Cabbage first caught the attention of determined dieters back in the ‘80s with the rise of the pungently infamous Cabbage Soup Diet. While a diet of nothing but boiled cabbage for seven days is unsustainably extreme, insufficient nutritionally and hardly appetizing, don’t throw the baby out with the smelly bathwater just yet – when eaten in a well-balanced diet, cabbage is an excellent low-calorie weight loss food that lends tons of other incredible health benefits as well. It can be prepared in a large variety of unbelievably delicious dishes, is inexpensive, stores well, and is available throughout most of the year. Check out these delicious weight loss recipes featuring cabbage here.
Discover 6 reasons to go foraging in the cabbage patch of your local grocery store this winter, including weight loss and other surprising health benefits.
1. Helps with Winter Weight Loss
Cabbage is a complex carb that is low in fat, high in fiber and contains only 33 calories in 1 cup. Long-established research has shown that cabbage has the power to improve digestion and can actually help prevent and heal stomach ulcers. As a water-rich, fiber-rich and mineral-rich cruciferous veggie, cabbage helps to keep you regular and prevent water retention and bloating. It’s high vitamin C and sulphur content encourages detoxification of harmful toxins in the body which keeps your systems running smoothly and efficiently.
2. Regulates Blood Sugar & Insulin Levels
Red cabbage contains betalains, an anti-inflammatory nutrient that gives it its characteristic red color (as well as beets). Studies have shown that betalains can help to lower blood sugar and regulate insulin release.
3. Cabbage for Cholesterol & Blood Pressure
This superfood is a naturally effective cholesterol reducer. When you eat a fatty meal, your liver produces bile acids which aid with the absorption of the fat into your body. However, when you eat cabbage, the fiber components in the veggie bind with some of these bile acids, causing them to pass right out of the body instead, forcing your body to draw on some of the existing cholesterol in your blood to replace these lost bile acids. The effect is to lower your overall cholesterol levels.
Cabbage can also help to lower blood pressure due to its high potassium content, which helps to relax blood vessels and ease blood flow.
4. A+ for Antioxidant & Anti-inflammatory Content in Cabbage
Regular processes that go on inside your body, as well as exposure to toxins in our environment and foods, creates free radicals inside our bodies that bounce around and damage the vital cells inside our bodies. That’s why it’s important to regularly eat foods that are high in antioxidants, which are powerful substances that help to neutralize free radicals and prevent the cellular damage that can lead to illness, chronic diseases and even cancer. Cabbage contains an impressive array of powerful antioxidants, even among its cruciferous cousins, such as broccoli and Brussel sprouts. All types of cabbage have been found to be high in antioxidants, but red cabbage has been found to be especially high in particular antioxidants, which is what gives it that beautiful red hue.
Many of these anti-oxidants also have anti-inflammatory benefits, which help to prevent chronic inflammation (another risk factor in the development of cancer). All cabbage types contain a significant amount of anti-inflammatory compounds, but once again, red cabbage is found to be especially high.
5. The Anti-Cancer Crucifer
Aside from the protective effects of the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients contained in cabbage, this cancer-killing crucifer also contains another powerful group of compounds that helps fight cancer in a variety of ways, called glucosinolates. The glucosinolates in cabbage work in a number of different ways in the body, and have been found to help prevent a variety of cancers in various studies, such as bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer.
6. Beautify Your Skin with Cabbage
It’s said that cabbage has powerful beautifying effects on your skin. Many people drink vitamin-C-rich cabbage juice to help cleanse the skin and clear up acne and other skin problems such as psoriasis, eczema, rashes, wounds, insect bites and skin blemishes. Cabbage leaves are also packed with skin-healing sulphur compounds, which is why these leaves are often steamed and used in home-made face masks and poultices. Cabbage leaf poultices are pressed against effected skin areas to help clear up blemishes, remove dirt and toxins, and to improve and rejuvenate your complexion.