Health Benefits Of Cabbage: Cabbage is highly nutritious and rich in vitamin C, fiber, and vitamin K. Some research suggests that it may have health benefits that include supporting digestion and heart health, among others.
Despite its impressive nutrient content, cabbage is often overlooked.
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, This vegetable has been grown around the world for thousands of years and can be found in a variety of dishes, including sauerkraut, kimchi, and coleslaw.
Additionally, cabbage is loaded with vitamins and minerals.
This article uncovers 8 surprising health benefits of cabbage, all backed by science.
1. Cabbage is packed with nutrients
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, Even though cabbage is very low in calories, it has an impressive nutrient profile.
In fact, just 1 cup, or 89 grams (g), of raw green cabbage contains:
Protein: 1 g
Fiber: 2 g
Vitamin K: 56% of the Daily Value (DV)
Vitamin C: 36% of the DV
Folate: 10% of the DV
Manganese: 6% of the DV
Vitamin B6: 6% of the DV
Calcium: 3% of the DV
Potassium: 3% of the DV
Magnesium: 3% of the DV
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, Cabbage also contains small amounts of other micronutrients, including vitamin A, iron, and riboflavin.
As you can see in the list above, it is rich in vitamin B6 and folate, both of which are essential for many important processes in the body, including energy metabolism and the normal functioning of the nervous system.
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, In addition, cabbage is high in fiber and contains powerful antioxidants, including polyphenols and sulfur compounds.
Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that have an odd number of electrons, making them unstable. When their levels become too high, they can damage your cells.
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, Cabbage is especially high in vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that may protect against heart disease, certain cancers, and vision loss.
2. It may help keep inflammation in check
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, Inflammation isn’t always a bad thing.
In fact, your body relies on the inflammatory response to protect against infection or speed up healing. This kind of acute inflammation is a normal response to an injury or infection.
On the other hand, chronic inflammation that occurs over a long period of time is associated with many diseases, including heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage contain many different antioxidants that have been shown to reduce chronic inflammation.
In fact, one 2014 study showed that eating more cruciferous vegetables could reduce certain blood markers of inflammation.
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, One older study in over 1,000 females showed that those who ate the highest amounts of cruciferous vegetables had considerably lower levels of inflammation, compared to those who ate the lowest amounts.
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, Sulforaphane, kaempferol, and other antioxidants found in this remarkable group of plants are likely responsible for their anti-inflammatory effect.
3. Cabbage is packed with vitamin C
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that serves many important roles in the body.
For instance, it’s needed to make collagen, the most abundant protein in the body. Collagen gives structure and flexibility to the skin and is critical for the proper functioning of the bones, muscles, and blood vessels.
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, Additionally, vitamin C helps the body absorb non-heme iron, the type of iron found in plant foods.
What’s more, it’s a powerful antioxidant. In fact, it has been extensively researched for its potential cancer-fighting qualities.
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, Vitamin C works to protect the body from damage caused by free radicals, which has been associated with many chronic conditions, including cancer.
Evidence suggests that a diet high in vitamin C-rich foods is associated with a lower risk of certain cancers.
In fact, a 2014 analysis of 21 studies found that the risk of lung cancer decreased by 7% for each 100-milligram (mg) increase in daily vitamin C intake.
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, However, this study was limited because it could not determine whether the decreased risk of lung cancer was caused by vitamin C or other compounds found in fruits and vegetables.
While many observational studies have found a link between higher vitamin C intake and a reduced risk of certain cancers, results from controlled studies remain inconsistent.
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, Even though more research is needed to determine this vitamin’s impact on cancer prevention, it’s certain that vitamin C plays a key role in many important functions in the body.
While both green and red cabbage are excellent sources of this potent antioxidant, red cabbage contains significantly more.
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, One cup (89 g) of chopped red cabbage packs in 56% of the recommended intake for vitamin C, which is the same amount found in a small orange.
4. It helps improve digestion
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, If you want to improve your digestive health, fiber-rich cabbage is a great option.
