It’s St. Patty’s Day! Chances are you are going to consume cabbage today. But what are the benefits, if any, associated with cabbage? Well, we’re glad you asked. Below are 3 benfits associated with eating cabbage…. without the liquor, of course!
1. It’s packed with goodness. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, one half cup of shredded cabbage (75 grams) contains 17 calories, 4 grams of carbohydrate (including 1 gram of fiber and 2 grams of sugar) and 1 gram of protein. Eating a half-cup of cooked cabbage would provide 47% of your vitamin C needs for the day. It also provides 102% of vitamin K, 8% of manganese, 6% of folate and lesser amounts of vitamin B-6, calcium, potassium and thiamin.
2. It helps people undergoing radiation treatments. A compound found in cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables known as 3,3′-diindolylmethane (DIM) has been shown to protect against the harmful effects of radiation therapy. In a study conducted at Georgetown University, rats were given a lethal dose of radiation. Some were left untreated, and others were treated with a daily injection of DIM daily for two weeks. All the untreated rats died, but over 50% of those receiving the DIM remained alive at the 30-day mark. The same researchers did the experiment on mice and found similar results. They were able to determine that the DIM-treated mice have higher counts or red and white blood cells and blood platelets, which radiation therapy often diminishes. It is well-known that DIM has protective effects against cancer, but this study shows there is also hope for using it as a shield to protect healthy tissues during cancer treatment in the future.
3. It works miracles for your digestive system. A popular way to consume cabbage is in a fermented form such as sauerkraut and kimchi. Chocked full of probiotics, fermented foods are one of the best things you can consume for your immune and digestive systems. Healthy microbes generate an acidic environment to preserve and develop flavor and enzymes in fermentation that make vitamins and minerals easier to absorb.
The fiber and water content in cabbage also helps to prevent constipation and maintain a healthy digestive tract. Eating adequate fiber promotes regularity, which is crucial for the daily excretion toxins through the bile and stool. Recent studies have shown that dietary fiber may even play a role in regulating the immune system and inflammation, consequently decreasing the risk of inflammation-related conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity.