Green, leafy and wholesome, cabbage, popularly called ‘Patta gobi‘ in Hindi, ‘Gos Koora‘ in Telugu, ‘Muttaikose‘ in Tamil, ‘Mutta gose‘ in Malayalam, ‘Kosu‘ in Kannada, ‘Kobi‘ in Gujarati & Marathi, ‘Gobi‘ in Punjabi, and ‘Bandha Kopee‘ in Bengali, is a low-calorie vegetable. A popular choice in salad recipes, this fiber-rich vegetable offers a host of benefits. Read on to discover the amazing benefits of this hardy vegetable.
Cabbage is an important member of the brassica family which also includes broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts. It is a round and leafy vegetable that is believed to have originated in the Eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor. Available all the year round, it forms a part of a healthy diet.
Types Of Cabbages
Several varieties of cabbage are available to choose from – Savoy, Wombok, January King, red, and green cabbages. They can be eaten raw or cooked. The taste varies from savory to gently sweet. Being rich in vitamins, iron, and potassium, they are widely used in both Eastern and Western cuisines. Given below are a few varieties of cabbage (1).
1. Green Cabbage
This is the most commonly used type. It has smooth leaves packed tightly and a round shape resembling a large ball. It is also sometimes called as Dutch white
2. Red Cabbage
This variety is denser than the green one and has a slight peppery flavor. It is more nutritious than the green variety and is also available in smaller varieties.
3. Savoy Cabbage
This is a large ball shaped cabbage having loose, darker outer leaves varying from smooth to curly. Its wrinkly leaves are great when wrapped around different fillings. This cabbage’s color varies from light green to bluish green.
4. Wombok/Bok Choy
Also known as Chinese cabbage, this variety is basically oval shaped with crinkly leaves having white veins. It is pale green in color and available in a ‘baby wombok’ size.
Cabbage Nutrition USDA Chart
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.1 g||0.5%|
|Dietary Fiber||2.50 mg||6%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.212 mg||4%|
|Vitamin A||98 IU||3%|
|Vitamin C||36.6 mg||61%|
|Vitamin K||76 µg||63%|
One serving or one cup of cabbage provides a person with 91.7 percent of the daily required value of Vitamin K and 50.3 percent of the daily required value of the Vitamin C. Vitamin B6, manganese, folate, vitamin B2 and B1, potassium, calcium, magnesium and Vitamin A are abundantly found in cabbage. It also consists of small amounts of zinc, manganese, and iron. Cabbage health benefits simply cannot be ignored!
Now that we know the nutritional benefits of cabbage, let’s look into the benefits of this fabulous vegetable.
Skin Benefits Of Cabbage
Leafy greens are considered great for skin, and cabbage is no exception. Cabbage contains ‘indole-3-carbonile’ which is a powerful antioxidant. It is responsible for detoxifying your liver. This is beneficial for the skin as well because it removes the toxins, which if accumulated in the blood, cause dull and blemished skin. Thus, the skin benefits of eating cabbage are many.
1. Anti-Aging Benefits
Regular consumption of cabbage along with other cruciferous vegetables can provide anti-aging benefits to the skin. The rich amount of Vitamin C in this vegetable keeps the skin youthful and delays the aging process. Moreover, Vitamin A in cabbage juice works together with Vitamin D to make your skin clear and healthy. It also avoids the destruction of skin cells due to ultraviolet rays.
2. Healing Properties
Cabbage has excellent skin healing properties. When used as a poultice, cabbage is effective in curing skin eruptions such as eczema, psoriasis, acne, rashes, insect bites, leg ulcers, and wounds. It helps cure arthritis as well. You can prepare the poultice by grating or processing some cabbage in a blender. Wrap the content mixed with some water in a cloth. Place it on the affected area for about 15 minutes. You can also crush the leaves and apply them directly on the affected areas. Regular application of this poultice, as well as eating cabbage, can help you heal faster.
[ Read: Cucumber Juice Benefits ]
3. Provides Flawless Skin
It is appreciable for its beautifying effects, and it also has a role in promoting healthy skin. If you are suffering from pimples or other skin irritations, cabbage can be the solution. All you need to do is to steam the upper leaves of cabbage and remove all the veins. Compress the leaves between a linen cloth and cotton to make them smooth and soft. Place the compress on the affected area overnight and experience spotless skin next morning.
[ Read: How To Get Clear And Spotless Skin ]
4. Vitamin E Improves Skin Complexion
Its juice is also excellent for improving complexion. It has potassium in it which is instrumental in purifying your body and skin. The high levels of Vitamin A rejuvenate your tissues while sulfur helps in fighting the infection. Vitamin E is often used as an ingredient in skincare products and supplements. The ultimate result is glowing and fairer skin.
5. Sulfur Prevents Acne
Sulfur is considered as ‘Nature’s beauty mineral’. Because of its drying effect, it plays an important role in drying acne and breakouts. Moreover, it is vital for the synthesis of keratin, a protein substance that is essential for healthy hair, nails and skin. It also helps in cleansing your blood and removing bacteria and toxins from your body.
