Cabbage- A baggage of health benefits

 

Apart from being my personal favourite, “Cabbage” is a delicious vegetable belonging to the “Brassica family” of the plant kingdom. The cabbage family is one of the most important vegetable family known for its nutritional benefits and cancer fighting ability.

Cabbage is known to be an excellent cleanser and is highly valued for its alkaline salts as well as mineral and vitamin contents. It is a good source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K, beta-carotene and little of the eye healthy carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. Cabbage also provides good amount of fiber. One cup of cooked cabbage give almost 4 g of fiber(Bowden, 2007). So many nutritional things packed in such a low-calorie food. Now, that’s why i call it “The baggage of health benefits.”

 Cabbage is also shown to possess antibacterial powers thus putting it in the class of antibiotic foods. In several different test tube studies cabbage is shown to destroy a variety of bacteria including H.Pylori bacteria, which is considered to be a cause of stomach ulcers. According to the naturopathic professionals, raw cabbage juice is used in such condition. The juice of cabbage is also known to be used beneficially in other health conditions like bladder infection and obstructive jaundice (Bakhru,2007).

Cabbage was valued in ancient Rome as a cancer cure. According to an author and researcher Laurie Deutsh Mozian, M.S., R.D., researchers came to know about cabbage’s quality of keeping breast cancer at bay after observing the diets of women living in Eastern European countries. They observed that these women were much less likely to develop breast cancer compared to the American women and the analysis of  the East European women diet revealed a high intake of cabbage and the analysis of cabbage showed that the candidate for this positive effect were the phytochemicals present in cabbage known as “indoles” (Bowden,2007,pp28, Bakhru, 2007). Years of research now show that these indoles alter the metabolism of estrogen in a favourable way, one that is likely to reduce the risk of cancer (Bowden,2007).

The cancer fighting ability of cabbage does not stop at indoles. Cabbage contains numerous other phytochemicals, anti-cancer and antioxidant compounds. All these compounds are shown by several researches to speed up the metabolism of Oestrogen which is shown to help prevent breast cancer and suppress the growth of polyps, a prelude to colon cancer. According to several studies, eating cabbage more then once a week has shown to cut men’s colon cancer odds by up to 66 % and eating as little as 2 tablespoons of cooked cabbage daily is said to protect against stomach cancer (Bakhru,2007,pp 79,80).

The red or purple variety of cabbage is a good source of anthocyanins, the pigment molecules that give blueberries the blue color and red cabbage the red color. Apart from providing beautiful colors to our fruits and vegetables, these guys act as powerful antioxidants. In one study these anthocyanins were found to protect animals against the damage produced by a known toxin. The antioxidant ability of anthocyanins to fight against free radicals is shown to make them powerful weapons against cardiovascular diseases. Anthocyanins are also known for their anti-inflammatory effects (Bowden,2007).

Although there are so many benefits found in cabbage, there are certain things to keep in mind. Cabbage is shown to rapidly lose its value through the process of cooking, even when done conservatively. Cooking is also shown to destroy some antioxidants, anti-cancer and estrogenic compounds, particularly indoles. For this reason, experts recommend including cabbage in vegetable salads, rarely cooking it and throughly chewing the raw or cooked cabbage (Bakhru, 2007).

WORD OF CAUTION:

Members of the cabbage family contain “goitrogens“. These are naturally occurring substances that may interfere with the function of the thyroid gland. Experts recommend people with hypothyroidism to consume this family of vegetables in moderation. In the absence of thyroid problems, there is no research indicating that intake of goitrogenic foods will have any negative impact on health (Bowden,2007, pp 29)

 

 ** The above information is for educational purposes only. There is absolutely no intension to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any health problems or diseases. Consult your doctor for specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment, advice on diet, herb and exercise.** 

References: 

1.Bakhru, H.K. (2007). Healing through natural foods. Mumbai, India: Jaico publishing house.

2. Bowden, J, Ph.D., C.N.S, (2007). The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, Beverly,M.A.: Fair Winds Press.

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Nimesh Mehta on May 12, 2010 at 9:44 am

    Great Article once again……..why should one need a Doctor or Medicines if one eats what nature has provided. Radhika keep on Enlightening people on health benefits the natural way.

    Reply

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