Our Humble Cabbage

Our ever humble cabbage! There they are in the vegetable shop, always available and cheap to buy. Did you know there are amazing health benefits to be gained by eating the humble cabbage? In fact that little round cabbage can work miracles in the human body!

Cabbage has long been known for it’s health benefits. In fact, it is probably only the last 50 years or so that we seem to have forgotten about how miraculous some of our foods are in their ability to heal our bodies. Too many medications flaunted at us by the media, too many distractions from the truth of the human body and how our foods can heal us. Let’s get back to basics and take control of our health, learn how to use foods, herbs and spices to heal our body.

Cabbage has an interesting history. Originally believed to look more like kale as the leaves didn’t form a round head that we see today.  It is not really clear as to where or when the round cabbage was developed, however it has been used as both a food and a medicine as far back as 600 B.C.   Ancient Greeks and Romans used it to treat many health conditions. Cabbage was grown throughout Europe, from Russia to Germany. Sauerkraut of course, a well know health food and a staple food in Germany. The Italians are credited with developing the Savoy cabbage that we know today.  Today cabbage is grown all around the world, and China is one of the largest growers.

There are three main types of cabbage that are available all year around. The green cabbage, the red cabbage and the savoy cabbage. Red cabbage has some extra nutrient value, some studies have shown that 100g of red cabbage has 6 times the amount of  health benefits over green cabbage, and around 8 times more vitamin c than the green cabbage.

The health benefits of cabbage

Cabbage is a source of vitamin C and vitamin K. It contains good levels of manganese, folate, iron, tryptophan, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin B6, vitamin B5, vitamin B3, vitamin B2, vitamin B1, vitamin A, potassium, molybdenum, calcium, sulphur and sodium. It is a fantastic source of fiber.

Cabbage is very low in calories, 1 cup has only 40 calories. Being a high fiber food, it is great for constipation. Cabbage has the ability to bind with bile acids when fats are consumed, which some studies have shown can help to lower cholesterol. Cabbage is very well know for  the ability to help in the healing of  stomach ulcers. It has been known to regulate some of the gut bacteria, in particular Helicobactor pylori, which are known to trigger stomach ulcers. Cabbage is thought to lower the risk of several cancers, and there have been many research studies that do support the healing properties of cabbage. The sulphur in cabbage is valuable in treating fungus, so I always get my patients that have any oral thrush to have some cabbage juice or just eat some cabbage each day for 3 weeks. It works a treat. Also anyone with gastris can be helped by consuming cabbage.

One of the best health benefits that I really like is the ability of cabbage to help prevent mastitis or breast infections for breastfeeding Mums. Keep some leaves frozen so they are always on hand. Just bruise the leaves, and place inside the bra over the area of redness or infection, and leave until the leaves turn yellow. Repeat until the breast is no longer sore. Catching a breast soreness, and hardness or redness in the early stages is clearly advantageous and may be enough to prevent your needing any drug therapy. Obviously if the infection is too advanced you may need to see a doctor.

Overall, our humble, always available cabbage is an amazing vegetable.