Red Cabbage: The Disease-Fighting, Gut-Healing Superfood

April 18, 2016

Just about everyone has eaten cabbage at one point or another in his or her life, whether as a New Year’s tradition or as part of the regular diet. But did you know that not all cabbage is the same? It’s true. Red cabbage is not the same as green cabbage, and I’m not just talking about color.

Red cabbage, also known as purple cabbage, is a cruciferous vegetable that’s delicious both raw and cooked. It’s often eaten raw in salads, steamed, braised or sauteed with other vegetables.

It’s also referenced as red kraut or blue kraut and can provide the much-needed benefits of probiotics in this form due to the fermentation process. In addition, the insoluble fiber from red cabbage is known to prevent constipation, lower the risk of developing diverticular disease and may help relieve the symptoms of some gastrointestinal conditions, such as IBS symptoms.

But that’s not all. Red cabbage benefits extend even further, as you’ll learn below — and why you want to include this tasty veggie in your rotation.

Red Cabbage Benefits

1. Boosts the Immune System

Red cabbage contains ever-so-important vitamin C, a crucial antioxidant needed in order for our bodies to have strong immune systems. It stimulates the activity of white blood cells, forming the first line of defense for the immune system. Nutrient-dense antioxidants such as vitamin C are known to have high antioxidant potency to assist in minimizing harmful effects of reactive species. As one of the top vitamin C foods on the planet, red cabbage is a major immune system booster.

The immune system is extremely vulnerable to oxidant and antioxidant balance, as uncontrolled free radical production can impair its function and defense mechanism. These free radicals can form in the body and promote tissue damage. However, antioxidants are the perfect defense mechanisms for the immune system and can help fight off intruders, including cancer. Additionally, vitamin C is important in the formation of collagen, which keeps our bodies and cells connected and solid.

Due in large part to its vitamin C content, red cabbage is a high-antioxidant food that fights free radical damage and strengthens the immune system.

2. Fights Inflammation and Arthritis

Red cabbage contains inflammation-fighting phytonutrients. A study published in Research in Pharmaceutical Science showed that when testing the effects of the consumption of extracts of cabbage on the immune response, there was a reduction in swelling.

Because inflammation can cause swelling and pain in the joints, such as with arthritis, eating a diet filled with anthocyanin-rich fruits and vegetables like red cabbage should be a part of your daily regimen. These type of anti-inflammatory foods help prevent and naturally treat arthritis and arthritic complications.

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