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As it is high in nutritional value, it has many health benefits. It is beneficial for digestive system, heart health, blood, and immunity. It has been used historically as a medicinal herb for various health benefits. Ancient Greek used to consume this vegetable as a laxative. Its juice was also recommended as an antidote for mushroom poisoning. Due to its medicinal properties, it was also used to counter the effects of alcohol intoxication. Along with the benefits, it has also some disadvantages such as food borne illnesses, bloating and goiter. So, one must know about the nutritional value, health benefits and disadvantages of cabbage.
Nutritional value of Cabbage
Cabbage is packed with various nutrients such as- vitamin K, vitamin C, folate, and vitamin B6, minerals such as- magnesium, manganese, calcium, potassium and dietary fiber. It is low in calories and also contain small amounts of vitamin A, riboflavin, powerful antioxidants and iron.
It is an excellent source of vitamin K and it provides almost 60- 70% of the daily recommended value. Vitamin K is one of the essential factor for blood coagulation. It is also involved in bone metabolism and various cellular function.
Vitamin C present in it makes collagen and also acts as a powerful antioxidant. It helps in wound healing, protects the body from free radicals and prevents the cancer risk. The dietary fibers help in digestion and regular bowel movements.
Small amounts of vitamin A present in it improves the eyesight and prevents cataract. Iron present in it helps in preventing iron deficiency anemia.
Let’s see the various health benefits of Cabbage.
Health benefits of Cabbage
1. Helps in Reducing Excessive Bleeding
Vitamin K is an essential co-factor for vitamin K- dependent proteins which help in blood coagulation. Vitamin K1 is made by plants. Green leafy vegetables are highest source of it and Cabbage is also a good source of vitamin K. So, it helps in blood coagulation and reduces excessive bleeding, which can happen in the deficiency of vitamin K. So, one must include this amazing vegetable in the diet for proper blood coagulation.
2. Beneficial for Bone health
Cabbages contain vitamin K and various minerals and these micronutrients help in bone formation. Vitamin K dependent bone related proteins are essential for bone formation and mineralization. So, it reduces the chances of osteoporosis or bone loss especially in elderly person. So, elder persons should include cabbage in their diet to minimize chances of osteoporosis and bone fracture. Vitamin K supplements helps to prevent fractures or osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.
3. Improves Digestion
As cabbages contain plenty of dietary fiber, they help in proper digestion. They maintain the regular bowel movements. These dietary fibers improves the probiotic colonies in the gut and also make the stool as a bulk for easy expulsion. Fibers increases the faecal volume and dry weight. They also helps in absorption of other micronutrients.
4. Boosts Immunity
Cabbages contain a good amount of vitamin C. Vitamin C boosts the body immunity and help the body to fight against various infections. Vitamin C also has antioxidant properties. So it also helps to remove free radicals and improves the immune system. The antioxidants helps in detoxification of various toxins in the body. Folic acid, manganese etc present in it are also essential for good immunity.
5. Prevents risk of Cancer
Certain phytochemicals such as sulforaphane, glucosinolates, indole- 3- carbinol etc are present in cabbage. These phytochemicals are said to have cancer protective properties. Sulforaphane also inhibit the progression of cancer cells. The antioxidants present in cabbage also helps in reducing free radicals and therefore prevent the risk of cancer such as breast, colon, and prostate cancer. The glucosinolates present in the cabbage can convert into isothiocyanate compounds, which are cancer preventive.
Indole- 3- carbinol is converted in the body into diindolylmethane. Diindolylmethane produce changes in estrogen metabolism. This influence the development of hormone dependant cancers such as breast cancer. So, it also provides protection from breast cancer.
6. Keeps the Heart Healthy
Cabbages contain flavonoids which are helpful in preventing cardiovascular diseases. They are low in calories and also reduces blood pressure. Potassium content also helps in lowering blood pressure by opening up the blood vessels. So, it reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke. Red cabbage increases the blood levels of beta- carotene, lutein and antioxidants significantly. So, it also supports the cardiovascular system.
