Cabbage: Properties and Benefits


Cabbage is a vegetable spread all over the world thanks also to its therapeutic properties recognized by medical research. Its regular consumption brings several health benefits. Let’s look at which

The cabbage is a very important foods because, thanks to its distinctive flavor, few calories and a lot of properties, it is healthy and suitable for inclusion in many recipes.

Cabbage: properties and benefits
Cabbage: properties and benefits

The cabbage belong to the family of Cruciferous  (the name comes from the four-leaf cross-shaped) varieties Brassica. The edible part of these plants is represented by the leaves, as in the case of cabbage, savoy cabbage, Chinese cabbage and Brussels sprouts.


The cabbages  are typical winter vegetables, season in which the quality is better and lower prices. However, they are available all year round, at higher prices. The broccoli and broccoli branched, both called broccoli, are two plants belonging to the family of cabbage. Their edible part is constituted by the inflorescences not yet ripe.

In addition to being a healthy foodcabbage can easily be added to your diet. It can be eaten both raw and cooked and consumed together with a wide range of dishes such as salads, stews, soups, meat and fish dishes. It is also an inexpensive vegetable to buy.

As we will see later, scientific research suggests that its therapeutic properties can prevent and treat a wide range of diseases.

Cabbages contain substances called phytosterols. These are plant compounds that reduce the bad cholesterol by blocking its absorption in the digestive tract. According to studies, increasing the intake of phytosterols by 1 gram per day reduces cholesterol by 5%. ( 1 )

Chemical composition for 100 gr of raw cabbage
Vitamin AIU98
Vitamin A, RAEmcg5
Vitamin Cmg36,6
Vitamin Emg0,15
Vitamin Jmg6,5
Vitamin Kmcg10,7
Beta Carotenemcg42
Lutein Zeaxantinamcg30

Source: Nutritionvalue

Amino acids: aspartic acid and glutamic acid, alanine, arginine, cystine, glycine, phenylalanine, proline, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, serine, tyrosine, tryptophan, valine and threonine.

To underline the presence in  cabbage  composed of antioxidants and indoles that are formed when the cell walls of these vegetables are broken either by cutting the knife or by chewing.


100 grams of  raw cabbage have a calorie intake of 25 kcal.

Cabbage: Properties and Benefits

Cabbage: properties and benefits


This vegetable has a good amount of insoluble fiber which is not broken down in the intestine. According to recent studies, insoluble fiber increases intestinal motility and keeps the digestive system healthy. ( 2 )

The sprouts also contain soluble fiber which has properties useful to the development of good bacteria in the gut. Studies suggest that soluble fiber is an excellent food for this kind of fiber. ( 3 )

Ideal for Weight Loss

The cabbage  has very few calories and is high in fiber. Their satiating properties make it ideal foods for low-calorie diets.

Heart Health

Red cabbage seems to bring the greatest health benefits to the heart. This property seems to be attributed to the anthocyanins, the pigments that give the typical color to the vegetable. These pigments have antioxidant properties and belong to the flavonoid family. ( 4 )

There are several studies that have found a link between the consumption of anthocyanin-rich foods and a reduced risk of heart disease. For example, a study was conducted which involved more than 93.000 women and which yielded interesting results. Indeed, it seems that women who consume more anthocyanin-rich foods have a lower risk of having a heart attack. ( 5 )

Another study involving more than 300,000 women gave similar results. Increasing the daily dose of flavonoids by 10 g per day reduced the risk of heart attack by 5%. The latest studies confirm that cabbage contains 36 types of anthocyanins with marked heart-friendly properties. ( 6 , 7 )

They Regulate the Pressure

Statistics inform us that hypertension affects around 1 billion people worldwide. This represents a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and stroke. Research suggests that increasing dietary potassium intake is effective for lowering blood pressure. ( 8 )

Medical science confirms that potassium is very important for regulating blood pressure. Its activity in fact contrasts that of salt. Among its benefits this mineral helps to expel the sodium through the urine and relax the walls of the blood vessels thus lowering the pressure. So if you want to keep your blood pressure under control, the advice is to consume more cabbage. ( 9 )

Anti Ulcer

Another property of cabbage  is the anti-ulcer property. In fact, they contain graphanate which is a substance that has been used for several years in medicines to treat ulcers. This compound acts as a reinforcer on the stomach mucosa, protecting it from acids.

