Cabbage is a vegetable that can be grown and found on supermarket shelves practically all year round. Very versatile in the kitchen and suitable for both raw and cooked preparations, however, among other vegetables such as pumpkins, salads and carrots, cabbage is often overlooked. Instead, cabbage, thanks to its incredible beneficial properties, should be considered a true gift of nature. So let's see what cabbage can do for our health, based, as always, on the most recent scientific research.
Cabbage in salads, properties and nutrients
A grated raw cabbage added to salads provides mineral salts, such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium, vitamins, such as A, C and E, but also fibers and antioxidant substances, such as quercetin, polyphenols and glucosinolates. Cabbage, thanks to the substances it contains, fights cellular degeneration. For example, it has been observed that regularly eating cabbage, raw or subjected to short cooking, in adolescence and adulthood reduces the risk of breast cancer (Pathak et al, Int J Environ Res Public Health, 2021). According to research, other organs can also benefit from the consumption of cabbage, which can reduce the risk of developing tumors in these sites, such as lungs, stomach, colon and, to a lesser extent, also prostate, endometrium and ovaries (Verhoeven et al. , Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 1996). Cabbage is cardioprotective and hepatoprotective, it is hypoglycemic and helps to reduce circulating cholesterol (Zhang et al, Antioxidants, 2021" href="#quote-6">Zhang et al, Antioxidants, 2021). Not only that, cabbage helps prevent pancreatitis and protect organs, such as the liver and kidneys, from the damage that type 2 diabetes could cause (Yang et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2018 - Uuh-Narvaez et al, J Food Sci, 2021).
How to cook cabbage
If you want to cook cabbage to add it to your culinary preparations then keep in mind that the best way of cooking, in this case, is steaming. In fact, steaming retains 97% of glucosinolates, which are precious antioxidants that give cabbage anticancer properties (Oloyed et al, Foods, 2021).
The juice against ulcer, gastritis and colitis
Cabbage juice helps to heal peptic ulcers and soothes inflammation of the mucous membrane of the gastrointestinal tract, helping in case of gastritis and irritable bowel syndrome (Yang et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2018). Centrifuge 4-5 cabbage leaves and add an herbal tea, such as chamomile tea, which protects the gastric mucosa (Jabri et al, Pathophysiology, 2017), drink daily for a week.
Fermented cabbage, benefits
Sauerkraut is obtained from the fermentation of cabbage. Sauerkraut provides vitamins, such as A, B, C and K, mineral salts, such as iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese and selenium, and are low in calories (Raak et al, Glob Adv Health Med., 2014). Not only that, sauerkraut supports the intestinal microbiota, since they have a probiotic action, bringing good bacteria. In addition, sauerkraut abounds in anticancer substances, capable of counteracting DNA damage, such as glucosinolates and ascorbic acid (Raak et al, Glob Adv Health Med., 2014). Finally, it is believed that sauerkraut, thanks to the antioxidant substances contained and the bacteria responsible for fermentation, are also able to act with a powerful antioxidant action and help reduce the severity of a possible Covid 19 infection (Bousquet et al, Allergy, 2021). However, sauerkraut is a food capable of releasing high amounts of histamine. This should be borne in mind, especially in allergy season, as predisposed people suffering from hay fever may notice an aggravation of symptoms, including runny nose but also hives (Raak et al, Glob Adv Health Med., 2014).
Cabbage leaves for wraps
Cabbage can also be used for beneficial wraps. In fact, an important soothing action has been observed in case of joint pain, such as those affecting the knee. In particular, the application of fresh cabbage leaves, well washed, dried, to which the central hard stem has been removed and crushed with a rolling pin to flatten them, has shown, in four weeks, to reduce the pain with a higher efficacy of conventional treatments (Lauche et al, Clin J Pain, 2016). The pack was fixed with a bandage and kept in place for about 2 hours. But cabbage leaves are also useful in case of breast engorgement. In fact, cabbage leaf compresses have been shown to reduce pain and edema and extend the duration of breastfeeding (Boi et al, JBI Libr Syst Rev, 2012). In this case the compresses should be performed with cabbage leaves cold or at room temperature (Roberts et al, J Hum Lact, 1995). Take the cabbage leaves and wash them well, dry them. You can store them in the refrigerator for a cool effect. As we have already seen, at this point the cabbage leaves, cold or at room temperature, must be crushed with a rolling pin in order to flatten them. Apply the leaves to the breasts for 20-30 minutes, no more than twice a day.
Red cabbage, properties
The most commonly found cabbage on the market is light green cabbage. However, cabbage can also be dark red in color thanks to the presence of antioxidant pigments called anthocyanins. So, in addition to the typical beneficial properties of cabbage that we have seen so far, anthocyanins give red cabbage an even more powerful action when it comes to countering free radical damage and increasing cell vitality (Zhang et al , Antioxidants, 2021). Thanks to these characteristics, red cabbage is even more effective in protecting the liver and heart from oxidative stress damage but also the brain from neurodegeneration (Podsedek et al, Biomed Res Int, 2014).