RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Whether you opt for pale-green cabbage or the purplish red variety—or even if you go for wrinkly Savoy or barrel-shaped Napa—you’re making a flavorful and healthy choice when you try our recipes for cabbage. The vegetable is full of fiber (Savoy has the most, at 4 grams per cup) and is an excellent source of vitamins C and K. It’s also packed with phytonutrients, including beta-carotene and sulforaphane. Researchers at the University of Minnesota found that veggies in the cabbage family may lessen heart inflammation that can lead to arterial blockage. And eating an average of four weekly servings of cruciferous vegetables like cabbage reduced the risk of dying from any disease by 26 percent among 6,100 people studied for 28 years.
As for the sulforaphane that’s found in cabbage, it reduces your risk of cancer by increasing your body's production of enzymes that fight cell-damaging free radicals. Stanford University research indicates that sulforaphane increases your levels of these cancer-fighting enzymes more than any other phytonutrient.
Our mix of recipes for cabbage includes both cooked and uncooked forms of the vegetable. Eat this cancer-fighter cooked, but do enjoy it raw when you can; people who ate uncooked cabbage, broccoli, or cauliflower a minimum of three times per month were 40 percent less likely to develop bladder cancer when compared to those who ate them less frequently, according to scientists at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY. And there’s good news for sauerkraut lovers: Fermenting cabbage, which is already rich in phytochemicals, releases isothiocyanates, compounds that are thought to protect cells from cancer, according to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Read on to see tips for buying and prepping cabbage, plus recipes like Rich and Creamy Coleslaw and Hearty Red Cabbage Soup.
Published on: February 1, 2010
Updated on: March 11, 2010