Cabbage Health Benefits and Fun Facts

fall food - cabbage health benefits

Let’s start this article with a fun fact! Did you know that cabbage is the national food of Russia? Russians eat about seven times more cabbage than the average North American! When you think about it, Russian cabbage soup is pretty delicious, so it might have to do something with it.

Saying that this greenish bundle of taste and joy is a Superman amongst other vegetables is entirely true. According to Organic Facts, it is frequently used to treat constipation, headaches, obesity, eczema, arthritis, rheumatism and many more.

There are numerous cabbage health benefits and we are about to go through all of them.


More Fun Facts

Before we get to the serious part, let’s first get to know cabbage through some interesting facts:

  • It can grow from 0.5 to 4 kilograms.
  • In the East, cabbage first appeared 4000 years BC and was cultivated in North China.
  • In ancient Rome, cabbage was considered a luxury amongst other vegetables.
  • The first cabbage that was brought to America was by Jacques Cartier in the 16th century.
  • Cabbage health benefits showed their true colors back in the 16th century. Scurvy, a vitamin C deficiency killed over 2 million sailors in the period of the 15th and 16th century. In the ship of Captain James Cook, that sailed in the 1760s, the crew brought sauerkraut, which protected them from this disease.


So, What is Cabbage?

According to Medical News Today, cabbage is a vegetable from a cruciferous family. The cruciferous family also gathers broccoli and kale.

Cabbage color varies from greenish to purple and you can mostly find it as a round or oval-shaped. Its inner leaves are a lighter color than the ones on the inside.

Cabbage can be prepared in numerous ways and one cup of this cooked cabbage has less than 40 calories.

Now, let’s get to the cabbage health benefits.


Cabbage Health Benefits


Cabbage is a Great Source of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a valuable nutrient that boosts the immune system, lowers hypertension, controls symptoms of asthma and improves skin elasticity. These are just some of its benefits.

A well-known fact is that oranges and lemons are sources of vitamin C. If you are not a fan of the citrusy taste, cabbage is a great alternative. Although it is not usually found in the list of top foods that are enriched with vitamin C, cabbage is an excellent source of this vitamin, so much that is recommended for treating scurvy.

Scurvy is a synonym for vitamin C deficiency. Some of the scurvy symptoms are:

  • Depression,
  • Anemia,
  • Spontaneous bleeding,
  • Ulceration of the gums, and
  • Teeth loss.

To prevent this from happening, be sure to increase your vitamin C intake. According to Mayo Clinic, recommended intake of vitamin C is 90 mg for adult men and 75 mg for adult women. Cabbage has 36.6 mg of vitamin C per 100 gr. You do the math!


Did Anyone Say Sulfur?

cabbage and sulfur
Yes! Sulfur is often neglected mineral in the human body, although it is the most abundant, with 140 grams for the average adult person.

Sulfur contributes to the human body in so many ways:

  • Strengthens hair and nails,
  • Improves the functioning of the neural system,
  • Is responsible for creating insulin.

To be precise, cabbage contains sulforaphane, an organosulfur compound which is found in all the vegetables from the Brassica family (which cabbage is a part of). In fact, there is a study that is probably going to surprise you. You will be able to see the length cabbage health benefits go.

In a study from 2011, a group of scientists conducted an experiment regarding carcinogenesis. The study was conducted in a farm community in China, where airborne pollution is highly present. The result of the study was that a broccoli sprout drink, which is high in sulforaphane, increased urinary excretion of pollutants.

On the other hand, pharmacological research from 2007, found out that women who include cabbage in their diet have a lower chance of getting breast cancer.

Here we mentioned a broccoli sprout drink. If you are not a fan of broccoli, we have a few healthy drink suggestions that can help you feel and look better.


Cabbage is Anti-Inflammatory

Cabbage has other benefits besides preventing cancer. One of the main agents of this vegetable is glutamine that can reduce inflammation, allergies, or even fever.

Glutamine is an acid which our bodies use for protein synthesis and acid balance regulation in kidneys. It provides the body with energy and is responsible for ammonia circulation in the blood. Not only that, it speeds up the recovery period after the surgery and helps the body to heal.

