What are the Nutritional Benefits of Cabbage?
Cabbage can be commonly found in most households, restaurants and different cuisines all over the world. It’s one of the most common vegetables used for a wide-range of dishes and diets. Due to its popularity, most people often wonder what the nutritional benefits of cabbage are.
Not only does it have a low calorie count, at 22 calories per cup (89 grams), it also provides numerous health benefits. It takes more than a simple calorie count to assess the dietary value of this humble leafy vegetable that belongs to the Brassica family, which also includes other antioxidant-rich roughage such as kale, broccoli, collard greens, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.
For starters, cabbage is among those that score the highest in satiety value. In simpler terms, it’s one of the forms of sustenance that can make you feel full quicker and longer, which could be vital in achieving, and maintaining an ideal body heft and shape.
Besides being a non-contributor to superfluous weight gain, it also helps in promoting and maintaining digestive health.
An entire diet program was even created around it, called the “cabbage soup diet”. The scheme encourages dieters to have as much soup as they want in conjunction with other foods scheduled each day.
Contrary to other diet programs, this one will not subject you to starvation spells. In fact, advocates are saying that the more you soup you have, the more you lose weight, as it has fat-burning properties.
Why is Cabbage One of the Most Amazing Foods in the World?
- It is Rich in Vitamins and Antioxidants – Cabbage is an excellent source of Vitamins A, C, K, B1, B6 and Folic Acid, as well as essential minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, manganese and potassium.
So far, scientists have already identified at least 15 phenols that are present in cabbage and at least the same number of flavonoids.
Among the highly known nutritive and curative benefits of this cruciferous vegetable includes lowering cholesterol, reducing inflammation, healing stomach ulcers, and inhibiting cancer cells.
- It’s Non-Fattening and Nutritious – Cabbage is one of the most filling foods with the most negligible calorie content and very low GI (glycemic index). It is a great source of macronutrients such as protein, carbs, fats and dietary fibers, all in healthy amounts.
If you are familiar with the “Nordic Diet”, then you know that cabbage and its other brassica cousins are part of the six main food groups that keep most Scandinavians fit and healthy.
Numerous studies attest that following said diet has shown significant improvement in test subjects’ cardiovascular health while lowering their risks from various life-threatening diseases such as diabetes. The tests also show tremendous improvements in the subjects’ BMI.
- It’s Good For the Heart and the Stomach – Cabbage is found to be helpful in decreasing LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and oxidized LDL (otherwise known as bad cholesterols) in our bloodstream, thus lowering the risk of the formation of atherosclerosis or arterial plaques.
The fibrous nutrients of cabbage bind well with the bile acids produced by the liver as part of the whole digestive process, making them easier to expel from our body through the bowel.
Besides keeping our intestinal flora healthy, it also helps to prevent, or at least, slow down the formation of gallstones. Cabbage can also help fight constipation.
- They Are Easy to Find – For centuries, several cultivars of cabbage are being raised and eaten in every human-populated continent in the world. There are five major cultivar groups, namely the green, red, savoy, spring green and white cabbage, with each group having several varieties.
Perhaps, at least half of the countries on earth have a traditional cabbage dish, like the Koreans have kimchi, the Polish have the golabki or cabbage roll, the Americans have the coleslaw, and the Russians have the solyanka or braised cabbage.
- You can enjoy it anytime and in many different ways – Cabbage is not just for soup, salad, coleslaw, and sauerkraut, as the majority of the homegrown crops in the US are used. There are many ways you can cook or use them in dish preparation.
You can braise, sauté, boil, steam, or stew cabbages along with other ingredients such as meat, spices, legumes, and other foodstuffs. You can even use the leaves that form the cabbage head as a replacement to tortillas, taco shells, or bread to wrap your favorite cooked or cured meat, cheeses and other usual sandwich fillings.
- It is Inexpensive and Stores Well – The USDA’s Economic Research Service rated cabbage as one of the most cost-effective cooked vegetables in terms of price per edible cup. In fact, only potatoes fared well in the assessment, albeit with the slightest of margin.
If cabbage and other leafy vegetables are not part of your regular diet, then you are not living right. It is highly recommendable to have at least 1-2 cup servings of this food every week.
A few tips in preparing cabbage: (1) Chopping it in small pieces brings out the flavor and aroma better; (2) Do not overcook it to the point that it loses all its crispiness along with some of its essential nutrients; and (3) When buying, make sure it’s firm and relatively free from any signs of decay and worm damage. Thanks for reading.