6. Cleansing Property
Its juice is extremely effective in cleansing your body as cabbages are abundant in Vitamin C. If you are suffering from acne, drinking cabbage juice can help in clearing it up. Cabbage juice can also heal infected gums caused by gingivitis.
Hair Benefits Of Cabbage
Being loaded with nutrients such as vitamins, calcium, sulfur, iron, and magnesium, cabbage is equally beneficial for your hair. Some of the benefits of cabbage for hair are given below.
7. Stimulates Hair Growth
Just like other green vegetables, cabbage has a high content of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is an antioxidant that stimulates hair growth. Applying a mixture of boiled cabbage and freshly squeezed lemon juice on the scalp can facilitate hair growth. Mash ½ cup boiled cabbage and 1/8 cup fresh lemon juice in a blender to form a thick paste. Massage this mixture on your scalp, leave it for 30 minutes and then shampoo and condition your hair as usual. This can be done twice a week.
8. Smooth And Healthy Hair
Cabbage nourishes your hair, thus providing you with silky, shining hair. Apply its juice on your scalp and the roots of your hair. Shampoo your hair after an hour. This will make your hair smooth and silky.
[ Read: Lettuce Benefits ]
9. Prevents Hair Loss
Raw cabbage and cucumber juices are rich in silicon and sulfur, two vital minerals that stimulate hair growth and prevent hair loss. Apply a mixture of 30 ml cabbage juice and 30 ml cucumber juice on your scalp and hair roots, massage thoroughly for 10-15 minutes before going to bed and wash off the next morning. This should be done thrice a week for maximum benefits.
10. Conditions Dry Hair
Raw cabbage juice is also beneficial for dry hair as it makes it soft and shiny. Try drinking a mixture of 80 ml of raw carrot and cucumber juice and 40 ml of raw cabbage juice to get healthy and beautiful hair.
Health Benefits Of Cabbage
11. Helps Prevent Cancer
There are many properties in cabbage that help fight cancer causing cells. These ingredients include diindolylmethane (DIM), sinigrin, lupeol, sulforaphane and indole 3 – carbinol (I3C). The sulforaphane and the I3C compounds are known to increase anti-cancer effects.
12. Immunity Booster
It has a very high content of Vitamin C. Thus cabbage helps in strengthening one’s immunity system and also assists in curbing free radicals.
13. Anti-inflammatory Properties
It is also very rich in amino acids which help fight inflammation.
[ Read: Estrogen Rich Foods ]
14. Eliminates The Risk Of Cataract
The beta-carotene content in cabbage helps in prevention of macular degeneration of the eyes and thus, keeps cataract at bay.
15. Reduces Risk Of Alzheimer’s Disease
The latest research states that consuming cabbage, especially the red ones, can prevent Alzheimer’s. Vitamin K that is widely found in cabbage is responsible for this.
16. Helps In Treatment Of Peptic Ulcers
Peptic or stomach ulcers are healed by consumption of cabbage. Its juice has anti-ulcer properties owing to its high content of glutamine.
17. Assists In Weight Loss
It is considered to be the best dish for those who constantly watch their weight. An entire cup of cooked cabbage contains merely 33 calories. Thus, a diet of cabbage soup would mean endless bowls with absolutely no weight gain.
18. Provides Relief From Constipation
Proper digestion is facilitated due to the high fiber content in it. This helps in providing relief from constipation.
19. Provides Relief From Sore Muscles
Lactic acid present in it is known to provide effective relief from sore muscles.
20. Encourages Proper Digestion
Dietary fiber is essential for proper digestion of food and Chinese cabbage contains a lot of that. When you eat this veggie, you consume enough of this nutrient and develop bulk inside your digestive tract. It eventually accelerates your digestion by removing unnecessary materials from our body.
21. Maintains Cardiovascular Health
Including Chinese cabbage or bok choy in your diet can be extremely beneficial for your heart. It is because the vegetable is full of two most important minerals – calcium and potassium, which can regulate the blood pressure levels efficiently. The amount of sodium present in it is also quite low, which is good for maintaining the health of the cardiac system.
22. Good For Diabetics
Potassium present in bok choy not only helps in treating hypertension, but it also takes part in keeping your blood sugar level under control. The mineral can also stimulate our mental well-being by relieving tension, stress and anxiety.
23. For Strong Bones And Teeth
Chinese cabbage keeps your bones and teeth strong with the help of calcium and vitamin K present in it. Besides, calcium is good for upkeeping the standard functionalities of the muscles and nerves. Conversely, vitamin k can facilitate the clotting of blood, thereby preventing hemorrhage.
24. Rich In Antioxidants
Like many other leafy green vegetables, Chinese cabbage is also rich in anti-oxidants. According to nutritionists, only one cup of this vegetable can satisfy almost 50% of the daily intake requirement of vitamin A and vitamin C. Both of these vitamins are crucial for curbing the adverse effects of free radicals on your body and keeping you free from a number of fatal diseases. In other words, you should have this vegetable regularly for conditioning the defense mechanisms of the body.
