Up until recently, cabbage has not been on my list of fav foods. In fact, when we raced our sailboat to Hawaii many years ago, I was dismayed that cabbage was one of the only types of produce that lasted the 17-day trip.
I know there are many health benefits of cabbage, but other than loving sauerkraut, I just never cared for cabbage.
That all changed about six months ago when my friend Carol made an AMAZING cabbage salad. I ate a bit just to be polite and was shocked at how much I actually loved it! What was her secret and what can cabbage do for you?
Health Benefits of Cabbage
- Cabbage (all types) are packed with cancer-fighting phytonutrients. But it appears that there may be a bit more of those helpful phytochemicals in red cabbage. One of the their benefits of these phytochemicals is to neutralize estrogen in a good way, helping to protect against breast cancer. Studies have also shown these phytochemicals protect us against pesticides and other toxins, as well as fight off prostate and other cancers.
- Cabbage is very high in vitamins. A one-cup serving contains about 75% of your daily vitamin K, and 65% of your daily vitamin C. There are a few benefits to cooking it over eating it raw, but if cooked it should be steamed not microwaved as microwaving can destroy the beneficial nutrients.
- Cabbage is high in minerals. It contains good amounts of calcium, magnesium and potassium. And one cup cooked also provides 4gm of fiber.
- Cabbage is a powerful anti-oxidant. According to 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, one study showed the anti-oxidant properties of red cabbage to be more powerful than any other plant, fighting off free-radicals and protecting us from toxins.
- Cabbage is very anti-inflammatory. Anthocyanins, phytonutrients found in cabbage, are one of the top anti-inflammatory compounds making cabbage a great fighter of inflammation too.
- Cabbage supports the digestive tract. It is packed with phytonutrients like glucosinolates and the amino acid glutamine, which support the intestines and help regulate gut bacteria.
So, what was it about Carol’s Cabbage Salad that made me actually love cabbage now? The secret is in the salt. The salt helps to drain out some of the moisture from the cabbage and leave it crispier. It also helps to remove some of the bitter bite that cabbage can have.
Carol’s Cabbage Salad
½ red cabbage, shredded
¼ cup olive oil (or more, to thoroughly coat all cabbage)
2 tsp salt
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup sunflower seeds
Shred and salt the cabbage and leave it in a colander to drain for about an hour. Squeeze the excess moisture out of the cabbage and put it in a salad bowl. Add the olive oil and toss well until all cabbage is coated in oil. Add ¼ cup raisins and ¼ cup sunflower seeds (confession, I added these two ingredients to the recipe, they weren’t in Carol’s original.) Toss well and let sit for about 30-60 minutes for flavors to mix.
I hope if you aren’t a huge cabbage fan (like I wasn’t) you will at least give this salad a try. It just might change your mind. Your tastebuds and your body will thank you. I now eat this salad 2-3 times a week.
Please leave a comment to let me know what you think.