Raw cabbage is a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber that help protect your body. In addition, a raw cabbage diet offers phytochemicals that offer many health benefits. The vegetable is low in fat and calories which is why it is a popular ingredient in many fad diets. For example, the cabbage soup diet is a seven-day program that claims to help you lose weight. A healthier alternative is to add this nutritious vegetable to a well-balanced diet that includes other food groups.
Hundreds of varieties of cabbage are grown throughout the world but the most common three types include green, red and Savoy. Green cabbage has a dense head and dark to pale green outer leaves. Red cabbage is similar in to green cabbage but has ruby red to purple outer leaves. Its texture is tougher than green but it does contain more vitamin C. Savoy cabbage has a less compact head and has yellow-green leaves. Savoy cabbage contains a significant amount of beta-carotene. All cabbage types provide vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, manganese, magnesium, riboflavin and thiamin. In “Raw Energy,” author Stephanie Tourles writes that cooking, heating and processing vegetables kill the nutrients in foods. Eating cabbage raw ensures that the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients it offers are not destroyed through processing.
Prevention/Solution for Constipation
Constipation is a digestive system disorder that occurs when bowel movements are infrequent and hard to pass. The disorder is often linked to a deficiency of fiber in your diet. The Reader’s Digest Association suggests eating 20 to 35 grams of daily fiber to aid the body in producing soft stools and promoting regularity. Raw cabbage contains about three grams of dietary fiber per 3-oz. serving. Slowly increase your intake of fiber through raw cabbage otherwise it can cause bloating and flatulence.
Function of Anthocyanins
Red or purple cabbage is a source of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are pigment molecules that give berries and cabbage their color. Anthoyanins belong to a group of plant compounds called flavonoids. In “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth,” Dr. Jonny Bowden says flavonoids have powerful antioxidant properties. This means that red cabbage may fight free radicals and protect you against the damages produced by other harmful toxins. These damaging toxins are often linked to inflammation, cardiovascular disease and premature aging.
Function of Phytochemicals
Raw cabbage is loaded with phytochemicals such as dithiolethiones, isothiocynates and sulforaphane. In “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth,” Dr. Jonny Bowden states that sulforaphane produces certain enzymes that fight damaging free radicals and carcinogens. This can help reduce your risk of prostate, lung, bladder and breast cancers. Phytochemicals found in raw cabbage can help the immune system by eliminating bad bacteria and improving the circulation of red blood cells.
Significance of Vitamin C
Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage are excellent sources of vitamin C or ascorbic acid. According to the University of California at Berkeley, vitamin C plays a role in healing wounds, maintaining collage and promoting healthy gums and teeth. An adequate intake of vitamin C is also beneficial in protecting against cancers of the stomach and esophagus. Vitamin C is thought to prevent and cure the common cold. However, no studies have consistently proved this claim.
- "Foods That Harm Foods That Heal"; The Reader's Digest Association; 1997"
- "Raw Energy"; Stephanie Tourles; 2009
- "The Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition"; The University of California at Berkeley; 1992
Yasser Bailey resides in Austin and began writing articles in 2003. Her articles have been published in the University of Texas campus newspaper and "Self" magazine. She received her Bachelor of Arts in business and government from the University of Texas at Austin. Bailey also just completed her Master of Arts in educational leadership from the University of Texas at Arlington.