25. Good For Pregnant Women
It is a fabulous food for pregnant women. It has been seen that Chinese cabbage can meet the nutritional requirements of would-be mothers easily as it is high in folic acid. From providing nourishment to the fetus during pregnancy to promoting the production of milk during lactation, benefits of this vegetable is truly multifaceted.
How To Select And Store Cabbages
- Different varieties of cabbages are available in supermarkets all the year round. Always choose cabbage heads that are large, firm and dense. They should be heavy for their size with bright, crisp and colorful leaves which are devoid of cracks, blemishes, bruises or insect nibbles.
- Fresh cabbages generally have abundant outer leaves. Greengrocers often pull out the wilted outer leaves as the cabbage ages to make it look fresh.
- Avoid those cabbages that are fluffy or whose outer leaves have been stripped away.
- Check the bottom of the cabbage to ensure that the leaves are tightly packed.
- If the leaves are beginning to separate from the stem, it indicates that the cabbage has aged.
- Green and red cabbages should have shiny and compact leaves.
- Also, avoid buying cabbage that is either halved or shredded as precut cabbage loses its valuable Vitamin C content.
- While storing, it should be ensured that it retains its freshness and Vitamin C content, and this can be best done by keeping it cold.
- Loose-leaved cabbages do not last long, and should be stored in a cool, dark place.
- The whole head of cabbage should be kept in a plastic bag and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week or two.
- Red and green cabbages can be stored for two weeks while Savoy cabbage can last for a week.
- It should be noted that the older the cabbage gets, the stronger is the flavor and odor. A cabbage remains fresh as long as its head is not chopped off. Lose leaves lose their freshness rapidly.
- In case you need half a head of cabbage, the remaining half should be placed in a plastic bag with few drops of water on the cut side and refrigerated to enable it to last a few more days.
- Another way to store it is to freeze it. For this purpose, cut the vegetable into coarse shreds and blanch for about two minutes in boiling water. Drain and chill the shreds. Place them in airtight containers and freeze.
- Cooked cabbage can also be refrigerated in a covered container for up to 4 days.
- Cleaning and washing any vegetable is extremely important before cooking it. As far as cabbage is concerned, you can start off by removing the thick outer leaves and cutting it into pieces.
- It should be washed in running water. Soak it in salt water or vinegar water for 15-20 minutes in case you notice any signs of worms or insects.
- It is advisable to cut and wash it just before cooking to retain its Vitamin C content.
- Always use a stainless steel knife to cut it, as the phytonutrients in this vegetable react with carbon steel, turning the leaves black.
- For cutting it into smaller pieces, first quarter it and then remove the core.
Various cooking methods can be used to reap the numerous benefits from cabbage. This vegetable can form part of many dishes such as salads, soups, and casseroles. While cooking it, care should be taken not to overcook it as this can intensify its pungent odor. Instead, it can be steamed, baked, boiled, sautéed, stuffed or stir-fried to achieve best results. It can even be eaten raw.
Cabbage can greatly complement vegetables such as potatoes, onions and carrots; and meat such as corned beef, bacon, pork, and sausage. It is excellent with herbs and spices such as celery seed, nutmeg, walnuts, garlic, dill weed, mustard seed, tarragon, black pepper, and thyme. Some cooking tips are given below.
- Red or purple cabbage leaves can be used to decorate side dishes or salads on the plate. Hollowed out cabbage heads can make excellent serving containers for cold dips and spreads.
- Savoy cabbage can be stir-fried with garlic, ginger and chilies along with a dash of soy sauce to make a delicious dish.
- Green cabbage can be sliced with carrots, toasted nuts and dressed with olive oil and lemon juice in a salad.
- White cabbage can also be sliced and added to chopped ripe mangoes, onion and walnut pieces and dressed with vinaigrette.
- It can be cooked in its simplest manner. Boil some water and add chopped cabbage and sugar and meat seasoning. Simmer for about 35 minutes.
- You can prepare stuffed cabbage rolls by removing the core and stuffing it with other vegetables, and cook for 3 minutes until softened. This can be served with sauce.
- Red cabbage can be shredded into fine pieces, seasoned with cut apples and vinegar and cooked for 1 minute.
- A low-calorie cabbage dish can be made by cooking the cabbage leaves over medium heat with a mixture of cucumber juice and mustard.
- Small pieces of cabbage can be steam cooked and other vegetables can also be added to it. The mixture should be cooked until the cabbage becomes a little crisp.
- Cabbage can be cooked in milk for 3 to 4 minutes and seasoned with salt and pepper.
So, now that you know how helpful cabbage diet is, make sure to include it in your daily diet. Reap the benefits of this green, leafy vegetable and live a healthy life.
How do you like your cabbage? Do let us know in the comments section below.