Have you ever heard of the “cabbage soup diet”? It strictly limits your intake of any foods that are not cabbage, and claims to be a miracle weight loss fad. Well, of course you will lose weight if you only eat cabbage and water. You will also lose muscle mass and your appetite. All fad diets are unhealthy. It’s the unhealthy choices in eating and lifestyle choices we make that need to change for better over-all health.
That being said, do not discount the benefits of adding cabbage to your diet on occasion. It’s full of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and amino acids. Cabbage has the highest number of antioxidants and phytonutrients that are found in cruciferous vegetables, including thiocyanates, lutein, zeaxanthin, isothiocyanates, and sulforaphane, which stimulates the detoxifying enzymes occurring naturally in the body.
It’s a great source of vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamins B1, B2 and B6, dietary fiber, potassium, folate, copper, choline, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, selenium, iron, pantothenic acid, protein and niacin. That’s a lot packed into one leaf.
Cabbage is a natural source of healing when it comes to constipation, stomach ulcers (cabbage juice is an excellent elixir for this), headaches, skin disorders like eczema, rheumatism, arthritis, gout, eye disorders, heart diseases, and Alzheimer’s disease. Total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and oxidized LDL have been found to decrease after adding cabbage to a diet.
It has an abundant amount of potassium that helps protect against high blood pressure that increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. The antioxidants in cabbage improve skin tone and helps with the skins response to the aging process, fighting free radicals that can cause wrinkles, skin discoloration, spots, and other conditions. Cabbage has been shown to reduce muscle soreness and aches due to the effect it has on lactic acid production. It’s rich iodine content helps in the functioning of the brain, nervous system and endocrine system.
Cabbage is best eaten raw as to preserve the potency of its many nutrients. While green cabbage is the most common, red cabbage adds the extra nutritional benefits of anthocyanin polyphenols, which have unique antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.