Cabbage may not be the most attractive vegetable, but it is full of nutritious goodness that can make you feel strong and healthy. From boosting the immune system to improving digestion (sometimes with embarrassing results), kale and its health benefits deserve a place at your table.
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This common green leafy vegetable comes in a range of colors, shapes and sizes that you can use for soups, salads, sandwiches, and more. Eat it raw or stir-fried for maximum benefit. Find it fermented in gut-healthy foods like sauerkraut and kimchi or chopped in coleslaw for a quick fix.
“Cabbage is good for you. It’s one of those foods that tastes better than it looks and has even greater nutritional value than people expect, “says registered dietitian Julia Zumpano, RD, LD.” Plus, it’s versatile, affordable, and easy to make. to find.”
Zumpano explores the benefits of consuming kale and how it can improve your health.
8 ways cabbage is good for you
Many people recognize kale for its bounty of fiber, vitamins and minerals. One cup of chopped raw green kale contains only 22 calories and provides:
- 54% of the recommended daily value for vitamin C.
- 85% of the recommended daily value for vitamin K.
- More than 2 grams of fiber.
- 1 gram of protein.
“Cabbage is also a potassium-rich food, which can help lower high blood pressure,” says Zumpano. “The more we learn about cabbage, the better it promises to be.”
Research shows that green leafy vegetables, in general, are good for you, but we need more studies to understand how kale specifically affects your body. Zumpano says many people believe the nutritional value of cabbage means it can have one of the following benefits.
1. Fights inflammation
Some of the health benefits of cabbage are due to anthocyanins, which are natural antioxidants. Anthocyanins not only add color to your fruits (think blueberries) and vegetables, but they can also reduce inflammation.
Chronic inflammation (long-term swelling) is associated with heart disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and many other medical conditions. In animal studies, anthocyanins have been shown to help control inflammation.
We need more research, but a small human study showed that those who ate the most cruciferous vegetables had much lower levels of inflammation than those who ate the least.
2. It keeps you strong
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, does a lot of work for your body. Helps to produce collagen and strengthens the immune system. It also helps your body absorb iron from plant-based foods.
3. Improve digestion
Rich in phytosterols (plant sterols) and insoluble fiber, cabbage can help maintain a healthy digestive system and regular bowel movements. It feeds the good bacteria in your gut which protects your immune system and produces essential nutrients. This is especially true when you eat fermented cabbage in kimchi or sauerkraut.
“Cabbage can help you stay regular,” says Zumpano. “It can also help support safe and healthy weight loss.”
Fiber is a non-digestible or absorbed carbohydrate, so it adds bulk to meals and takes up space in your belly making you fill up completely faster and for longer without ingesting the carbohydrates you are absorbing.
4. Protect your heart
The anthocyanins found in cabbage help with more than inflammation. Research suggests that they add to the health benefits of cabbage by reducing the risk of heart disease. Scientists have found 36 different types of anthocyanins in cabbage, which could make it an excellent option for cardiovascular health.
5. Lower blood pressure
Potassium is a mineral and electrolyte that helps your body control blood pressure. A cup of red cabbage can provide you with a good amount of potassium, up to 6% of the recommended daily value. This could help lower blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease.
6. Lowers cholesterol
Too much “bad” cholesterol, or LDL cholesterol, can cause heart problems if it builds up in the arteries. Cabbage contains two substances – fiber and phytosterols (plant sterols) – which compete with cholesterol to be absorbed by the digestive system. They end up reducing bad cholesterol levels and improving your health.
7. Maintains bone health and healthy blood clotting
Vitamin K is essential for your well-being. Without it, you would be at risk of developing bone conditions such as osteoporosis and your blood would not be able to clot properly. Include cabbage, an excellent source of vitamin K. One cup provides 85% of the recommended daily value.
“Vitamin K helps keep our bones strong and our blood clotting well,” says Zumpano. “Cabbage can give you that boost you need to make sure your levels are adequate and that your body stays protected from disease and disease. And you don’t even need to eat that much cabbage to get great health benefits. “
8. Keeps cancer at bay
Early animal studies suggest that green leafy vegetables like kale have phytochemicals that can help protect against cancer. They contain antioxidants and plant compounds such as glucosinolates. These sulfur-containing chemicals break down during the digestive process into substances that can help fight cancer cells and rid them of the body.
What are the side effects of eating cabbage?
Do you want to add more cabbage to your diet? Just be careful not to overdo it. To maximize its health benefits, slowly increase your cabbage intake and allow your body to adapt. Plus, stay hydrated to reduce constipation, which can cause excess gas.
Cabbage may not be the best choice for a romantic evening, as overeating can cause diarrhea, flatulence, or abdominal discomfort. It also contains substances that can interfere with medications such as blood thinners or cause hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid does not make enough thyroid hormones and causes metabolism to slow down.
In most cases, you can avoid side effects by eating cabbage as part of a healthy diet. Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms or are unsure.
What are the types of cabbage?
Cabbage belongs to the Brassica oleracea vegetable species, along with broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. The most common type is green cabbage. But there are hundreds of other varieties in red, white and purple hues, with a range of textures and sizes.
Some forms of cabbage have subtle and delicate flavors, while others give a peppery touch. Cabbage nutrition comes from such types as:
- Bok choy (and baby bok choy), with leaves gushing from a central stem.
- Brussels sprouts, tiny round cabbages that grow on a thick stem.
- Kale (cannonball cabbage), which has dense smooth leaves and a firm head that can grow to nearly the size of a basketball.
- January Cabbage, a gloriously vibrant cabbage with green and purple colored leaves.
- Cabbage, with dark green rippled leaves that fan out from a central stem.
- Napa cabbage (Chinese or celery cabbage), which has long light green leaves on a thick white stem.
- Red cabbage, a particularly nutritious round cabbage with a red color and usually smaller than green cabbage.
- Savoy cabbage, a kale with ruffled leaves and loose layers.
Enjoy the health benefits of kale
Cabbage is a versatile, affordable, widely available and easy to prepare vegetable. Keep it whole and unwashed in the refrigerator until ready to eat it, advises Zumpano. And when you’re ready, it won’t take long to find easy kale recipes that add a (healthy) twist to your diet and color your plate.