Cabbage Vegetables: The Varieties And The Health Aspects

Cabbage is a very versatile and extremely healthy vegetable. It has active ingredients that inhibit inflammation or protect against cancer. Find out from us what distinguishes the different cabbage varieties and what medicinal potential cabbage has.

The healthy cabbage

Cabbage (Brassica) belongs to the cruciferous family, regardless of whether it is cauliflower, broccoli, kale, white cabbage, or savoy cabbage. Especially the cruciferous plants and thus also our cabbage varieties are known for their enormously healthy properties, especially in the prevention of cancer and chronic inflammatory diseases.

However, the group (botanical: genus) of cabbage plants also includes plants that not everyone would associate with cabbage, such as rapeseed or brown and black mustard. (However, the popular mustard paste is usually made from yellow mustard mixed with some brown or black mustard, depending on how hot you want it to be.)

The cruciferous plants, on the other hand, are an impressive family that unites up to 4,130 plant species worldwide. These include delicate wild plants such as the shepherd’s purse as well as horseradish, rocket, radish, or even the representatives of the cabbage genus.

There are many types of cabbage

There are a total of 44 types of cabbage, including countless varieties. We would like to introduce you to five of the 44 types of cabbage in more detail:

  • Brown mustard originally comes from Asia. While the leaves and flowers can be eaten raw or cooked, the oil-rich seeds serve as a spice and are used in the production of table mustard (including Dijon mustard).
  • Black mustard originated in the Mediterranean region and has been considered a medicinal plant for thousands of years. B. is used in bronchitis or rheumatic diseases. The seeds add flavor to the kitchen. They too can help make mustard.
  • Rapeseed is also an important crop from the Mediterranean region, and rapeseed oil is extracted from the seeds. Due to its bitter taste, this was once used primarily as fuel for oil lamps. In the meantime, however, there are varieties that hardly contain the erucic acid responsible for the bitterness.
  • Rapeseed was already cultivated in the Neolithic Age, today numerous varieties and subspecies are used as fodder, oil, and vegetable plants. These include turnips, Chinese cabbage, or pak choi.
  • As the name suggests, cabbage is the type of cabbage that richly covers our table with all kinds of vegetables. Whether head cabbage, broccoli, or kale: over time, more and more varieties have emerged since all types of cabbage can be crossed with each other. Cabbage vegetables not only taste delicious but also have a healing character.

This is how the many varieties of cabbage came about

According to scientists, wild cabbage (Brassica oleracea L.) is the ancestor of cabbage (Brassica oleracea). The wild form was cultivated thousands of years ago but is still used today, e.g. B. found in the Mediterranean and on Helgoland. Wild cabbage looks quite similar to kale, but how can Brussels sprouts or cauliflower be related to it?

The magic word is mutation – a sudden, random genetic change. So it is e.g. B. in kale it is a leaf mutation, in head cabbage it is a mutation in the main shoot, in Brussels sprouts, it is a mutation in the side shoot and in cauliflower, it is a flower mutation.

But the hand of man also had an influence on the creation of the varieties. For a long time, breeding took place exclusively through selection, from the 19th century it was carried out methodically in the form of new or improved breeding. And this is how new cabbage varieties such as the Flower Sprout, a cross between green and Brussels sprouts, are still being created today.

Varieties of cabbage

You probably already know many varieties of cabbage. In addition to these popular cabbage vegetables, there are also three less well-known ones, such as pulp cabbage or palm cabbage.

