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Cabbage nutrition facts

Ever wonder what is the secret of Chinese people ever youthfulness? It is cabbage!

Rich in phyto-nutrients, this cool season leafy vegetable belongs to the "brassica" family of vegetables, which also include brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy, kale and broccoli. It is one of the widely cultivated crops around the world.

Scientific name: Brassica oleracea (capitata group).

Structurally, cabbage consists of clusters of stiff leaves superimposed in compact layers giving it a round or globular shape. Several different varieties are cultivated worldwide including green, purple red and savoy (loose wrinkled leaves).

Bok choy or "chinese-cabbage" features similar appearance, but derived from different species of the same brassica genus. Bok choy distinguishingly has vigorous growth pattern. The whole plant has long cylindrical shape comprising of short, compact leaves.

Health benefits of cabbage

  • Fresh, dark green-leafy cabbage is incredibly nutritious and low in fat and calories (Provides just 25 cal/100 g).

  • It is storehouse to many phyto-chemicals like thiocyanates, indole-3-carbinol, lutein, zeaxanthin, sulforaphane and isothiocyanates. These compounds are powerful anti-oxidants and known to help protect against breast, colon, and prostate cancers and help reduce LDL or "bad cholesterol" levels in the blood.

  • Fresh cabbage is an excellent source of natural antioxidant, vitamin C. Provides about 61% of RDA, more than that of in the oranges. Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.

  • It is also rich in many essential vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential in the sense that our body requires them from external sources to replenish.

  • It also contains good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is required for the red blood cell formation.

  • Cabbage is very good source of vitamin K, provides about 63% of RDA levels. Vitamin-K has potential role in bone metabolism by promoting osteotrophic activity in them. So enough vitamin K in the diet gives you healthy bones. In addition, vitamin-K also has established role in curing Alzheimer's disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in their brain.

Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 25 kcal 1%
Carbohydrates 5.8 g 4%
Protein 1.3 g 2%
Total Fat 0.1 g 0.5%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 2.50 mg 6%

Folates 53 mcg 13%
Niacin 0.234 mg 1.5%
Pantothenic acid 0.212 mg 4%
Pyridoxine 0.124 mg 10%
Riboflavin 0.040 mg 3%
Thiamin 0.061 mg 5%
Vitamin A 98 IU 3%
Vitamin C 36.6 mg 61%
Vitamin K 76 mcg 63%

Sodium 18 mg 1%
Potassium 170 mg 3.5%

Calcium 40 mg 4%
Iron 0.47 mg 6%
Magnesium 12 mg 3%
Manganese 0.160 mg 7%
Phosphorus 26 mg 3.5%
Zinc 0.18 mg 1.5%

Carotene-? 33 mcg --
Carotene-ß 42 mcg --
Lutein-zeaxanthin 30 mcg --

Selection and storage

Cabbage is a cool season crop. In the US supermarkets, however one may find them year around. While buying choose fresh, compact, firm, medium size head heavy for its size.

Pests are common in cabbage. Conventionally grown heads may be subjected to insecticides spray to avoid pest infestation. Therefore, wash thoroughly in running water then soak in saline water for about 30 minutes, again wash in clean water in order to remove dust, pests, eggs/ova/cysts and any residual insecticides.

Use cabbage while it is farm fresh to get maximum health benefits. However, it can be stored in the refrigerator for few days in fresh state.


Preparation and serving methods

To prepare, trim off the stem end and discard any withered outer layer leaves. Wash the head as described above. Cut the head into two equal halves and then slice the leaves as you may desire in the recipes.

Here are some serving tips:

  • Thoroughly cleaned cabbage can be eaten raw, in fact, is very nutritious.

  • Sliced or grated raw leaves are added to vegetable salad preparations.

  • Trimmed whole leaves can go well with sandwiches and burgers.

  • Fresh or pickled cabbage leaves used as rolls around a filling (sarmale) usually based on minced meat in many parts of Central Europe, Balkans, and Asia-minor regions.

  • Stew fried cabbage, onion, garlic, bell pepper and green chillies mixed with steamed rice and soya/chilli/tomato sauce is one of the favorite dishes (Chowmein) in china and other South East Asian regions.

  • Also used to prepare a kind of soup with added beet juice and yogurt known as "borscht", is very popular in eastern European nations.

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