10 Proven Health Benefits of Cabbage That You Need to Know About

1 – Is cabbage good for weight loss?

The 7 day cabbage soup diet plan

Cabbage is largely associated with weight loss because of the cabbage soup diet plan. The 7 day cabbage soup diet plan is a crash diet which requires eating large amounts of cabbage soup for a week.

The benefits of cabbage soup is that it limits calories, and can be a quick and effective method for losing weight. But the cabbage soup diet plan is nutritionally incomplete, is not sustainable, and should not be adhered to for more than a week at a time.

Does cabbage burn fat?

Contrary to some reports, cabbage does not actually burn body fat. Even though cabbage will not burn fat from your body, it’s still an ideal addition to any weight loss diet. Cabbage is low in calories and high in dietary fiber. The dietary fiber in cabbage will help to control appetite and keep blood sugar levels stable.

Nutritional value of cabbage (boiled) per 100g:

  • How many calories in cabbage – 23
  • How much protein in cabbage – 1.3g
  • How many carbs in cabbage – 6g
  • What is the fat content of cabbage – 0.1g

Nutrients in cabbage

Cabbage contains several important nutrients. Especially potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folic acid, calcium, biotin, manganese and magnesium. Red cabbage also contains anthocyanins. This is a phytochemical also found in Bermuda onions, beets, and blueberries. Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) is an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin K, and a good source of potassium, iron, folate, and fiber.

7 Day Cabbage Soup Diet Poh

2 – Cabbage juice for ulcers

One of the most extraordinary health benefits of cabbage was revealed when the effectiveness of cabbage juice for ulcers was first demonstrated in a small 1949 study.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
PMC: PMC1643665
The average healing time for 6 gastric ulcer patients consuming cabbage juice was just 7.3 days, compared to 42 days for patients receiving standard stomach ulcer treatment. The average healing time for 7 duodenal ulcer patients was only 10.4 days compared to 37 days average healing time in 62 patients receiving standard stomach ulcer treatment.

The anti-ulcer component of cabbage was at first referred to by the researchers as “vitamin U” (for ulcers), but was later identified as S-methylmethionine sulfonium chloride.2✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
PMC: PMC3283849
Vitamin U helps to boost mucin production, which is secreted by the mucous membranes, and assists in maintaining a protective layer on the surface of the stomach and esophagus.

Cabbage juice is also a good source of the antioxidant sulforaphane, which is an effective bactericide against Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that causes most peptic ulcers.

Other research has confirmed the benefits of juicing cabbage for treating peptic ulcers.3✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
PMID: 13276831

Is raw cabbage good for you?

Vitamin U is destroyed when heated, so it’s important that the cabbage is juiced raw for treating ulcers. Eating raw cabbage will also provide the same cabbage juice benefits for ulcers, although not as practical as drinking the cabbage juice.

How much cabbage juice for ulcers?

The participants of the 1949 study each drank 200ml of green cabbage juice 5 times throughout the day. Salt and pepper as well as tomato juice were used to add flavor, with 3 of the participants drinking a 75% cabbage juice and 25% celery juice mixture. The average time from all the study participants to heal was 9 days, with the fastest healing time 6 days and the longest 23 days.

3 – Cabbage and cancer

Cabbage is one of the most effective anti cancer foods. Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage are rich in phytochemicals known as glucosinolates. Glucosinolates break down into the anti-cancer compounds sulforaphane, isothiocyanates, and indole-3-carbinole (I3C).

Cruciferous veggies have more of these anticancer phytochemicals than any other veggies and are considered to be powerful cancer fighting vegetables.4✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
PMID: 8877066

One of the main dietary recommendations of the American Cancer Society to lower cancer risk is the inclusion of anti cancer foods such as cruciferous veggies in the diet.

Cabbage intake has been associated with a lower incidence of lung, colon, breast, and cervical cancer. Population studies have revealed that the greater the intake of vegetables from the cabbage family, the lower the rates of cancer.5✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
PMID: 17317210

One such study revealed that women who consumed 3 or more portions of cabbage each week were 72% less likely to get breast cancer.

Best way to cook cabbage for anti-cancer benefits

Cooking cabbage for long is not advisable, and is best prepared as quickly as possible for preserving its nutrients. Steamed cabbage or quickly boiled cabbage is best, and raw in salads and coleslaw is even better.

