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CabbageCabbage

 

BENEFITS

An excellent source of vitamin C

Low in calories and high in fiber.

May help prevent colon cancer and malignancies stimulated by estrogen.

 

DRAWBACKS

Can cause bloating and flatulence.

Gives off strong, somewhat unpleasant sulfurous odor when cooked.

Coleslaw can be high in calories; sauerkraut is loaded with salt.

 

Although cabbage is not quite as nutritious as broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower, it does outrank these plant relatives in consumption. In fact, in some parts of the world, cabbage consumption is on a par with that of potatoes. Very high in fiber and very low in calories (a cup of chopped, raw green cabbage contains a meager 20 calories ), the lowly cabbage is a rich source of vitamin C (with 33 mg per cup). Red cabbage contains almost twice as much vitamin C as the green cabbage, while the green variety contains twice as much folate as the red; both red and green cabbages contribute potassium and fiber. Savoy cabbage is a good source of beta carotene.

 

Cabbage is rich in cancer-fighting compounds

Cabbages are members of the cruciferous family of vegetables, a family associated with numerous health benefits. It has long been known that people who eat large amounts of cabbage enjoy a low rate of colon cancer. This protective effect is assumed to come from bioflavonoids, indoles, monoterpenes, and other plant chemicals that inhibit tumor growth and protect cells against damage from free radicals, those unstable molecules released when the body uses oxygen. Some o thee chemicals also peed up the body's metabolism of estrogen, which may explain why women whose diets provide ample amounts of cabbage and related vegetables have a reduced incidence of breast cancer. This chemical action may also protect against cancers of the uterus and ovaries. Of particular interest inindole-3-carbinol, a cabbage component that in animal studies had reduced the risk of cancer. Still, advice to take this compound in pill form, as advocated by some supplement manufacturers, would appear to be premature.

 

Preparation Methods

Cabbage can be served raw as coleslaw, cooked, or pickled into sauerkaraut. Commercial coleslaw is high in calories (about 200 per cup) because it has large amounts of mayonnaise. You can reduce calories by suing low-fat yogurt, vinegar, and oil. Sauerkaraut is soaked in salt brine and then fermented; to lower the sodium content, rinse it before heating. Sulfites are often used to preserve cabbage color; asthma sufferers or anyone allergic to sulfites should check package labels.

 

Steaming and stir-frying preserves most nutrients. Don't use aluminum cookware, which causes a chemical reaction that discolors the vegetable and alters its flavor.

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