Cabbage is a member of the food family known as cruciferous vegetables, and is related to kale, broccoli, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts. In ancient civilizations, cabbage was seen as a “panacea” cure-all, supposedly able to treat a myriad of health conditions.
Cabbage can have great cholesterol-lowering benefits when cooked by steaming. The fiber-related components in cabbage are able to better bind together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they’ve been steamed. This binding process makes it easier for these bile acids to be excreted, and the result is a possible lowering of cholesterol levels. Raw cabbage still has a cholesterol-lowering ability, just not as much as steamed cabbage.
Cabbage is very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. It is also a good source of protein, thiamin, calcium, phosphorus, and copper, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, potassium, and manganese. Cabbage also has a great antioxidant profile, and it is this antioxidant richness of cabbage that researchers believe is partly responsible for its cancer-prevention benefits.
One of the more interesting, surprising, and noteworthy nutritional facts about cabbage is that is has a great essential fatty acid profile. You don’t often think of cabbage as being a fatty food and in fact it is not, but it contains alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, which is an essential fatty acid that is not found in the body and must be acquired through diet. Studies have shown evidence that alpha-linolenic acid is related to lowering risk of cardiovascular disease. Alpha-linolenic acid is also thought to promote an anti-inflammatory environment in the body.
A healthy method to saute cabbage is heating 5 tablespoons of a vegetable or chicken broth, adding shredded cabbage, covering, and heating for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, and let the cabbage stand approximately 2 additional minutes, then transfer it to a bowl, and toss in your favorite light dressing.
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