Cabbage has countless health promoting nutrients and many are shared with other Brassica family vegetables including kale and broccoli. However, cabbage also has its own distinctive nutrients and properties.
Savoy cabbages are particularly rich in the nutrient sinigrin. This has unique anti-cancer properties and is particularly associated with fighting bladder, colon and prostate cancers.
Additionally, cabbage can assist in lowering cholesterol. Specific components of the cabbage fibre, bind with bile acids in our gastrointestinal tract. This promotes bile excretion which as a result lowers cholesterol.
It has long been recognised that cabbage juice helps to heal stomach ulcers. Cabbage is rich in glutamine which helps to heal the lining of the stomach and digestive tract. However, there are other special phytonutrients in cabbage that help to regulate the amount of H. pylori bacteria in the stomach. When populations of this bacterium become too large, the H. pylori can latch on to the stomach lining, which can lead to the development of stomach ulcers.
In order to maximise the health benefits of cabbage, use the steaming or healthy sauté method (i.e. sauté with a little water, broth or stock). To promote the cabbage’s healthful enzyme activity, chop the cabbage and let it sit for 5 minutes before consuming or cooking. However, if you wish to benefit from cabbage’s high vitamin C content, wash and cut just before consumption!
To enjoy, shred in to an Asian salad with onion, coriander, chilli and cashews, add to soups, stews and stir fries or stuff the leaves – Russian style. Alternatively you can ferment your cabbage into some wonderful therapeutic sauerkraut.
Marcelle Rose is a registered nutritional therapist who runs clinics and workshops in North London. She believes that even small changes to the way we eat can make a big difference to how we feel. You can contact Marcelle at email@example.com.