This crunchy vegetable is full of gut-friendly insoluble fiber, a type of carbohydrate that can’t be broken down in the intestines. Insoluble fiber helps keep the digestive system healthy by adding bulk to stool and promoting regular bowel movements.
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, What’s more, it’s rich in soluble fiber, which has been shown to increase the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut. This is because fiber is the main fuel source for friendly species like Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli.
These bacteria perform important functions like protecting the immune system and producing critical nutrients like vitamins K2 and B12.
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, Eating more cabbage is an excellent way to keep your digestive system healthy and happy.
5. May help keep your heart healthy
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, Red cabbage contains powerful compounds called anthocyanins. They give this delicious vegetable its vibrant purple color.
Anthocyanins are plant pigments that belong to the flavonoid family.
Many studies have found a link between eating foods rich in this pigment and a reduced risk of heart disease.
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, In a 2013 study including 93,600 females, researchers found that those with a higher intake of anthocyanin-rich foods had a lower risk of a heart attack.
Another analysis of 15 observational studies had similar findings, reporting that increased intake of flavonoids was associated with a significantly lower risk of dying from heart disease.
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, Increasing your intake of dietary anthocyanins has also been shown to reduce blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
Inflammation is known to play a major role in the development of heart disease, and anthocyanins’ protective effect against it is likely due to their anti-inflammatory qualities.
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, Cabbage contains more than 36 different kinds of potent anthocyanins, making it an excellent choice for heart health.
6. May lower blood pressure
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, High blood pressure affects more than one billion people worldwide and is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
Doctors often advise patients with high blood pressure to reduce their salt intake. However, recent evidence suggests that increasing your dietary potassium is just as important for lowering blood pressure.
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, Potassium is an important mineral and electrolyte that the body needs to function properly. One of its main jobs is to help regulate blood pressure by counteracting the effects of sodium in the body.
Potassium helps excrete excess sodium through urine. It also relaxes blood vessel walls, which lowers blood pressure.
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, While both sodium and potassium are important for health, modern diets tend to be too high in sodium and too low in potassium.
Red cabbage is a good source of potassium, delivering 9% of the DV in a 2-cup (178-g) serving.
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, Eating more potassium-rich cabbage is a delicious way to lower high blood pressure and may help keep it within a healthy range.
7. Could help lower cholesterol levels
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in every cell in your body.
Some people think all cholesterol is bad, but it’s essential for the body’s proper functioning.
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, Critical processes depend on cholesterol, such as proper digestion and the synthesis of hormones and vitamin D.
However, people who have high cholesterol also tend to have an increased risk of heart disease, especially when they have elevated levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, Cabbage contains two substances that have been shown to decrease levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, Soluble fiber has been shown to help lower LDL cholesterol levels by binding with cholesterol in the gut and keeping it from being absorbed into the blood.
According to one review, eating more foods rich in soluble fiber could reduce levels of both total and LDL cholesterol by around 5%–10%.
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, Cabbage is a good source of soluble fiber. In fact, around 40% of the fiber found in cabbage is soluble.
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, Cabbage contains substances called phytosterols. They are plant compounds that are structurally similar to cholesterol, and they reduce LDL cholesterol by blocking the absorption of cholesterol in the digestive tract.
According to a 2014 study, increasing phytosterol intake by 1 g per day has been found to reduce LDL cholesterol concentrations by as much as 6%.
8. Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin K
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, Vitamin K is a collection of fat-soluble vitamins that plays many important roles in the body.
These vitamins are divided into two main groups:
Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone): This is found primarily in plant sources.
Vitamin K2 (menaquinone): This form is found in animal sources and some fermented foods. It is also produced by bacteria in the large intestine.
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, Cabbage is a terrific source of vitamin K1, delivering 56% of the DV in a single cup (89 g).
Vitamin K1 is a key nutrient that plays many important roles in the body.
One of its main functions is to act as a cofactor for enzymes that are responsible for clotting the blood.
Health Benefits Of Cabbage, Without vitamin K, the blood would lose its ability to clot properly, increasing the risk of excessive bleeding.