Cabbage Can Be Harmful: Contraindications and Side Effects That Cannot be Ignored

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Cabbage is definitely on the list of the healthiest foods. Its biochemical composition is unique, as are its beneficial properties.

Cabbage is definitely on the list of the healthiest foods. Its biochemical composition is unique, as are its beneficial properties in the fight against certain diseases. Despite this, it also has contraindications and not the best side effects.

Cabbage, like any other product, should be consumed in moderation so that it brings you only benefits. There are also certain contraindications that should not be overused.

Who should not eat cabbage?


Some people may experience an allergic reaction to the cabbage family. In this case, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and even ordinary cabbage will be on the list of prohibited foods.


People with this disease should avoid eating cabbage. There are studies that prove the negative impact of cabbage on the thyroid gland: it can worsen the condition.

Surgical procedures and diabetes

Kale can affect glucose levels and interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgical procedures. So it’s best to stop eating cabbage at least 2 weeks before your planned surgery. That is why cabbage is also dangerous for diabetics.


People undergoing cancer treatment may need to limit their consumption of cabbage, as this vegetable can worsen diarrhea, which is also often caused by chemotherapy, due to its fiber content. If you are undergoing such treatment, consult your doctor about eating kale.

What are the risks of overeating cabbage?

This superfood can be dangerous if you overeat. Therefore, you need to be careful not to face side effects, which we will describe below.


Belching, abdominal discomfort and bloating are symptoms of eating too much raw cabbage. Flatulence is caused by a large amount of raffinose, an indigestible sugar that is part of the composition.


Green cabbage contains a lot of insoluble fiber, which increases the movement of waste in the digestive tract. Eating too much fiber can cause symptoms of diarrhea or block the intestines.

Blood clotting

Kale contains high amounts of vitamin K, a vitamin that helps blood clotting. Therefore, eating too much cabbage can interfere with blood-thinning medications. But a serving not exceeding two cups of green cabbage per day will provide the desired amount of vitamin K without causing negative effects.

Iodine deficiency

Cabbage can disrupt the thyroid gland even in a healthy person. Excessive consumption of cabbage causes iodine deficiency in the body, which disrupts the functioning of an important organ.

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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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