  • Green cabbage – also known as spring cabbage, brown cabbage, or curly cabbage – was already highly valued in ancient times. Today, the typical winter vegetable is eaten primarily in Northern Europe. This is evidenced by the traditional kale meal, an old custom that is celebrated every year. In addition to traditional dishes such as cabbage and Pinkel (sausage), kale is nowadays also enjoyed in a modern and very healthy way, e.g. B. in green smoothies.
  • Cauliflower (Romanesco) has been grown throughout Europe since the 16th century and is one of the most popular varieties of cabbage in Europe today. It is usually boiled and prepared heartily, for example with a lot of hollandaise sauce. It is healthier when you blanch it or prepare it raw. Green Romanesco is a variant of cauliflower.
  • Brussels sprouts were grown in Belgium in the 16th century but did not become established in Europe until the 19th century. The tart-tasting florets are mainly harvested in November and December and are part of many winter dishes.
    For a long time, broccoli was only known in Italy and was brought to France by Caterina de’ Medici in the 16th century. In Germany, the flowering vegetable was only able to make a name for itself in the 20th century. Today, broccoli is grown worldwide and is one of the healthiest varieties of cabbage.
  • The head cabbage impresses with its variety, which is demonstrated by the different variants – savoy cabbage, white, pointed, and red cabbage. They all have closed heads in common, but there are also differences in terms of shape, size, color, leaf structure, and use in the kitchen. Whether it’s ribbed with sauerkraut, creamed savoy cabbage, or red cabbage with dumplings: dishes with head cabbage are so widespread and popular in Germany that they are regarded as Germany’s national vegetable. No less hearty but vegan cabbage dishes can be found in our cooking studio.
  • Although kohlrabi originally comes from the Mediterranean region, it has been eaten mainly in German-speaking countries since the 19th century. This has gone so far that even the English, Americans, Russians, and Japanese call the vegetable kohlrabi. The young leaves and tubers are an integral part of raw food cuisine, but they also taste great in soups, in a casserole, or as a puree.
  • The Markstammkohl is also a typical German vegetable that is mainly grown in Brandenburg. For a long time, it was only used as animal feed until white cabbage became scarce at the end of the Thirty Years’ War. Necessity became a virtue because the Knieperkohl – a pickled vegetable similar to sauerkraut – is now considered a specialty. In southern Europe, this cabbage is often grown in the home garden and used to wrap food.
  • The Chinese broccoli (Kai-lan) originally comes from China and is now also cultivated in the Mediterranean region. The leafy greens are an integral part of Chinese cuisine and are becoming more popular in other Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand. In Europe, Chinese broccoli, which tastes like broccoli and kale, is still an insider tip.
    The palm cabbage is rather unknown in our latitudes but is one of the old varieties. It was already eaten with pleasure by the ancient Greeks and Romans and is now primarily cultivated in northern Italy. Palm cabbage tastes similar to kale, only milder. It is often prepared as a salad and enriches every winter stew. Perhaps you have already heard of the Portuguese national dish “caldo verde”? This is a delicious potato soup that is refined with cabbage leaves cut into fine strips.

Cabbage contains these nutrients

Although cabbage vegetables look quite different, they hardly differ in terms of the composition of the macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat, protein). All varieties of cabbage consist of around 90 percent water and contain very little fat (between 0.1 and 0.3 g) per 100 g of fresh vegetables and around 3 g of healthy fiber.

The carbohydrate content is also generally low: White cabbage is on the sweeter side at around 4 g, while the powerful-looking cauliflower only contains 2 g of carbohydrates.

The calorie content is therefore only between 23 and 25 kcal, only the dainty Brussels sprouts weigh a little more with 36 kcal.

The protein content varies depending on the type of cabbage: 100 g contains between 1 and 4 g of protein, with Brussels sprouts having the highest content.

Tip: If you are looking for detailed information about the nutrients, please use our search and enter the type of cabbage you are looking for. You will then find the right nutritional values for each of the well-known cabbage vegetables (e.g. white cabbage, red cabbage, Brussels sprouts, etc.).

Cabbage contains important vitamins

With regard to the micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, trace elements), the various cabbage varieties also show a more or less uniform picture, namely a relatively high vitamin content. The most important vitamins in cabbage include B. the beta carotene, the vitamins of the B group as well as the vitamins C and vitamin K.

But some cabbage vegetables still stand out clearly from the other variants in terms of individual vitamins. All of the following information relates to 100 g of fresh vegetables.

  • Broccoli and Brussels sprouts contain a particularly large amount of vitamin C. 100 g contains around 115 mg of the antioxidant, which covers a full 115 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) – of course only if you eat the cabbage raw.
  • Otherwise, the vitamin C content will decrease depending on the cooking time. White cabbage has the lowest value at 45.8 mg, which is still very high compared to other foods, namely almost as high as the vitamin C value of lemons, which are known to be THE source of vitamin C par excellence.
  • Kale is the best cabbage in terms of beta-carotene: 100 g of it provides over 5,000 µg (258 percent of the RDA). From this, the organism can convert so much vitamin A that the daily requirement is 100 percent met. In contrast, cauliflower contains only 10 µg of beta-carotene (0.5 percent of the RDA).
  • There are also big differences with regard to the vitamin K content: The absolute leader here is Brussels sprouts with an amazing 250 µg of vitamin K so that the RDA can be met by 357 percent. In comparison, kohlrabi contains only 7 µg of vitamin K.

Cabbage contains many minerals

Cabbage also contains many minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and copper.

The broccoli performs best with 105 mg calcium, 1.3 mg iron, and 126 µg copper, here the RDA is covered by around 10 percent with 100 g fresh vegetables.
The kohlrabi, on the other hand, contains 43 mg of magnesium, which corresponds to 12.3 percent of the RDA.

As you can see, each variety of cabbage offers its individual benefits in terms of micronutrients. So it pays off not only in terms of culinary delights but also in terms of health, to allow variety and variety in the kitchen.

Cabbage contains a lot of fiber

Cabbage is one of the most fiber-rich vegetables. So stuck z. B. in 100 g fresh

  • White cabbage: 3 g fiber
  • Cauliflower: 2.9 g fiber
  • Brussels sprouts: 4 g fiber
  • Broccoli: 3 g fiber
  • Savoy cabbage: 3 g fiber

Dietary fiber is particularly important for intestinal health. However, since a healthy gut is a prerequisite for good overall health, a high-fiber diet is considered a general preventative measure to protect against diseases of all kinds.

Water-insoluble fiber increases stool volume, which increases intestinal peristalsis and facilitates defecation.

Water-soluble dietary fibers, on the other hand, serve as an important source of nutrition for the intestinal flora. They are fermented by gut bacteria in the large intestine, producing short-chain fatty acids (e.g. propionic acid) that strengthen the immune system and have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Cabbage is recommended for diabetes

Doctors and nutritionists recommend that diabetics consume enough fiber. Brassicas are very beneficial for diabetics because they regulate appetite and ensure that blood sugar levels rise more slowly after eating. As a result, less insulin is released. A high-fiber diet also helps reduce the risk of diabetes.

According to an international study involving almost 20,000 test persons, a high-fiber diet reduces overall mortality because it counteracts chronic diseases such as diabetes. It is interesting to note that this only applied to fiber from vegetables, but not from fruit, legumes, and grains.

This is why cabbage causes flatulence

Although collard greens are very beneficial for gut health, some people experience bloating. It is normal for gas to form as the gut bacteria go about their work in the large intestine. However, it becomes uncomfortable when an excessive amount of gas is formed. This can have various causes.

Flatulence is always noticeable when you are used to a low-fiber diet and then eat a cabbage dish from time to time. Keep in mind that your intestines first have to get used to the high-fiber diet. So slowly increase your fiber intake.

Bloating is often due to the fact that the gastrointestinal system is so weakened as a result of diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome that it simply cannot cope with high-fiber foods. Then it is better to rely on those vegetables that you tolerate well.

Also, make sure that you chew the cabbage and drink enough. The German Society for Nutrition advises around 1.5 liters of liquid per day. And it is no coincidence that cabbage dishes are combined with flatulence-inhibiting spices such as caraway or fennel. Ginger can also be used to prevent flatulence.

Is cabbage compatible with fructose intolerance?