Microwaving cabbage is also not advisable as many of the enzymes necessary for converting the glucosinolates into anti-cancer compounds are destroyed if microwaved for too long.

4 – Cabbage benefits for skin

Vitamin C in cabbage

Half a cup of cabbage provides about 28 mg of vitamin C, which is a third of the recommended daily intake. Increasing dietary vitamin C can help to improve skin health. Research has shown an association between diets high in vitamin C and less wrinkling of the skin as well as better skin appearance.

Vitamin C plays an important part in collagen synthesis, which is needed for the extracellular skin stability, giving it structure and flexibility. A vitamin C deficiency can also result in scurvy, which manifests at first as rough dry skin.

Vitamin A in cabbage

Although in more modest amounts, cabbage also contains vitamin A. Vitamin A (retinol) is widely acknowledged as an important nutrient for healthy skin. Retinol is an antioxidant, and fights the free radical damage, helping to prevent wrinkling and sagging skin.

Topical retinol is also effective for the management of eczema and acne. Vitamin A deficiency can result in rough, dry skin, which can appear as rough bumps on the back of the arms.

5 – Cabbage for blood pressure

Healthy diet choices can be effective for the prevention of high blood pressure as well as the lowering of high blood pressure.

Potassium and blood pressure

Veggies high in potassium like cabbage are excellent additions to the diet to help prevent high blood pressure and cabbage is also a good food for high blood pressure reduction. Research has revealed a low potassium high blood pressure association and that blood pressure can be reduced significantly by increasing potassium intake

How much potassium do you need a day?

The average Western diet consists of too much sodium and not enough potassium with the majority of Americans getting about half of the recommended potassium amount of 4,700 mg a day. A 2-cup serving of cabbage provides approximately 12% of the recommended daily potassium intake.

How much is too much potassium?

For patients with kidney disorders, too much potassium can be harmful in. Too much potassium can accumulate as the kidneys are less able of removing potassium from the blood. High potassium is known as hyperkalemia and although there are not many hyperkalemia symptoms high levels of potassium can lead to a weak or irregular pulse and fainting.

6 – Cabbage and LDL cholesterol

Cabbage is a great source of soluble fiber with about 40% of the fiber being soluble fiber. Consuming 10 – 25 grams of soluble fiber each day is recommended as part of a diet for lowering cholesterol.

Soluble fiber and cholesterol

Cholesterol is essential for the proper functioning of the body, but elevated levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol can increase risk of heart disease. Research has found cabbage intake to be associated with a reduction in LDL cholesterol as well as oxidized LDL cholesterol, which is a known risk factor for development of atherosclerosis.

The soluble fiber in cabbage helps to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol by preventing its absorption into the blood by the binding of the soluble fiber with cholesterol in the gut. The liver makes use of cholesterol as a basic building block for producing bile acids which are molecules assisting with the digestion and absorption of fat.

The soluble fiber in cabbage can bind together with the bile acids in the digestive tract for excretion. When this happens, the excreted bile acids need to be replaced by the liver by drawing upon the existing cholesterol supply, which results in a reduction in cholesterol levels.

A meta-analysis of 67 studies revealed that individuals eating 2–10 grams of soluble fiber a day experienced a modest but significant reduction in LDL cholesterol levels of about 2.2 mg/deciliter.6✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
PMID: 9925120

Phytosterols and cholesterol

Cabbage also contains substances known as phytosterols, which are plant compounds structurally similar to cholesterol. Phytosterols lower LDL cholesterol by blocking the cholesterol absorption in the digestive tract. A phytosterol intake increase of 1 gram a day can lower LDL cholesterol levels by as much as 5%.7✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
PMID: 24780090

7 – Cabbage and brain health

Vitamin K in cabbage

Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin K, important for the metabolism of sphingolipids. Sphingolipids are an important class of lipids found in high concentrations in membranes of the brain cells.

