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Why Cabbage is Good for You – 5 Reasons


Not only is cabbage a versatile vegetable that can be used to add flavor and texture to everything from soups to slaws, it is also good for you. Here's a rundown of the most interesting health benefits of cabbage:

1. Raw Cabbage is Rich in Vitamin C

Raw cabbage is a good source of vitamin C, with 1 ounce of uncooked cabbage providing 17 to 27 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin C, depending on the type of cabbage (red cabbage varieties generally have more vitamin C than their green and white counterparts). For the sake of comparison, 1 ounce of oranges delivers around 25 percent of the DV for this important nutrient.[1] As you may already know, vitamin C is important to keeping your immune system healthy, but it is also good for your skin, blood vessels and bones. Most of the health benefits associated with the consumption of vitamin C rich foods, such as cabbage, are believed to be linked to the antioxidant properties of this vital nutrient and its ability to boost the formation of collagen (for those who missed the memo, collagen is the main structural protein found in skin and other connective tissues).

Tip: To maximize the health benefits of cabbage linked to its high vitamin C content, eat your cabbage together with foods that contain vitamin E as these two antioxidants have a synergistic relationship.

2. Eating Cabbage May Be Good for Your Heart

Cabbage contains at least a couple of nutrients that are thought to be good for your heart. First, vitamin C has been shown to reduce the levels of plasma C-reactive protein, or CRP [2]. Some studies suggest CRP levels may be an even better indicator of a person's heart disease risk than high cholesterol levels. Second, cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin K, with 1 ounce of regular green cabbage providing a whopping 27% of the Daily Value for vitamin K [1]. Vitamin K is thought to be good for the heart and the overall cardiovascular system because it helps direct calcium into the bones, thereby reducing the risk of calcium build-up in blood vessels.

3. Consumption of Cruciferous Vegetables Like Cabbage Has Been Linked to a Lower Cancer Risk

Some epidemiological studies suggest that consumption of cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, may decrease the risk of certain types of cancer in some people [3]. The potential benefits of cabbage in cancer prevention are thought to be linked, at least partially, to the high concentration of glucosinolates found in cabbage. Glucosinolates are abundant in almost all cruciferous vegetables, but cabbage has been shown to be a particularly good source [4]. While glucosinolates themselves have limited health benefits, they are pre-cursors to biologically active isothiocyanates which have been shown to inhibit proliferation of cancer cells and to promote their self-destruction [5].

Tip: Cooking, particularly boiling and microwaving at high power, may reduce the bioavailability of isothiocyanates. To maximize the potential anti-cancer effects of cabbage, avoid over-cooking.

4. Benefits for People with Excess Body Weight

If all of the above-described potential health benefits of cabbage are not enough to convince you to add this healthy cruciferous vegetable to your diet, consider this: cabbage is also good for those who are trying to keep their weight in check. Not only is cabbage very low in calories, it also contains fiber which promotes satiety. In addition, cabbage is a good source of vitamin C, and according to some preliminary research, vitamin C may promote fat burning in some situations [6]. However, additional studies must be conducted before any definite conclusions about the weight loss benefits of vitamin C can be made.

5. Red Cabbage Contains Antioxidants That Are Good for Your Eyes

Many foods that land on superfood lists contain anthocyanins, antioxidant pigments that may appear red, purple or blue and that are thought to be particularly good for your eyes. Blueberries, acai berries, aronia berries and Queen Garnet plums are examples of famous "superfoods" that are rich anthocyanins, but also some humble vegetables, such as red cabbage, contain these eye health boosting antioxidants. Research suggests that anthocyanins can benefit eyesight in a number of ways. For example, they have been shown to enhance night vision, increase circulation within retinal capillaries, fight age-related macular degeneration, and prevent retinopathy in diabetic patients [7].

Tip: Reap the health benefits of red cabbage by whipping up a tasty blueberry cabbage smoothie that is packed with anthocyanins to boost your eye health.

Book You May Like
Brassica Cookbook
Even though the health benefits of Brassica vegetables have been documented in numerous studies, many home cooks still find these green veggies a little intimidating. In Brassicas: Cooking the World's Healthiest Vegetables, Laura Russell teaches home cooks how to bring out the wonderful flavors of these super-veggies without burying them under unhealthy ingredients like cheese. Brussels sprouts, for example, develop a wonderful sweet flavor when they are roasted, while watercress comes into its own in salads that can benefit from a little peppery kick. To learn more, or to order a copy, go to, or