Fructose intolerance can also lead to symptoms such as flatulence, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and a feeling of fullness. There is not much fructose in cabbage and the fructose-glucose ratio is also balanced. However, the specific roughage in cabbage, which often causes flatulence in healthy people, can also cause symptoms or aggravate existing symptoms in fructose-intolerant people. Small amounts are therefore tried in order to find out what dosage is still tolerable for the individual.

What are mustard oils?

All cruciferous vegetables and therefore also all cabbage contain very special substances that are summarized under the term mustard oil glycosides. There are around 120 of these sulfur-containing compounds that are counted among the secondary plant substances.

To a certain extent, there is a two-chamber system in the plant cells. Mustard oil glycosides are in one chamber and an enzyme called myrosinase is in the other. If insects nibble cabbage or we humans cut, rub, or chew it, the plant cells are injured, whereby the mustard oil glycosides come into contact with the enzyme myrosinase – and only now are the species-typical mustard oils are formed:

  • Allyl mustard oil is produced from the mustard oil glycoside sinigrin in broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and head cabbage.
  • The mustard oil glycoside glucobrassicin in broccoli, palm cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower produces, among other things the mustard oils brassica and indole-3-carbinol.
  • The mustard oil sulforaphane is produced from the mustard oil glycoside glucoraphanin in broccoli, white cabbage, and cauliflower.

How healthy are mustard oils?

Mustard oils are very interesting substances from a culinary and medicinal point of view. Because they are characterized on the one hand by their pungent smell and/or taste and sometimes by a slightly bitter note (eg Brussels sprouts). On the other hand, mustard oils have been intensively researched for a long time because of their healing properties.

  • According to a study conducted at Fu Jen Catholic University in 2018, allyl mustard oil has anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial effects and has a preventive effect on various tumors. The researchers stated that allyl mustard oil strengthens the immune system and even has great potential to treat bladder cancer.
  • Oregon State University researchers identified indole-3-carbinol as a natural anticarcinogen as early as 1989. According to an international team of researchers, many studies have now confirmed the anticarcinogenic effects of indole-3-carbinol and also that the consumption of cabbage contributes to a preventive diet.
    In an overview of studies in 2018, Italian researchers attested to various mustard oils that tackle many pathogenic bacteria. It has been demonstrated in vitro and in vivo that sulforaphane is highly effective against the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which can lead to gastritis, gastric ulcers, and gastric cancer. According to another Italian study, sulforaphane may help prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

What happens to mustard oil glycosides when cabbage is boiled?

Since mustard oil glycosides or mustard oils have a significant impact on the health value of cabbage vegetables, it is important to know to what extent cooking processes affect these substances. Analyzes at Wageningen University showed in 2018 that cooking has a negative impact on the content of mustard oil glycosides. On the one hand, the substances are reduced by between 5 and 20 percent simply through heat. In addition, some of these go into the cooking water.

According to a study carried out in 2018, it was shown that the content of mustard oils increases when kohlrabi, white, and kohlrabi are only briefly heated, as a certain protein is deactivated. Shortly thereafter, unfortunately, the enzyme myrosinase denatures. Although mustard oil glycosides can also occur during the digestive process, e.g. converted into health-promoting mustard oils by intestinal bacteria, to a lesser extent.

Is raw cabbage healthier than cooked?

Researchers from Robert Gordon University recommend eating collards raw whenever possible, as you can then fully benefit from the mustard oils. In addition, the recording of the same takes place more effectively.

If you don’t like raw cabbage or don’t tolerate it, you should choose gentle cooking methods for the sake of your health and keep the cooking time as short as possible. According to a Dutch study, the content of mustard oil glycosides in broccoli can even be increased by up to 17 percent by steaming briefly, while boiling in water results in losses of 50 percent.

According to German followers, a balanced diet with raw and cooked cabbage is ideal to fully exploit the health-promoting potential. In addition, cooked cabbage should be eaten immediately and not stored, since the content of mustard oil glycosides is reduced by up to 40 percent after just 1 day if stored in the refrigerator.