Alterations in sphingolipid metabolism are associated with age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Studies have shown an association between increased intake of vitamin K and improved cognitive performance as well as less severe and fewer subjective memory complaints in older individuals.8✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
PMID: 26923488

One study found that individuals with early stage Alzheimer’s consumed considerably less vitamin K in comparison to a cognitively healthy control group.9✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
PMID: 19027415

B vitamins in cabbage

Cabbage is also a good source of multiple B vitamins, of which B12, B6 and B9 slow shrinkage of the brain by lowering homocysteine. High homocysteine levels increase the risk of cognitive impairment, brain shrinkage and dementia.10✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012244

The homocysteine amino acid occurs in the blood naturally and plays an important role in metabolism. It however becomes toxic when there is too much of it in the blood, and causes damage to the brain’s delicate blood vessels. The vitamins B12, B6 and B9 help in metabolizing homocysteine, which in turn reduces homocysteine levels in the bloodstream.

Apart from from homocysteine regulation, B vitamins are required for the functioning and producing of neurotransmitters, the chemicals relaying signals between brain neurons. B vitamins are also required for myelin maintenance, which is the fatty sheath surrounding the cells of the nerves. Vitamin B12 helps in promoting red blood cell development, which carry oxygen to the brain.

8 – Cabbage and bone health

Dietary intake of nutrients such as the calcium, magnesium and potassium found in cabbage are important to bone health. The bone formation process requires a constant and adequate supply of these nutrients, and a deficiency can increase risk of bone loss and osteoporosis.

Calcium and bone health

Cabbage is a good source of calcium with 1 cup of chopped cabbage providing about 35 mg of calcium. About 99% of bone tissue is made up of a calcium and collagen combination, which makes calcium the most important mineral for the health of the bones.

Potassium and bone health

Cabbage is one of the veggies high in potassium with 1 cup providing about 150 mg of potassium. Potassium reduces bone resorption, a natural process that allows bones to grow and heal, which increases the strength of the bones, but more bone is broken down than is built up in osteoporosis, which leads to fragility and fractures.

Research has shown that a higher intake of potassium helps to reduce the excretion of calcium and acid in urine, meaning that excess acid is neutralized and bone mineral is preserved.11✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
PMID: 25572045

Magnesium and bone health

Cabbage is a good source of magnesium with 1 cup of chopped cabbage providing about 10 mg of magnesium. Magnesium is essential for healthy bones as its needed for absorbing and transporting calcium. Research has indicated that magnesium deficiency can increase risk of osteoporosis and fragile bones.12✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
PMC: PMC3775240

Vitamin K and bone health

Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin K, with 1 cup providing about 67 µg of vitamin K (about 2 thirds of the recommended daily amount. The vitamin K in cabbage helps modify several bone matrix proteins. There is evidence that diets rich in vitamin K are associated with a lower risk of hip fracture.13✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
PMID: 11684396

9 – Cabbage and liver health

The compound indole-3-carbinol, which is derived from the breaking down of glucobrassicin, a naturally occurring compound found in cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables, plays an important role in detoxifying the liver.

It helps to increase the detoxification mechanisms of the body. It also improves the ability to detoxify and rid harmful hormones and chemicals from the body.14✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
PMC: PMC4499388
Indole-3-carbinol has also been shown to increase the rate at which estrogen is broken down by the liver by almost 50%.

Glucobrassicin is water soluble, meaning that this beneficial compound may be partially dissolved when cabbage is cooked in water. Steamed, roasted or baked cabbage is best for preserving indole-3-carbinol in cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables.

10 – Cabbage and eye health

Cabbage, especially red cabbage, is an excellent source of the antioxidant beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A (retinol) in the body. Vitamin A helps to improve vision and is needed for the health of your eyes.

Moderate vitamin A deficiency can result in “night blindness”. Severe vitamin A deficiency can result in dryness and opacity of the cornea.

History of cabbage

Cabbage belongs to the Brassicaceae family of vegetables. These include other vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale and cauliflower. There are over four hundred different varieties of cabbage to choose from. Some of the more popular varieties are red, green, savoy, bok choy, napa and Chinese cabbage.

The exact history of cabbage is difficult to trace, but it’s believed to have been domesticated before 1000 BC somewhere in Europe. The first pickled version of cabbage was made by soldiers in Mongolia and China. Pickled and fermented cabbage was taken by Hun and Mongol warriors to Europe.

Cabbage cultivation eventually spread from northern Europe into Poland, Germany, and Russia. The high vitamin C content of the fermented cabbage dish known as sauerkraut helped prevent scurvy for sailors. Early German settlers introduced cabbage and sauerkraut into the United States.

China, Poland, Japan and The Russian Federation are some of the leading producers of cabbage today.