Cabbage comes in green, red, and purple varieties. Savoy and bok choy are other types of cabbage on the market.
It is a nutritious food with loads of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
Vitamins (based on 1 cup cooked)
Vitamin K: 85% of the body’s daily requirement. Helps with bone health and preventing nerve damage in the brain.
Vitamin C: 69% of your daily requirement which helps with immunity, prevents free radicals from forming and is pro-inflammatory
Fiber: 16% of your daily requirement. Fiber helps with digestive and heart health
Vitamin B6: 20% of your daily requirement. This vitamin helps different body systems function properly: cardiovascular, digestive, immune, muscular, and nervous systems. It is also needed for brain development. It helps to improve mood by increasing the production of hormones serotonin and norepinephrine. B6 also stimulates melatonin the hormone that regulates your internal clock and helps with sleep.
Cabbage is also a good source of folate and other B vitamins thiamin (vitamin B1), and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5). These nutrients are important to help give cells energy and activate body functions.
Minerals (based on 1 cup cooked)
Manganese: 17% of your daily requirement. This mineral helps the body form connective tissue, bones, blood clotting factors, and sex hormones. It also plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation. Manganese is also necessary for normal brain and nerve function.
Potassium: 11% of your daily requirement. Helps to regulate the heart and blood pressure.
Cabbage is also a good source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium to maintain healthy bones.
Apigenin a compound which has been shown to decrease tumor size in an aggressive form of breast cancer in a study at the University of Missouri.
Anthocyanins are what make the cabbage red. The compounds help to kill cancer cells and stop new cancer cells and tumors from growing. They also reduce inflammation in the body preventing heart disease
Cabbage also contains thiocyanates, lutein, zeaxanthin, isothiocyanates, and sulforaphane. These are cancer-fighting compounds that help enzymes detoxify your body. This can help protect several types of cancer, including breast, colon, and prostate cancers.
How to Eat Cabbage
Cabbage can be used in a number of ways it can be eaten raw in a salad or made into coleslaw. You can pickle, stew, or braise it. It can also be steamed.
It can be fermented into sauerkraut or kimchee. These foods add a boost of natural probiotics for improved gut health and immunity.
If you are just starting to eat cabbage I would suggest starting with a small portion followed by a good amount of water intake.
One thing to note is cabbage contains thiocyanates which isa compound associated with goiter formation when iodine intake is deficient. Research suggests if you have a thyroid condition eating small quantities of this vegetable is good for your health.
However, I would advise those with thyroid issues should talk to their doctor about whether cruciferous vegetables are right for their diet.