Notable Personality Factors:
Previously we crowned broccoli the “King of Cruciferous Veggies.” This week we turn our attention to red cabbage, the “Queen of Cruciferous.” Although cabbage is not quite as popular as broccoli — its royal cruciferous counterpart — the disease-fighting faculties of red cabbage (and cabbage in general) should not be overlooked. In fact, I like to think of red cabbage as a longevity food. It’s full of revitalizing phytonutrients and cancer combating antioxidants that protect the mind and body from aging and disease. Interestingly enough, these same nutrients that fortify our defenses against unnecessary aging and illness are also responsible for the plant’s vibrant reddish / purple pigment — nature’s way of grabbing our attention and helping us identify nutrient-rich foods full of nutritional and therapeutic benefits.
Therapeutic and Healing Powers:***
Like all cruciferous veggies, cabbage is best known for combating cancer. The cabbage plant, and red cabbage in particular, is full of cancer-fighting phytonutrients such as indoles and isothiocyanites that block cancerous cells from forming and help eliminate dangerous carcinogens from the body.
As an added benefit, red cabbage is also an excellent source of polyphenols. Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants that protect the body against free radicals, accelerated aging, and disease. Not only are polyphenols known for their preventive effects on cancer, but they are also being studied for their role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and neurodegenerative diseases.
It’s also important to note that red cabbage is a great source of vitamin A and vitamin C — two important antioxidants that boost the immune system and increase the body’s cancer-fighting capacity. Red cabbage has a nutritional edge over green cabbage in that red cabbage is a more concentrated source of polyphenols, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
In addition to helping prevent cancer, red cabbage is a great food for the detoxification and elimination of harmful chemicals and hormones found in food, water, and air pollutants. The vegetable’s waste removing abilities are particularly beneficial to the liver, the digestive tract, and the colon.
In addition to the wide range of phytonutrients and antioxidants mentioned above — namely the isothiocyanites, indoles, polyphenols, vitamin A, and vitamin C — red cabbage is a great source of fiber, vitamin K, and many B-vitamins such as folate, vitamin B1 and vitamin B6. It’s also a notable source of potassium, calcium, and a variety of other minerals that are essential for your health.
Selection and Care:
Select fresh, firm, crisp cabbages with compact heads, heavy for their size, and tightly wrapped leaves free of discoloration at the edges.
Optimal Use and Combining:
Red cabbage is a colorful, crunchy, and nutritious addition to any vegetable salad. In fact, adding red cabbage to your salad is a great way to make sure you have a wide variety of colors represented — a good indication that you are getting a plentiful supply of immune-boosting phytonutrients and antioxidants. Cabbage, cauliflower, and the rest of the cruciferous family mix well with beets, carrots, leafy greens, and other root vegetables. It’s best to eat red cabbage raw (or if you are going to cook it, steamed) to preserve the full range of life-giving nutrients.
***This article is not intended to treat or diagnose any type of health condition or disease. Any nutritional considerations for any health complication should be discussed with your physician or healthcare provider.