In a study of 13 persons with peptic ulcer, fresh cabbage juice showed beneficial effects in healing ulcers. In these patients with duodenal ulcer the average healing time was 10,4 days compared to 37 days of traditional therapy. ( 10 )

Anticancer Properties

The most important aspect of cabbage is represented by the fact that regular consumption of these plants, according to the  latest medical research, can halve the risk of developing various types of cancer. Especially the lungs and colon.

A study conducted at the University of California of Santa Barbara reveals what is happening on a cellular level. Radishescabbage and broccoli contain some chemical compounds, called isothiocyanates. These compounds initiate a mechanism that is able to block the spread and proliferation of cancer cells.

Other research conducted in Japan has shown that the isothiocyanates found in cabbage and  broccoli are also able to block melanomas.

The antioxidant properties of this vegetable are one of its most appreciated virtues. Eating cabbage and other vegetables from the Cruciferous family regularly means effectively counteracting the effect of free radicals.

Cabbage: properties and benefits

A study conducted on Chinese women has shown how adding vegetables such as cabbage and related products can significantly reduce breast cancer. ( 11 )

This vegetable also has a moderate vitamin C content, which is a powerful antioxidant. In recent years, researchers have been studying this vitamin and its effects on cancer. ( 12 )

Its activity is aimed at protecting the body from damage caused by free radicals. Such damage, according to studies, would be the basis of the causes that give rise to tumors. ( 13 )

There are several scientific researches that show that a diet rich in vitamin C is associated with a lower risk of developing some cancers. In fact, one of these studies suggests that a daily increase of 10 mg of vitamin C decreases the risk of lung cancer by 7%. ( 14 , 15 )

The cruciferous vegetables also contain sulforaphane, a compound with anti-tumor properties. A Chinese study suggests that regular intake of cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage is inversely proportional to the risk of breast cancer. ( 16 )

Another study conducted on nurses found that high intakes of cruciferous vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of 33% of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. ( 17 )


The beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant found in this vegetable, seems to have preventive effects against the prostate cancer.

A study conducted in Seattle found that consuming 3 servings per week of cruciferous vegetables, including cabbage, resulted in a 41% reduction in prostate cancer. ( 18 )


Inflammation is a response of the organism that serves to protect the body from infections and facilitate its healing. Everyone happens to develop inflammatory states that generally last a few days. The problem arises when inflammation becomes chronic.

Studies have shown that chronic inflammation is the cause of many diseases, some very serious. Heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and even tumors are an example. ( 19 )

Scientific research has shown that cruciferous vegetables, including cabbage, contain antioxidants that can fight chronic inflammation. ( 20 )

A study involving 1.000 Chinese women found that those who ate more cruciferous vegetables had lower levels of inflammation than those who ate low quantities. ( 21 )

Cabbages contain an amino acid called glutamine whose activity has anti-inflammatory properties. By consuming cabbage you can reduce the symptoms of different types of inflammation. Joint pain, fever, skin irritation and allergies are an example.

Eye Health

The cabbage is a good source of beta-carotene, substance known for its activity antioxidant. Beta-carotene plays a preventive role against macular degeneration typical of old age.

Bone Health

All vegetables belonging to the Cruciferous family are a good source of minerals. Especially calcium, magnesium and potassium, three minerals very important for the protection of bones.

The cabbage is also a good source of vitamin K, an important vitamin for maintaining bone health. In particular, women seem to get the greatest bone benefits from a vitamin K diet. A Japanese study confirms this property of vitamin K and claims that its intake is an excellent method for preventing osteoporosis. ( 2223 )

To conclude, we can say that introducing  cabbage to our usual diet could bring benefits against the onset of various types of tumors. Colon, pancreas, uterus, throat, lungs, esophagus and stomach the affected parts. This information comes from the statements of scientists from the World Cancer Research Found .


As we know levels are too high in cholesterol bad LDL can create serious problems to heart health. The soluble fiber present in this vegetable has been shown to have beneficial effects on LDL cholesterol levels.