Does cabbage damage the thyroid?

People often warn against cabbage vegetables in connection with the thyroid gland. This is explained by the fact that some mustard oil glycosides such as B. glucobrassicin in the body are partially converted to thiocyanates, which reduce the iodine intake in the body.

So far, however, it has not been possible to prove, either experimentally or epidemiologically, that thiocyanates inhibit iodine uptake in the thyroid gland, only that iodine loss can be increased as a result. Studies have meanwhile also shown that, as a rule, no thyroid inhibition is to be expected from eating cabbage vegetables.

Cabbage can only have a negative effect on the thyroid gland if you eat almost exclusively cabbage, which used to be the case in times of need – e.g. B. in war – was the case.

A Korean meta-analysis has shown that there is only an increased risk of thyroid cancer if people eat a lot of cabbage AND at the same time live in iodine-deficient areas.

The phytochemicals in cabbage

In addition to mustard oil glycosides, cabbage contains many other secondary plant substances. In 2018, Chinese researchers identified 12 cruciferous vegetables such as B. broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower analyzed. 74 phenolic compounds – including 58 flavonoids such as quercetin and kaempferol and 16 hydroxycinnamic acids such as ferulic and sinapinic acid – were identified.

Both groups of substances have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Studies have u. shown that hydroxycinnamic acids counteract obesity and related diseases. The flavonoids also have anti-allergic, anti-viral, anti-microbial, and anti-cancer properties and are said to protect against cardiovascular disease.

What does the color say about the cabbage?

Cabbage vegetables shine in a wide variety of colors, which are produced by a wide variety of secondary plant substances. These include the yellow, orange, and reddish coloring carotenoids. B. beta-carotene and lutein. Many of them are of great importance as provitamin A (the body uses them to produce vitamin A) and have great antioxidant potential.

However, carotenoids are by no means only found in colorful, but also in green cabbage vegetables. They are invisible here because they are overlaid by the leaf green (chlorophyll). According to studies, chlorophyll also contributes to maintaining health, since it e.g. strengthens the immune system, detoxifies the body, and benefits the skin.

Cabbage vegetables colored red and violet are comparatively rare on the market, the best known is probably the red cabbage. All cabbage varieties are also available in violet, including ancient varieties. The high content of anthocyanins, which according to studies are among the strongest antioxidants, is responsible for the bright color.

How do the individual types of cabbage differ from each other?

Cabbage vegetables are always healthy, regardless of whether you choose white cabbage, red cabbage, savoy cabbage, or broccoli. Nevertheless, each type of cabbage has some specialties that set it apart from other types of cabbage.

Broccoli and broccoli sprouts are anticancer

Broccoli is clearly the cabbage variety that is currently receiving the most attention in terms of health. But why is that? On the one hand, broccoli scores in terms of total vitamin and mineral content – because no other cabbage contains e.g. B. more vitamin C, vitamin B5, and copper.

On the other hand, there is a keen interest in broccoli and in particular in broccoli sprouts on the part of cancer research, as they contain the most glucoraphanin. According to numerous studies, the resulting mustard oil sulforaphane inhibits cancer growth and enhances the effect of chemotherapy.

In the meantime, the first human studies have already confirmed that cancer patients benefit not only from isolated and highly concentrated mustard oils but also from frequent consumption of cabbage, e.g. B. can benefit from broccoli or broccoli sprouts. For example, Canadian researchers found that eating 3 to 5 servings of broccoli per week reduced the spread of prostate tumors by as much as 50 percent in some subjects.

This effect is due to the interaction of various substances. B. glucoraphanin and quercetin. Researchers from Heidelberg University Hospital, therefore, recommend cancer patients eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, as this could possibly increase the effectiveness of cancer therapy even better than taking dietary supplements.