Who knew one of the cabbage health benefits was its ability to heal the body?


Cabbage as a Moisturizing Cream

Haha, we are just kidding! Cabbage health benefits didn’t go that far and it definitely can’t replace your moisturizer but can slow down the aging process.

Thanks to antioxidants, this mighty vegetable can reduce the appearance of fine lines, dark spots and affect the healing process of the skin.


Good Eye Vision

cabbage for eye vision
There are numerous cabbage health benefits but did you know that cabbage can have an impact on your eye vision?

We are familiar with the fact that eating carrots can improve our vision because of its high level of beta-carotene. Well, guess what? Cabbage also has beta-carotene and is good in preventing macular degeneration.

Macular degeneration is a defect that causes central vision to blur and eyes to become extremely sensitive to the light. It is common amongst older people, precisely the ones over 60 years old.


Losing Weight has Never Been Easier

As we have previously mentioned, cabbage has a high level of fiber and low-calorie level, which make it a great candidate for everyone who wants to lose a bit of weight. We are sure you have heard of the cabbage soup diet!

If you are having trouble losing weight, be sure to check our article on the things that you might be doing that can slow down the weight loss process.


Cabbage Helps with Digestive Issues

Also, one of the many cabbage health benefits is the high level of roughage, also known as fiber or, indigestible material that affects the digestive process.

There are many fruits, vegetables and grains that are filled with roughage and cabbage is one of them. But, why is roughage so important?

Roughage helps the body to retain water and therefore, helps the food with moving through the bowels. Basically, eating cabbage means saying goodbye to digestion problems. And there’s more!

According to WebMD, Dr. Denis Burkitt, an Irish surgeon, visited Africa in the 1950s and found out that Africans had a lower rate of colorectal cancer, comparing to America’s rate. The reason behind it was their diet. Africans ate a lot of beans, corn and other fiber-enriched foods.

Nowadays, many doctors debate about this study since there is a lot of mixed data. However, a statement that eating fiber-enriched food can help prevent some types of cancer is, undoubtedly, true.


Serves as a Protection from the Radiation

According to VOA A Georgetown University conducted a study in 2013, which showed that the component called 3,3′-diindolylmethane (DIM), found in cabbage, can prolongate the radiation protection. According to this study, rats were given a lethal dosage of radiation but the ones had a daily injection of DIM were alive for 30 more days.

Because of this benefit, cabbage is highly recommended during cancer treatments.


Guardian of the Heart

There are many studies that demonstrate cabbage health benefits. One of them, a study from 2012, conducted by Megan Temperest, RD, showed that certain foods could prevent having a CVD (cardiovascular disease). To be precise – certain food can raise the good and lower the bad cholesterol. Guess what – cabbage is on the right side!

The study shows that food that is rich with flavonoid can help to prevent CVD. That being said, cabbage is filled with polyphenol which lowers the blood pressure and, therefore, protects the heart.


Cabbage as a Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes

According to a study from 2015, cabbage is used as a prevention of type 2 diabetes. This study, which included over 50,000 adult women and men in Denmark, showed that the ones that followed the healthy Nordic food index (which included cabbage) had lower risks of getting T2D.

Pretty amazing, isn’t it?


Better Concentration and Brain Health

Better Concentration and Brain Health - cabbage health benefits
Just when you thought cabbage health benefits couldn’t get any better, cabbage is here to surprise you. Thanks to vitamin K, which stimulates the production of sphingolipids and myelin sheath around nerves, your brain stays strong and healthy. Vitamin K protects nerves so much, and it can prevent brain degeneration like dementia or even Alzheimer’s.

However, keep in mind that adult women shouldn’t take more than 90 mcg of vitamin K, while men should up the dosage – up to 120 mcg.


Bone Strengthening Properties

Calcium, magnesium and potassium are the “ones to blame” if you have strong bones. All of these minerals are found in the cabbage.

On another matter, because of this healing property, cabbage can be used as a detox from osteoporosis drugs. Not only that – if you eat a lot of cabbage, but you also don’t have to worry about osteoporosis ever again.


