Cabbage delivers several nutritional benefits that have a positive impact on your body. It can be enjoyed raw in salads or side dishes or cooked as part of the main meal. An article in the June 2008 issue of "Nutrition Research" points out that the antioxidant health-promoting properties of steamed cabbage are more available to the body than those of raw or boiled cabbage. No matter how you choose to enjoy cabbage, adding it to your diet benefits your health.
Eating cabbage significantly increases your vitamin C intake. Needed for healthy bones, skin, mucous membranes and the immune system, C is water soluble, which means it is not stored in the body and needs to be replaced daily. According to the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, vitamin C may help fend off chronic illnesses such as heart disease and cancer. A 1/2-cup serving of cooked cabbage contains 28.1 mg of C, or 47 percent of the recommended daily intake, RDI, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database. A 1-cup serving of raw cabbage contains 32.6 mg, or 54 percent of the RDI. Whether you eat it raw or cooked, cabbage makes a significant contribution to your daily vitamin C goal.
Cabbage is extremely high in vitamin K, and while this is an advantage for most people it may be a disadvantage for others. Known as the clotting vitamin, K is responsible for making sure you don't bleed to death when you suffer a cut or injury. Other advantages of vitamin K, as reported in an article in the medical journal "PM&R," include its role in preventing osteoporosis, bone fractures, heart disease and stroke. Unfortunately, if you have a clotting disorder or are on blood-thinning medications, eating too much cabbage may cause your medication to not work properly. If you are on such medications, speak to your physician before adding cabbage to your diet on a regular basis. A 1/2-cup serving of cooked cabbage contains 81.5 mcg of vitamin K or 102 percent of the RDI.
Cabbage contains flavonoid compounds that help protect the body from cancer and other diseases, according to researchers at the University of Seville. Published in the April 2011 issue of "Mini Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry," their review says cabbage contains kaempferol, an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-allergenic and antioxidant compound that reduces the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Another protective compound is sulforaphane, which also helps protect the body from oxidative damage, heart disease, cancer and diabetes, according to a report in the December 1, 2010 issue of "Experimental and Toxicologic Pathology."
A 1/2-cup serving of cooked cabbage contains only 22 calories, 5 carbohydrates and no fat, making it a safe addition to any diet. Apart from C and K, other vitamins in cabbage include the B vitamin family, with the exception of B-12, and traces of A and E. Minerals found in the same serving are manganese, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper and selenium. Cabbage also contains a fair amount of fiber, which helps fill you up and aids with weight loss. With all of these advantages, you may want to find a way to add cabbage to your dietary routine.