Broccoli sprouts are anti-inflammatory

Overweight people are much more likely to suffer from inflammation than people of normal weight, since the higher the proportion of fat mass, the more likely it is that there will be inflammation in the adipose tissue. A Spanish study conducted in 2018 (21) involved 40 healthy but overweight subjects. Each of them ate 30g of broccoli sprouts daily for 10 weeks. The scientists then found that the inflammation levels improved.

The test persons then continued their usual diet – without broccoli sprouts – for a further 10 weeks, with the inflammation values remaining low, which indicates a lasting effect of the sprouts. The compelling medicinal potential of broccoli sprouts is sometimes attributed to the fact that they contain 10 to 100 times more glucoraphanin than adult cabbage plants.

Brussels sprouts are a source of vitamin K

Like broccoli, Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of vitamin C, but they also provide an exceptional amount of vitamin K. Only 30 g of Brussels sprouts are enough to cover 100 percent of the officially recommended daily requirement of vitamin K!

The fat-soluble vitamin contributes to bone health and is essential for blood clotting. People who take medication to inhibit blood clotting should therefore be careful when eating vegetables that, like Brussels sprouts, contain a lot of vitamin K.

Brussels sprouts are the cabbage vegetables with the highest content of mustard oil glycosides. According to analyzes at Oregon State University, 44 g of Brussels sprouts contain a total of 104 mg of mustard oil glycosides, while roughly the same amount of broccoli contains 27 mg and 50 g of cauliflower 22 mg.

Brussels sprouts are detoxifying and anti-cancer

So it is not surprising that Brussels sprouts also have at least a preventive effect when it comes to cancer. A European research team announced back in 2008 that eating Brussels sprouts protects white blood cells from cell damage caused by carcinogenic substances such as e.g. B. amines that are formed when roasting or grilling meat.

In the study, 8 subjects consumed 300 g of cooked Brussels sprouts daily for 6 days. As a result, the scientists found that the detoxification metabolism is positively influenced by vegetables. In this way, damage to the genetic material of the cells and thus cancer is counteracted.

Kale is a good source of beta carotene

Due to its very high content of vital substances, kale should be on the menu much more often in Central Europe. It is the second-best source of vitamin C in all cabbage varieties. Kale contains the same amount of vitamin K as broccoli and there is no other cabbage that contains higher levels of B-group vitamins, iron, and calcium.

In particular, however, kale is the world’s best supplier of beta-carotene. If you eat 100g of the vegetable, it will provide you with a whopping 260 percent of the recommended daily allowance. This is enough to meet 100 percent of the vitamin A requirement. In addition, kale contains a considerable amount of lutein and zeaxanthin, which also belong to the carotenoids and have a very positive effect on eye health.

Kale protects against diseases

The high content of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals makes kale an antioxidant powerhouse that has a preventive effect in terms of skin aging, arteriosclerosis, rheumatism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, and eye diseases.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are the only carotenoids found in the macula of the eye. Both substances play an essential role in vision. A ten-week, double-blind, and placebo-controlled study at the Friedrich Schiller University with 20 subjects showed that the intake of these carotenoids in the form of food protects against age-related diseases of the retina of the eye.

Cauliflower is great for the digestive system

Although cauliflower only surpasses other cabbage varieties in terms of its extremely high vitamin K content, it also contains numerous other bioactive substances. An English study with 10 subjects in 2017 found that not only the dietary fibers but also the mustard oils in cauliflower and broccoli promote gastrointestinal health.

Because a table richly set with cauliflower and broccoli can reduce the bacteria in the intestine that convert sulfates into sulfides (hydrogen sulfide). While sulfates stimulate bile flow and aid in digestion, sulfides can lead to allergies and inflammation.

This also explains why people with a too high sulfide concentration in the body are often affected by chronic intestinal inflammation and colon cancer and can benefit in a special way from cauliflower and co.

Red cabbage protects the eyes and the heart and has an antioxidant effect
Red cabbage is very similar to white cabbage in terms of ingredients and appearance, but there is one crucial difference. Because red cabbage contains the so-called anthocyanins, which give it its intense red or violet color.