Muscle Relaxing Properties

We need to talk about one of the most significant cabbage health benefits – potassium! It is amazing for relaxing muscles and regulating water balance in the body. However, the main potassium benefit is that it alkalizes the pH of the blood. What does that mean?

Alkalising blood pressure is commonly misunderstood in the medical community. According to Dr. Ben Kim blog, humans’ blood pH should be somewhere between 7.35 to 7.45. Naturally, some foods can mess up the pH balance.

When our bodies are not alkalized enough and don’t have the proper level of pH, that’s when we feel sick. Sickness, in this case, can be described as:

  • Having headaches and acne,
  • Having digestive issues,
  • Heavy breathing,
  • Feeling tired all the time,
  • Having diabetes,
  • Bad immune system etc.

So, be sure to include this cabbage in your diet and watch how the overall health is becoming better.


Cabbage & Nursing

cabbage & nursing
We are sure our Mom readers have heard of the method called cabbage leaf therapy. In case you didn’t know, cabbage is amazing for breast engorgement.

Implementing steps to this therapy is a piece of cake. Cabbage leaves, which you previously put in the freezer, should be taken out after the feeding or pumping is done. All you need to is put broken leaves on your breasts until they cover the whole breast.

Leaves should warm up quickly, due to your body temperature, so be sure to change them often.


Cabbage vs. Other Vegetables

Now that you have seen all the cabbage health benefits, you are probably wondering how it compares to the other vegetables. Let’s see the statistics.


Green Cabbage vs. Red Cabbage

Green Cabbage vs Red Cabbage - cabbage health benefits
If you chose cabbage you definitely would be making a mistake. However, according to, between these two, you should definitely go with red cabbage, since it has more nutritional benefits, especially anthocyanin and polyphenols.


Cabbage vs. Lettuce

Hm, this is a tough one! It depends on what you are looking for.

For example, cabbage has more fibers, precisely 3.6 g per serving, while the lettuce has 1 g. On the other hand, when it comes to vitamin A, lettuce is a definite winner.

However, from our perspective, cabbage is the champion. Just by comparing vitamin C content, cabbage has 51 milligrams per serving, while the lettuce has only 7 and who can argue with that.


Cabbage vs. Kale

Well, this is a different situation. For starters, kale has 4 times more proteins (4.28 g) than cabbage (1.28 g) per 100 g. Let’s check other data, as well:

  • Kale has 150 mg of calcium per 100 g, while cabbage has 36.6 mg.
  • Kale has almost 10 times more vitamin K (704.8 mcg), compared to the cabbage (76 mcg).

Unfortunately, the winner of this duel is kale. But we have to admit cabbage tastes so much better!


Cabbage vs. Broccoli

In this duel, there are 2 nutrients that are on the cabbage side – betaine and alpha-carotene. The first one protects the liver and its cellular reproduction and the other, as you probably know, is a form of vitamin A.

Considering other vitamins and minerals, differences can be minor and larger, in some cases. For example, broccoli has 47 mg of calcium per 100 g, while the cabbage has 40 mg. The differences are not that major, so we would call it a tie.

After writing all of those cabbage health benefits, we have to admit we are a bit hungry. So, there is only one question left – how to prepare cabbage without losing all those precious nutrients?


Choosing the Right Cabbage and How to Prepare It

When choosing cabbage, be sure to pay attention to the ones that have tight and firm leaves attached closely to the body of the cabbage. Another tip to know is that the heavier the cabbage, the better.

Before preparing it, please remove all external leaves.

When it comes to preparing cabbage, you can choose multiple ways to do it:

  • Steam,
  • Boiled,
  • Stuffed, or
  • Roasted.

Whichever you prefer?

And what about preservation, you may ask? One of the biggest perks of cabbage is that it can survive in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and it won’t lose all cabbage health benefits.


Cabbage Really Does Wonders

It is like a little magician that is going to take care of all your problems. Although there are vegetables that have a higher level of vitamin C or even potassium, you can’t deny the fact that it does wonders.

Do not forget – it keeps the bones strong, the brain healthy, skin clear and stomach flat.

How do you like to prepare cabbage? Tell us in the comments!

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Last article update: 8/26/2019