A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrates the benefits. In the experiment, people who ate 2 to 10 grams of soluble fiber per day experienced a decrease in LDL cholesterol levels. ( 24 )

Chemical analyzes show that about 40% of the fibers present in cabbage are soluble fibers. This vegetable also contains phytosterols , vegetable compounds that reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the digestive tract. ( 25 )

In some scientific experiments it has been found that increasing 1 gram of phytosterols per day reduces LDL cholesterol levels by up to 5%. ( 26 )


For now, tests have only been conducted on his rats, but the results bode well for future application on humans. In one study, red cabbage extract was shown to reduce blood glucose levels and restore kidney function in diabetic rats. ( 27 )

Cabbages on the Table

As we have seen, cabbages and other plants belonging to the Cruciferous family are renowned for their potential to reduce the risk of cancer. However, researchers now warn that cooking and boiling these vegetables could compromise their properties and health benefits.

Two researchers from the University of Warwick purchased cabbage and broccoli and carried out tests to evaluate the impact of different cooking methods.

Boiling was the cooking method with the greatest negative effects on the properties of cabbage and  broccoli. After half an hour of boiling, broccoli had lost 77% of their beneficial  properties. For cabbage, the percentage was around 65%. On the contrary, microwave cooking and steam cooking did not indicate significant losses.

It is best to avoid freezing  cabbage because freezing causes a loss of 30% of the glucosinate content.

Cabbage to Drink

Real panacea, raw cabbage juice , perhaps mixed with carrot juice with a little lemon, is a real invigorating in situations of extreme fatigue and vitamin deficiencies.

It brings benefits in situations of extreme nervousness and excessive irritability. It is useful to rebalance the conditions of the skin and scalp, to free the intestines from worms or parasites and in case of asthma and whooping cough.

Virtue and Properties of Cooked Cabbage

The cabbage cooked with the cooking water and possible addition of honey is very useful against voice lowering, colds, asthma and bronchitis. The only cooking water brings benefits in case of diarrhea and dysentery, but also in case of constipation. In the event of a hangover, to relieve the effects of the next day, a concentrated broth of cabbage is recommended, the effects are guaranteed.


The cabbage  was well known since ancient times. This vegetable was sacred to the Greeks and the Romans used it methodically to treat the most varied diseases. They even consumed it raw before the banquets to allow the body to better absorb alcohol.

With the passage of time the spread of  cabbage on the canteens, thanks to its  properties, has never ceased. For a long period of time it has been considered an ideal food for lean days.

The negative aspect of  cabbage  is represented by the bad smell that emanate during cooking. This happens because of the sulfur they contain. This can be alleviated by squeezing a lemon into the cooking water.

The cabbage is considered the national dish of Russia.

We are used to seeing white cabbage, but there are also purple, orange and green ones.

Around 600 BC it was the Celts who brought this vegetable from Asia to Europe. In 1.536, however, it was the French navigator Jacques Cartier who brought the cabbages to the Americas.

Although the idea of ​​vitamin C is often associated with oranges , as the fruit that contains the most, cabbage actually contains a higher percentage.

This vegetable was of great importance in Captain Cook’s famous first voyage. In fact, it seems that many crew members were saved from gangrene thanks to the compresses that the on-board doctor applied to them on the wounds.

Cabbages, Cosmetic Use

Cabbages can be the basis for an excellent regenerating face mask with oily skin and acne. The cabbage leaves, once pounded in a mortar and deposited on a gauze, must be placed on the face for at least 30 minutes.

At home, on the other hand, cabbage leaves are an excellent revive of the colors of the carpets. It is sufficient to pass a handful on the area of ​​the carpet to be treated.

An important compound called sulforaphane would be able to block the action of genes responsible for cellular aging. It would also be able to change the balance between oxidation and reduction reactions within the cell, which are often responsible for the formation of free radicals.

Tips and Contraindications

Beyond all their good  therapeutic properties , it would be advisable to encourage the consumption of cabbage  from childhood.

This would avoid the onset of annoying food intolerances in adulthood.

All vegetables belonging to the Cruciferous family interfere with the absorption of iodine. For this reason, it is not recommended to eat large quantities of cabbage and broccoli for those suffering from thyroid problems.

Cabbages: Properties and Benefits

Italian language version


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