Cabbage is a popular vegetable and, though many people may not be aware of all of the benefits, it contains many wonderful healing properties. It acts as medicine. During the middle ages, it was known as the “drug of the poor.”
Cabbage can be used both raw as well as cooked. Its outer leaves are generally green while the inner leaves are white. Vitamins are more abundant in the green leaves. This humble vegetable is a rich source of a number of phytonutrients which help boost our defence mechanisms, block the reaction of cancer-causing substances, detoxifies and eliminates harmful toxins and hormones, and stimulates production of antibodies to fight cancer.
Cabbage is easier to digest in its raw fresh form than when cooked. The longer it is cooked, the less digestible it becomes. Cabbage sprouts contain higher levels of nutrients, are delicate and easier to digest.
In selecting cabbages avoid buying ones that have been precut, either halved or shredded. The moment the cabbage is cut, it begins to lose its nutrient content. To store, keep the vegetable refrigerated in a perforated plastic bag to prevent loss of its vitamin C content.
Drinking cabbage juice allows the nutrients to be absorbed into the system much faster, cutting the absorption time down from hours to little more than 10 to 15 minutes. For best results, the juice should be taken in small amounts of about 100-150 ml (1/3 to ½ cup), three times a day on an empty stomach.
Health Benefits of Cabbage Juice
Prevention of cancer: Large studies have found that populations who consume lots of cabbage have a low rate of colon and liver cancer. This is believed to be due to the large amount of fiber in cabbage, which is essential for healthy bowel movement. Chemicals in cabbage are also believed to speed up the body’s metabolism of estrogen and therefore reduce breast, uterus and ovarian cancer. It is also often associated with a lower rate of lung, stomach and prostate cancer.
Arthritis: Cabbage juice is a great anti-inflammatory agent helping to rid the body of arthritis and other degenerative inflammatory diseases.
Asthma: Cabbage juice works wonders for asthma and even bronchitis, boosting the healing ability of the respiratory tract.
Slows aging: One of the health benefits of cabbage juice is its ability to slow down aging.
Prevents cataracts: Reduces the risk of cataracts.
Digestive system: The amino acid glutamine in cabbage juice is totally gentle and cleansing on the digestive system, detoxifying, healing, regenerating and repairing ulcers. It has the ability to cleanse the mucus membranes.
Cabbage juice helps protect the GI tract from gastric reflux.
Lowers serum cholesterol: Cabbage lowers cholesterol and is a powerful antioxidant. A Japanese study showed that people who drank cabbage juice drastically reduced their LDL or bad cholesterol.
Reduces risk of heart disease and stroke: It’s simple – lower cholesterol and you reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Lose weight: A substance in cabbage inhibits the conversion of sugar and other carbohydrates into fat, definitely a painless way of dieting! It detoxifies the liver.
Clears skin: It helps to heal acne.
Constipation: The slightly laxative effect of cabbage makes it effective in stimulating bowel movement. Eat uncooked cabbage, either on its own, or juiced. Cabbage juice contains lactic acid, which is a great disinfectant for the colon.
Prevents Alzheimer’s: Recent research has shown that eating cabbage (red only) is an effective way to prevent deterioration of short and long term memory. The antioxidant responsible for this is called anthocyanin and it reduces plaque on the brain and helps protect brain cells, thus can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Boosts immune function: An ingredient in cabbage called sulforaphane helps create antioxidants which fight infections within the body (along with eliminating cancer). A compound called histidine in cabbage is found to be useful in treating allergies and regulating the T-cells in the immune system.
Prevents cell damage: The phytonutrients in cabbage reduces the number of free radicals responsible for cell damage. They also encourage enzyme production which speeds up detoxification.
Relieves muscle soreness: Cabbage relieves soreness in muscles.
Eye health: History reveals that the Romans and Greeks drank white fresh cabbage to relieve sore or infected eyes.
Breast engorgement: Peel off the outer layers of cabbage, run it slightly under a rolling pin and cup it over the breasts as close to the skin as possible. Wear your maternity bra over the cabbage and leave till the cabbage leaves wither. This will soothe engorgement and is the preferred natural and cheaper alternative over taking drugs.
Skin wounds: Flatten layers of cabbage leaves with a rolling pin and wrap around affected areas of any wound, blisters, sores, skin eruptions (as in psoriasis), burns and ulcers. Keep in place with a bandage until the leaves turn yellow. Change the leaves and repeat until the wounds heal. In between changes, clean and dry wounds.
And lots more: Free radicals and uric acid, which are identified to be the main cause of rheumatism, gout, arthritis, renal calculi, skin diseases, eczema, hardening and de-colorization of skin, etc., are also removed from the body due to cabbage consumption.
Red Cabbage: Red cabbage has more phytonutrients than the green cabbage and thus helps fight off bacterial and viral infections. Red cabbage contains more vitamin C than green cabbage and also contains anthocyanin which is a great antioxidant.
What You Need to Know about Cabbage Juice
Compared to most vegetables, cabbage keeps extremely well. You can store it in the fridge or a cold place for at least two weeks. If it has been cut however, it will only last another two or three days. Try to avoid cutting it until you are ready to eat or juice it or the plentiful vitamins inside will begin to break down. Make sure the exterior leaves are thoroughly washed before juicing. Cabbage has an effect on iodine absorption, so be careful and ensure that you don’t suffer from thyroid disorders. Consider taking an iodine supplement if necessary.
Remember, cabbage juice may be diluted with water—4 parts water to 1 part cabbage juice or add it to other vegetable juices because cabbage juice is not very pleasant tasting.
Kaye Sehm, Back to Eden Newsletter. Autumn 2013, No. 54. P.O. Box 850, Lavington, NSW 2641 Australia.