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Why Cabbage ?




Cabbages belong to the Brassica genus of vegetables, which includes broccoli, radishes, and Brussels sprouts. Packed with so many nutrients including vitamin C, vitamin K and are a rich source of fibre, the health of your heart, digestive and nervous systems benefit from the nutrients contained in cabbages.

 

  • Did you know that cabbage was one of two vegetable types (the other type was root vegetables) found to be a mainstay for prevention of type 2 diabetes in a recent study of over 57,000 adults in Denmark? In this very large-scale study, adults who closely followed the Healthy Nordik Food Index were found to have the lowest incidence of type 2 diabetes. Importantly, this key health benefit was linked to six food intake categories: (1) fish, (2) rye bread, (3) oatmeal, (4) apples and pears, (5) root vegetables and… (6) cabbage!

 

  • Researchers have now identified nearly 20 different flavonoids and 15 different phenols in cabbage, all of which have demonstrated antioxidant activity. This impressive list of antioxidant phytonutrients in cabbage is one key reason why an increasing number of studies link cabbage intake to decreased risk of several cardiovascular diseases.

 

  • In terms of price per edible cup, a report by the Economic Research Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has shown cabbage to be the second most economical cooked vegetable in terms of price per edible cup. Only potatoes came out slightly less expensive. The relatively low economic cost of cabbage in comparison with most other vegetables makes this cruciferous vegetable a nutritional bargain!

 

  • There are literally hundreds of varieties of cabbage grown worldwide. But of special interest in recent research studies have been cabbage varieties that fall into the red-purple category. It is the anthocyanin antioxidants (and in particular, a subcategory of anthocyanins called cyanidins) that have been the focus of these research studies. Impressively, the anthocyanins in red cabbage are a major factor in the ability of this cruciferous vegetable to provide cardiovascular protection, including protection of red blood cells. Blood levels of beta-carotene, lutein, and total blood antioxidant capacity have been found to improve along with red cabbage intake, while oxidized LDL has been found to decrease. (This reduction in oxidized LDL is a good thing, since LDL—an abbreviation which stands for low-density lipoprotein—becomes a risk factor for blood vessel problems if excessively present in its oxidized form.

 

  • Cabbage turns out to be an especially good source of sinigrin, one of cabbage's sulfur-containing glucosinolates that has received special attention in cancer prevention research. The sinigrin in cabbage can be also converted into allyl-isothiocyanate, or AITC. This compound has shown unique cancer preventative properties with respect to bladder cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer.  Isothiocyanates can kill cancer stem cells, something that the current conventional treatments for cancer do not achieve. Red cabbage can contain up to 40 times more sinigrin than green cabbage.

 

  • Blood levels of beta-carotene, lutein, and total blood antioxidant capacity have been found to improve with red cabbage intake, while oxidized LDL has been found to decrease. This is a good thing, since LDL—an abbreviation which stands for low-density lipoprotein—becomes a risk factor for blood vessel problems if excessively present in its oxidized form.

 

  • It's also worth noting here that a second glucosinolate found in cabbage—glucobrassicin—can be converted into two cancer-protective compounds, namely Indole-3-carbinol (or I3C and diindolylmethane (or DIM). DIM is an interesting sulfur-containing compound that can be produced in the stomach from I3C if the stomach juices are sufficiently acidic. Like AITC and I3C, DIM has been shown to be cancer-preventative for the specific types listed above.

 

·              Last, but certainly not least is folate. Folate (vitamin B-9) is important in red blood cell formation and for healthy cell growth and function. The nutrient is crucial during early pregnancy to reduce the risk of birth defects of the brain and spine. Kale is highest in folate but all cabbages are high in B9.

 

In conclusion, cabbage is cheap, medicinal, it is easy to cook and there are many varieties to choose from. Consuming it is made easy by so many great online recipes. Here’s one from Tesco: https://realfood.tesco.com/recipes/sauteed-savoy-cabbage-with-orange-dressing.html

 

Remember to always cook brassicas if you have a thyroid issue to reduce goitrogens. And finally, they are easy to ferment as sauerkraut so can be preserved for a long time.


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