We’ve long known that cabbage aids weight loss because it has such a high water content, but it is also an excellent source of fiber and works wonders for the stomach. Raw cabbage even helps to cure stomach ulcers.
Red cabbage contains the antioxidant anthocyanins found in blue, purple, and red plants, which reduces inflammation and improves brain function. As an added benefit, cabbage lowers cholesterol by preventing bile from absorbing fat after a meal.
Both the anthocyanins and the glucosinolates in cabbage are cancer inhibiting. Three cups or more of cabbage per week lowers the risk of breast cancer in women 50-70% according to the results of a study from Michigan State University.
Cabbage is not a “one stop shop” vegetable. It comes in several varieties, including Savoy, spring greens, green, red, and white cabbages. It’s best not to overcook cabbage. Keep it crunchy! Heat breaks down some of the chemical compounds that give cabbage such a powerful health punch, including glucosinolates. Try eating cabbage raw, steamed, or lightly sautéed.
Inexpensive and readily available year round, look for tightly packed cabbage bulbs that are heavy and vivid in color. A whole cabbage refrigerated will last 1-2 weeks. Chopped cabbage goes bad in 5-6 days.
As a word of caution, too much cabbage can lead to an enlargement of the thyroid gland called a “goiter.” This is rare, however, in developed countries and cooking neutralizes this potential drawback.