The Health Benefits of Red Cabbage

Whether eaten raw or cooked, cabbage is chock full of health-boosting vitamins and minerals. It’s also a good source of probiotics that aid digestion and boost your immune system. Plus, it’s low in calories, making it a staple for weight loss. Its phytochemicals, particularly anthocyanins and flavonoids, give it a wide range of health benefits.

Research has shown that the anti-inflammatory compounds in red cabbage help reduce joint pain and inflammation, and may even slow the onset of arthritis. The same compounds also suppress the growth of cancer cells and may protect against heart disease. The anthocyanins in cabbage also help lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels, which can further prevent heart disease.

Red cabbage is high in vitamin C, which helps strengthen your immune system and maintain healthy skin. It’s also rich in dietary fiber, both soluble and insoluble, which aids digestion and keeps your gut healthy by feeding the friendly microorganisms that live inside your stomach. These bacteria create short-chain fatty acids like butyrate and propionate, which promote good gut health by decreasing your risk of constipation.

Cabbage is also a great source of calcium and vitamin K, which are critical for bone health. Vitamin K helps your body absorb and keep calcium in your bones, while vitamin C helps your body metabolize iron and build strong connective tissue. Research has also found that the anthocyanins in cabbage can help reduce memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease by lowering your risk of developing amyloid plaque, which is associated with these conditions.

Another way to reap the benefits of red cabbage is to consume it fermented, such as in the popular dishes sauerkraut and kimchi. These foods are loaded with beneficial probiotics that can help your digestive system function at its best, while helping you fight off infections and inflammation.

One thing to remember about red cabbage is that it is a sensitive vegetable and loses most of its nutritional value when heated. In fact, researchers who compared the effects of steaming, boiling, microwaving and stir-frying cabbage on its anthocyanin content found that all cooking methods significantly reduced the anthocyanins. However, lightly braising cabbage with ingredients like apple or port, sherry or wine can help preserve these nutrients.

This study aimed to investigate the efficacy of hydroalcoholic extract of red cabbage (HAE) and its fractions in terms of sleep-prolonging effect and toxicity in mice. The HAE and its fractions were injected into the mice, and their sleep duration was recorded. In addition, the cellular toxicity of HAE and its fractions was evaluated using an in vitro assay. The results showed that the ethyl acetate fraction of HAE potentiated pentobarbital-induced hypnosis without diminishing the viability of the neuronal cells, suggesting that it is not toxic. In addition, HAE and its ethyl acetate fraction significantly prolonged the sleep time of mice.