According to a new study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, red cabbage contains 36 different anthocyanins, flavanoids that have been linked to cancer prevention. Anthocyanins are the substances found in many fruits and vegetables which give them their red, blue or purple pigmentation. Recent research has uncovered the positive effects these substances have on organisms that consume them. As well as cancer prevention, anthocyanins help with brain function and heart health. And some anthocyanins, including ones found in red cabbage, have been found to be even more potent antioxidants than vitamin C!
Generations have known that red, green, savoy or napa, cabbage is incredibly nutritious. Part of the cruciferae family, a family that includes broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale and bok choy, cabbage has been a frequently used tool in much folk healing. Eaten raw, cooked or fermented (as sauerkraut), cabbage is something you can’t afford not to eat!
Cabbage juice has been used as remedy for arthritis, skin disorders and obesity, as well as being a popular folk remedy for stomach ulcers. Some of its beneficial properties can possibly be explained by its high sulphur and chlorine content, whose combined-action is supposed to have a powerful cleansing effect on the mucous membranes of the intestinal tract.
All varieties of cabbage are good sources of vitamin C, carotenoids, B vitamins, fibre, vitamin K, folate, potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron. As sauerkraut, the nutrients in cabbage are increased (unless pasteurized) with its addition of probiotic, lactic acid and enzymes. Foods in the crucifer family are rich in phytochemicals such as glucosinolates and cancer protectors. Raw crucifers are also rich in indole-3-carbinole, isothiocyanates and sulforaphane, all of which have cancer-inhibiting qualities.
A substance known as ascorbigen, also known as vitamin U, has been found to protect against and to heal gastrointestinal ulceration (stomach ulcers). Particularly abundant in cabbage juice, ascorbigen is quickly destroyed through contact with the air, so be sure to drink the juice fresh.
No matter which variety of cabbage you choose, add it to your diet and the health benefits will be measurable. Ferment some sauerkraut, chop up some coleslaw or make some cabbage rolls! As well as being delicious, your body will thank you for it.
The Healthy Foodie is Doug DiPasquale, Holistic Nutritionist and trained chef, living in Toronto.
One Point by the Editor Here:
Radishes are also a part of the cruciferous vegetable family. They are red and have the correct combination of vitamins and minerals to assist in preventing cancer as well. Additionally, they are high in folate. Folate is necessary for the development of unborn babies. All pregnant ladies need to eat their vegetables but especially radishes.