Looking for more ways to lighten your load of calories and increase your vegetables? Try cabbage. Cabbage is an economical vegetable that comes in different colors. If prepared differently than the traditional “steamed” cabbage, it doesn’t smell up the house and can add crunch to your meals.
Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of fiber. Cabbage is also a source of vitamin K, folate, and potassium. Vitamin K is important for blood clotting after an injury. It also plays an important part in good bone health.
Like most vegetables, cabbage is low in calories, fat, and cholesterol. One cup of cabbage has only 18 calories.
It is a cruciferous vegetable and contains natural chemical compounds that may be helpful in the prevention of certain types of cancer. Many of these compounds have anti-tumor effects in animals.
The cruciferous vegetables — broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, to name a few — are rich in sulfur-containing compounds and other chemicals that do appear to have strong anti-cancer properties. They contain glucosinolates, which can be broken down by enzymes into isothiocyanates, and indoles, both of which appear to detoxify carcinogens.
Carcinogens are compounds that promote cancer by changing normal cells into cancer cells. High intakes of these vegetables have been associated with reduced risk of prostate, breast and colon cancer.
Cruciferous vegetables appear to provide some protection against the common cancers. The same compound that gives their unique smell also may protects us against cancer. Cabbage can also be considered a detox food.
Cabbage is inexpensive. It can be eaten raw in a salad or sandwich in place of lettuce. Cabbage can be eaten cooked as a side dish, or mixed with other foods as part of a main course. We like to stir fry it with kale. Add a little low sodium chicken broth, olive oil, garlic, ginger, turmeric and slivered almonds and the dish becomes anti-inflammatory as well as anti-carcinogenic.
Cabbage keeps well. The vitamin C lasts longer if cabbage is kept cold.
Refrigerate in a loosely sealed plastic bag. Cabbage heads stay fresh for 1-2 weeks. If the cooking smell bothers you, put a rinsed whole walnut in with the cabbage and the odor is eliminated.
The three common varieties of cabbage are green, red and savoy. Savoy cabbage forms a round head but has crinkled and curled leaves. Chopping red cabbage in salads is an economical way to add color and a whole lot of nutrition.
Try this recipe to add vegetable variety to your meals.
Winter Stir Fry
2 cups of chopped cabbage, your choice
2 cups of chopped kale
2/3 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon chopped garlic, or more
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon ginger
Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sautee garlic in olive oil. Add kale, cabbage and seasonings, cook until just tender. Enjoy!