: What are the health benefits of beans?
11 Live Science: Watermelon: Health Benefits, Risks & Nutrition Facts
12 Healthline: 11 Reasons Why Berries Are Among the Healthiest Foods on Earth