Think Health, Think Red Cabbage
Indeed, this much maligned vegetable is rich in vitamins and minerals and packed with everything else that is good for your body, mind and heart, discovers UpperCrust
Red cabbage is a hidden gem. It may not appeal to all your taste buds but this does not make it a vegetable you can easily ignore. In fact, given the right recipe, it can add a delightful crunch to your diet.
Its use has been known since ancient times. The vegetable was used in salads by the ancient Greeks and Romans. The Romans would use the ashes of the burnt vegetable along with blended lard to make a widely used ointment for the disinfection of wounds.
Hardy and easy to grow, it is almost universally available in all countries and cultures. Cabbage belongs to the all important family of cruciferous vegetables. The members of this family of vegetables are so named for their cross shaped (crucifer) flower petals.
Here are some of the lesser known facts about this widely utilised and unappreciated vegetable. Beginning right from its colour; the vegetable varies in colour from a bright red to a purplish colour. The plant changes its colour according to the acid content of the soil it is growing in. It reportedly turns red in acidic soil and a blue in basic soil! This is why the very same plant is known by different colours in various regions. It is this property that makes cabbage juice useful as a pH indicator in laboratories. Many scientists attribute this vegetable with scientific advances based on its indicator abilities.
The cabbage is low in calories and is a rich source of vitamins and minerals.
It is a phenomenal source of Vitamin C. This vitamin helps in anti-oxidation which is an important process that helps maintain the skin and naturally delays aging. The vitamin plays an important role in burning of fat, prevents the occurrence of scurvy and participates in several vital enzymatic reactions. The outer leaves are a good source of vitamin E, making it good for the complexion.
Keeping that 20-20 vision
Red cabbage is also known to be a rich source of vitamin A. The vitamin is essential for the protection of the epidermis and maintains clear eye sight. It keeps the skin from becoming scaly and helps preserve a smooth texture especially during the harsh months of winter.
The vegetable provides vitamin E which is a fat soluble vitamin, acts as an anti-oxidant that protect cells against the effects of free radicals, which are potentially damaging by-products of energy metabolism. Vitamin E plays a role in building immunity, DNA repair, and other metabolic processes. Cabbage boosts the immune system's ability to produce more antibodies.
Source of Vitamin B
All those suffering from beriberi, cracked lips, insomnia, acne or depression should consume at least a minimum dosage of vitamin B that is found in abundance in the red cabbage. Vitamin B keeps nerve endings healthy and intact; it also boosts metabolic energy. All eight types of vitamin B sustain muscle tone and enhance immunity. It also helps in promoting cell growth and cell division and in preventing anaemia.
Cleanses the body
Red cabbage, like a lot of other vegetables, provides large quantities of sulphur and other minerals that work in part as cleansing agents for
the digestive system. Raw red cabbage cleans the waste from the stomach and upper bowels, which improves digestion and reduces constipation
Research has proved that red cabbage has healthy amounts of certain minerals called indoles that help in role in the activation and stabilization of the detoxification and anti-oxidant processes of the human body. Indoles also reduce the risk of breast cancer and participate in the production and utilization of estrogen in the body, an important female hormone. The minerals play an important part in prevention of other cancers, notably of the lungs, stomach and colon.
Like many other vegetables of all colours, the "reds" are a good source of calcium. Calcium is an essential mineral at every age for the strengthening of bones and teeth. It can help overcome osteoporosis.
Reduces Alzheimer's risk
In a new study red cabbage was seen to reduce the build-up of certain plaques in the brain that could cause Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia. Some polyphenols in red cabbage seem to offer the body protection against the disease. Red cabbage, unlike its lighter counterparts, has a higher concentration of natural anthocyanins that offer the body immunity against Alzheimer's.
Red cabbage is believed to have therapeutic value and it plays a major role in the inhibition of infections and ulcers. The juice has been used as a treatment for many years. It is believed that the high concentration of the amino acids in the juice is responsible for this health giving property. It provides nutrients to the cells that line the small intestine and the stomach, which could be why they are responsible at treating ulcer conditions.