Napa cabbage, also known as Korean cabbage, scientific name Brassica rapa subsp pekinensis, family of Brassicaceae or Cruciferous, is a vegetable originating in the Beijing region, China, but today can be easily found all over the world from Europe to America and Australia. It has an elongated shape and light green leaves in layers. Like all vegetables of the cruciferous family, this type of cabbage also contains antioxidants and glucosinolates, substances that the plant develops to protect itself from external aggressions. For the plant the glucosinolates are indispensable protective substances but the same applies for humans. In fact, when we chew the cabbage we break the tissues of the plant and this activates a reaction that starts from glucosinolates and leads to the formation of other substances called isothiocyanates, which have demonstrated a powerful anti-tumor action by inducing apoptosis, namely the death, of tumor cells (Yun-xiang Zang et al, J Zhejiang Univ Ski B, Aug 2015).
Moreover, on the basis of scientific studies (Seong GU et al, Food Chem, May 2016), it is precisely the outer leaves of the napa cabbage that have a stronger antioxidant effect because contain the maximum amount of antioxidants, which decrease as you move towards the inner leaves. In addition to these very important properties, napa cabbage also provides vitamins C, group B and A, folic acid, minerals such as magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc as well as fibers to support the proper functioning of the intestinal tract (USDA Database). And what about the ways to eat the napa cabbage? Certainly a good solution, which also preserves all the nutrients, is to chop it with hands and serve it raw in salad. Otherwise, a yummy and healthy alternative is given by a quick cooking on the wok for up to 8 minutes. In fact, while boiling reduces the amount of glucosinolates the wok cooking preserves them, as demonstrated by a scientific study (Nugrahedi et al, Plant Foods Hum Nutr, Nov 2017).