In the delightful world of fruits and vegetables, red usually means healthy, and few can deny the health benefits of a shiny, red apple or freshly picked tomato. Red cabbage may not be the first red veggie that comes to mind, but this easy-to-find vegetable has some very convincing health properties that make it a good addition to the grocery cart. What are the health benefits of red cabbage?
Health Benefits of Red Cabbage: It Gives Cancer the Heave Ho
Red cabbage is a good source of phytonutrients that help to detoxify pollutants and other carginogens that most people are exposed to on a daily basis. Like other cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, it’s high in glucosinolates, compounds which are metabolized by the body to form powerful cancer fighting chemicals known as isothiocyanates. Isothiocyanates activate the P450 liver enzymes that break down carcinogens, allowing them to be safely eliminated from the body. People who consume high quantities of cruciferous vegetables have been shown to have a lower risk of certain types of cancer. Red cabbage is also a good source of indoles, compounds that may reduce the risk of breast cancer by altering estrogen metabolism.
Health Benefits of Red Cabbage: It’s high in Vitamins A and C
Vitamins A and C are vitamins with strong antioxidant properties and red cabbage is a good source of both, particularly vitamin C. One serving provides three-quarters of the daily recommended quantity of this vitamin which is important for maintaining healthy skin and connective tissue. Who says citrus fruits are the only good source of vitamin C?
Health Benefits of Red Cabbage: It’s a Real Diet Food
Red cabbage is a guilt-free food if you’re a calorie counter. One cup of red cabbage has under thirty fat-free calories. The relatively high fiber content of red cabbage makes it a filling and satisfying side dish. No wonder the cabbage soup diet was so popular!
Green cabbage may be healthy, but red cabbage is better. Would you believe that red cabbage has twice the vitamin C content of green cabbage? Plus, red cabbage is a rich source of anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid that gives red cabbage it’s deep red- purple coloration. There’s increasing evidence in animals that anthocyanins help to promote brain health as well as protect against cancer.
The Bottom Line?
There’s little doubt that red cabbage is one healthy vegetable, but the indigestible fiber in those crimson leaves can cause flatulence and may need to be eaten in moderation. Enjoy the many health benefits of red cabbage!