Cabbage, like most vegetables, has been proven to have a lot of benefits to our overall health. It is loaded with a lot of vitamins and minerals that are highly beneficial to the total well-being of the body.
Cabbage belongs to the Brassica genus of vegetables, this genus also includes cauliflower, broccoli, and kale, and they’re generally called cruciferous vegetables. Cabbages come in various colors, red, green, purple, and white. Also, the leaves can be crinkled or smooth.
Cabbage is quite versatile and can be eaten raw, steamed, fermented, roasted, sauteed, stuffed, or juiced. It is also found in a variety of dishes like coleslaw and kimchi. Also, the leaves are medicinal. This article contains the benefits of introducing cabbage into your diet and the side effects of overeating cabbage.
Benefits Of Eating Cabbage
Cabbage is one of those vegetables full of those essential vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy lifestyle. Some of the benefits of cabbage include:
1. Cabbage has a high nutrient content
Despite the low-calorie content of cabbage, studies have shown that this vegetable is stockpiled with nutrients essential to the body. It is rich in folate and vitamin B6, which are necessary for many crucial processes in the body, including energy metabolism and proper functioning of the nervous system.
Other important constituents include fiber. Cabbage also has high protein, magnesium, calcium, manganese, potassium levels, which are advantageous to the body system.
Cabbage is also rich in antioxidants like phenols, indole, chlorophyll, which protect the body from free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that usually have an odd number of electrons. When at high levels in the body, it causes cell damage, generally resulting in wrinkling, aging, skin discoloration, inflammation, and disease.
2. Cabbage Contains Calcium and Vitamins
For strong bones and teeth, calcium is essential. Cabbage is very rich in calcium, such that a cup of cabbage contains as much calcium as a glass of milk, which meets half of our daily calcium intake requirement.
Not only that, but cabbage has high vitamin K content. Vitamin K prevents calcium from depositing harmful plaque in the blood vessels while activating bone structure. It also aids the brain’s overall functioning and is involved in the production of sphingolipids that coat the nerves and prevent damage and decay.
Vitamin K is divided into two:
- Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone): plant source
- Vitamin K2 (menaquinone): an animal source also found in fermented foods and produced by the large intestine.
Vitamin K is also essential for the blood clotting process, and cabbage contains about 85% of the recommended daily vitamin K requirement.
Other vitamins like E, B, A, but the most important is vitamin C. A cup equivalent to 90grams of cabbage has vitamin C content equal to the amount found in a glass of orange juice. And we are all aware of how vitamin C helps strengthen our immune system and prevents colds. To have young, healthy skin, vitamin C is also important.
Studies have proven that high vitamin C intake helps lower the risk of some cancers by protecting the body from damage caused by free radicals that usually result in chronic disorders like cancer.
Vitamin C is also essential in the production of collagen. This protein gives flexibility and structure to the skin and aids the proper function of the bones, muscles, and blood vessels. Red cabbage contains more vitamin C content than other cabbages, about 30% more.
3. It helps with inflammation.
Although inflammation is necessary on the body at times, especially when the body relies on inflammatory response to an injury or infection, chronic inflammation is sometimes an indication of some diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or heart disease. And cabbage contains several antioxidants that, when consumed in high quantity, help fight against inflammation.
Cabbage helps regulate the immune system and inflammation, thereby reducing the risk of inflammatory-related diseases. Asides from eating, cabbage leaves are also used to treat inflammation. The leaves are wrapped around the area of information, for example, a sore throat. The cabbage leaves are washed, released from their trunk, and then rolled till the sap comes out. Then the leave is placed on the area of inflammation.
Breastfeeding women also place the leaf on the skin of their breasts to relieve their engorged breasts. A lot of mothers swear by this technique.
4. It helps keep the heart-healthy.
Cabbage is very beneficial to the cardiovascular system. Red cabbage especially contains anthocyanins, a plant pigment that belongs to the flavonoid family and has been found to lower the risk of heart attacks and other heart problems, also lower blood pressure and risk of coronary heart disease.
Anthocyanins also reduce inflammation which is sometimes the causative to cardiovascular diseases. Also, cabbage contains potassium which is essential for a healthy heart.
5. It helps improve digestion.
Cabbage is rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber. Fiber is essential for a smooth, easy digestion process. Fiber helps excrete toxins from the bile and stool, cleaning the gut and preventing constipation. It also improves periodic bowel movements.
Soluble fiber also increases the multiplication of essential bacteria in the gut that has important functions like preserving the immune system and producing essential nutrients.
6. Help reduce cholesterol levels.
High cholesterol levels in the body can negatively affect most organs in the body, especially LDL (low-density lipoprotein), the bad form of cholesterol. HDL in the body is good, and it aids proper digestion and synthesis of hormones and vitamin D
Cabbage intake helps reduce LDL levels in the body with soluble fiber and phytosterols. Soluble fiber binds within the body to prevent it from entering the bloodstream. On the other hand, Phytosterols are plant sterols that prevent the absorption of LDL into the digestive tract.
7. It is easy to add to your diet.
There are many ways to eat cabbage that adding it to your diet shouldn’t be stressful. You can add shredded cabbage to your salad or your soup when it is almost cooked. You can eat it raw. As long as it is in your diet, it doesn’t matter how you’re eating it, cooked, raw, sautéed, or however.
Side Effects of Cabbage
As delicious and beneficial cabbage is to our health, overeating it sometimes proves detrimental. Some of the side effects of consuming too much cabbage include:
Hiding behind the many health benefits of cabbage is an indigestible sugar called raffinose. Since this complex carbohydrate passes through the intestine undigested, it results in bloating, belching, and passing gas in public places or among people, which can be pretty awkward and frustrating.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat cabbage again, you only need to reduce the content, or you can book briefly in salted water, pour the water away and cook in fresh water. You can also cook it together or spice it with ginger, fennel seeds, or caraway.
Consuming cabbage in high quantity harms the thyroid. The thyroid needs iodine to function correctly. Cabbage produces an ion that competes with iodine content in the body, resulting in limited iodine content, affecting the thyroid functionality or lack of thyroid hormone.
Although, if you’re not suffering from iodine deficiency, you don’t need to worry about this.
If you’re someone that loves eating a lot of cabbage, you should probably have been experiencing this. Due to the high content of insoluble fiber in cabbage, bowel movement Is increased, leading to diarrhea. It can also block the intestine.
Cancer patients on chemotherapy are also advised against high content of cabbage as the insoluble fiber can increase diarrhea, flushing out all the medications, thereby interfering with the medication interaction.
4. Interference with medication.
cabbage contains some nutrients that act against your prescription. For instance, when consuming too much cabbage, vitamin K, which helps blood clotting factors, will indeed act against blood-thinning medications. For this reason, patients on blood-thinning medications are advised to limit their daily vitamin K intake to avoid interference with their medication.
Cabbage also affects how fast the liver functions, and some medications are broken down and changed by the liver. When you take cabbage along with these medications, the liver breaks them down, and the body gets rid of them faster, reducing their effectiveness.
If you are a cabbage lover, you should talk to your healthcare provider about any medication to ensure that overeating cabbage won’t affect it much.
Cabbage is very beneficial to the body. It contains antioxidants, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, all of which function to protect and preserve the body’s overall health. But despite cabbage’s many benefits that make you want to add it to your diet, it doesn’t sit well with some people and might interfere with your medications.
You’ll do well to confirm from your healthcare provider if you can add cabbage to your diet. If you can, then that means you can start enjoying the benefits of cabbage and look and feel young and agile.