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Red cabbage health benefits and therapeutic value

Red cabbage heads in a wicker basket with straw

Red cabbage (Brassica oleracea) is a leaf vegetable that belongs to the Brassicacaea or Cruciferae family, just like its more conventional white or green cousins.

This headed cabbage is a perennial plant native to Central Europe that boasts many health benefits.

Health benefits of red cabbage

For centuries, red cabbage has been considered an excellent expectorant, very effective against pulmonary disorders and bronchitis. Boiled cabbage was used to treat inflammations in the digestive tract and cirrhosis. Today, these therapeutic uses are acknowledged and it is even thought that it might have preventive properties against certain cancers.

  • Red cabbage is a very good source of vitamin C which protects skin integrity, heals wounds, protects cells from premature ageing due to free radicals, and enhances immune system activity.
  • Red cabbage is recommended in cases of various dyspeptic disorders (heartburn, hiatal hernia, nausea, regurgitation, hepatobiliary dyspepsia). It regulates digestive tract functions and soothes pain due to gastric ulcers, duodenal ulcers, and gastritis. In old medical monograms, cabbage juice was prescribed to deal with stomach and intestinal disorders.
  • Red cabbage is a great source of calcium which is crucial for bone health, muscle contraction, regulating of arterial blood pressure, wound-healing and signal transmission in the nervous system.
  • With elevated vitamin and mineral contents, red cabbage is a life-changer in case of anemia.
  • Red cabbage has antioxidant and detoxifying properties that protect the body against cell ageing.
  • With high vitamin K levels, red cabbage has positive effects on thinning the blood. However, note that red cabbage is strictly not recommended for persons being treated with anticoagulant medicines. Red cabbage might interfere!
  • With the potassium it delivers, red cabbage reduces risks of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Red cabbage juice, when pressed, is excellent to expel worms like ascaris and pinworms.
  • Red cabbage has hypoglycemic compounds beneficial in case of diabetes.
  • Topical use of raw cabbage applied in poultices helps heal wounds and alleviates rheumatism, muscle pain, headaches, sciatic pain and painful joints.

Growing red cabbage for its health benefits

  • Red cabbage requires full sun exposure but must be protected from excessive heat. It needs rich, deep, moist and well-drained soil.
  • If you’re looking to extend the harvest, remember to stage the sowing in batches sown three weeks apart from April to June.
  • Red cabbage is ornamental and can be grown in pots about 10 inches (25 cm) across, with non-acidic soil mix.

Cooking cabbage for its health benefits

To retain all its nutrients, it is best to eat your red cabbage raw, but it can also be steamed, as long as it stays crisp.

Nutritional content

Raw red cabbage provides 33 kcal / 3.5 oz (100 g), if steamed this drops to 22 kcal / 3.5 oz (100 g). It has high mineral and vitamin levels.

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