7. Reduces Blood Cholesterol levels
Phytosterols and dietary fiber contents of the cabbage help in lowering the bad cholesterol. The phytosterols block the absorption of cholesterols into the digestive tract and thereby reduces the bad cholesterol levels.
8. Improves Skin health
Abundant vitamin C is present in cabbage. Vitamin C promotes collagen synthesis in the body. This in turn helps in reducing wrinkles and provides flexibility to the skin. So, it improves the skin condition and also delays ageing effects.
9. Protects body from Radiation therapy
Cabbage contain indole- 3 carbinol and the body breaks down this to diindolylmethane. Diindolylmethane has several beneficial effects in cancer protection, detoxification, and protection from radiation therapy and weight loss.
10. Protects from Inflammatory conditions
Different antioxidants and anti- inflammatory agents such as Glutamine are present in the cabbage. These help to reduce chronic inflammation. Therefore, they are beneficial for chronic inflammatory conditions such as- rheumatoid arthritis, various chronic skin disorders, inflammatory bowel disease etc.
11. Helps in Wound Healing
Cabbage contain plenty of vitamin C. Vitamin C increases collagen production and thereby helps in wound healing. Vitamin C also stabilizes the collagen and provides tensile strength to the newly built collagen, thereby fastens the healing of wound. It also boosts the immunity, which in turn keeps the wound free from secondary infections especially in open wounds.
12. Improves Brain health and Nervous system
Vitamin K present in cabbages has protective actions in brain and neurons. It is important for production of outer covering of neurons, which protects the neurons from injury. Antioxidants present in the cabbage prevent from neurodegenerative diseases such as- Alzheimer’s disease etc.
13. Helps in Weight Loss
As cabbages are low in calories, they help in weight loss. They are also high in dietary fiber content and so helps in proper digestion. So, one can easily add cabbage to the diet for healthy life without gaining excess weight.
14. Helps in Healing of Stomach Ulcers
Cabbage helps in reduced acid production in stomach. Less acid production fasten healing of stomach ulcers. So, cabbages also have ulcer protective effects.
15. Beneficial in Pregnancy
Cabbages are rich in folate. Folate is an essential vitamin during pregnancy. It prevents the foetus from different abnormalities such as- neural tube defects and other genetic anomalies. Other vitamins and calcium present in the cabbage are also beneficial for healthy pregnancy.
Disadvantages of Cabbage
Although cabbage is full of various essential and important micronutrients, but it also has some disadvantages. It can cause food- borne illnesses if not washed properly before consumption. So, its consumption should be done carefully.
Food- borne illness
Some bacteria such as- Clostridium, Shigella, E. coli etc can survive in shredded cabbage. Cabbage can also be contaminated from water, soil, animals etc during growing, harvesting etc. So, if it is consumed without proper washing or as raw, it can cause food- borne illness.
Excess consumption of cabbage may increase intestinal gas production. This causes bloating and flatulence. So the persons having gas problems should avoid cabbage.
Goiter is any enlargement of thyroid gland. It can occur due to normal, increased or decreased thyroid hormone production. Cabbage is a goiter- promoting food. It contains small amounts of thiocyanate. When iodine intake is less or in iodine deficiency, thiocyanate helps in goiter formation. So, the persons who have thyroid problems should avoid excess consumption of it.
Cabbage is a very healthy food containing plenty of Vitamins such as K, C and folate, minerals such as- potassium, magnesium, calcium and manganese and dietary fibers. But it should be consumed carefully as it can cause bloating, food borne illnesses and goiter. There are several ways to consume cabbage such as in salads, stewed and sautéed. Cabbage soups are also helpful in weight loss and proper digestion.
It is beneficial for heart, digestive system and also helps in maintaining weight. It protects from radiation therapy, inflammatory conditions, and cancer risk. This vegetable also helps in reducing excessive bleeding by promoting blood coagulation. It also helps in lowering blood cholesterol levels. Overall it is very beneficial for healthy lifestyle. So, one must include cabbage to the diet for good health.