A British study showed that fruits and vegetables rich in anthocyanins, such as red cabbage, have the most powerful antioxidant properties. The water-soluble plant pigments improve vision, have an anti-inflammatory effect, protect the blood vessels, and are used to prevent diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer linked to oxidative stress.

For a long time, scientists doubted that anthocyanins can have a positive effect on health since their bioavailability was classified as poor. In the meantime, however, the antioxidant effect of red cabbage and co. is no longer attributed solely to the anthocyanins themselves, but to certain intermediate products that are only formed in the body after they have been ingested. The bioavailability of these substances is 42 times higher than that of the anthocyanins themselves, according to a study published in 2017.

It is also possible that certain anthocyanins do not leave the gastrointestinal tract at all and develop their medicinal effect right there so that they can then only be detected to a limited extent, as a Chinese study has shown.

Kohlrabi is a source of magnesium for the psyche

Compared to other cabbage varieties such as broccoli, kohlrabi is definitely not one of the so-called super foods. And yet there is much more magnesium in kohlrabi than in other cabbage vegetables. 150 g of kohlrabi is enough to cover almost 20 percent of the need for this mineral.

Magnesium is i.a. important for the nerves and muscles, but also for the heart and most other bodily functions. According to the National Consumption Study II, a quarter of men and a third of women are affected by magnesium deficiency.

According to the Society for Biofactors in Stuttgart, a lack of magnesium is often jointly responsible for psychological problems such as restlessness, irritability, sleep disorders, depressive moods, depression, and burnout. Magnesium-rich foods such as kohlrabi can help counteract these psychological problems.

If you see purple turnip greens at your organic store or at a farmers market, it pays to grab them. Like any other violet-colored cabbage, they contain the anthocyanins already mentioned.

Korean researchers have compared green and purple kohlrabi and found that the colorful variety contains twice as many phenolic compounds and has much stronger antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic properties.

White cabbage is ideal for raw vegetables

Compared to other cabbage varieties such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts, white cabbage is not one of the frontrunners in terms of bioactive substances, but it does have a decisive advantage: it can also be used in larger quantities – e.g. B. in the form of salad or sauerkraut – can be eaten wonderfully raw, so that losses caused by cooking processes can be avoided.

Since time immemorial, white cabbage has been considered a remedy that is still used both internally and externally in traditional folk medicine, for example in the form of detoxifying and anti-inflammatory juice cures or pain-relieving pads.

Sauerkraut is a helpful probiotic

With regard to the digestive effect of white cabbage, sauerkraut is of particular importance. Because the white or pointed cabbage preserved by lactic acid fermentation contains living lactic acid bacteria that have a probiotic effect and e.g. have proven effective in chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, diarrhea, and chronic constipation.

A study at the University of Kiel showed in 2016 that the mustard oil glycosides are almost completely broken down during fermentation. Instead, some new potent bioactive substances are emerging, such as ascorbate, which counteracts aging processes, promotes detoxification, has anti-carcinogenic properties, and is an even more powerful antioxidant than vitamin C.

What happens when sauerkraut is heated?

If you want to benefit from the lactic acid bacteria in sauerkraut, you should make sure when you buy it that it has not been preserved by cooking. Because the useful microorganisms die off from the heat.

According to analyzes at the Gdańsk University of Technology, the situation is different with the antioxidative potential. The researchers have shown that this decreases with brief heating, but at least partially regenerates after a longer cooking time.

How are cabbage dressings applied?

Cabbage leaves are wonderful to use to make compresses or poultices. To do this, the cabbage leaf is cleaned, pressed flat or rolled, placed on the affected areas for 1 to 2 hours, and wrapped with a cotton cloth.

Due to the anti-inflammatory and detoxifying effect, cabbage pads help e.g. B. for knee problems, varicose veins, tennis elbow, sore throat, ulcers, and rheumatism.

Cabbage wraps help with osteoarthritis

A four-week study at the University of Duisburg-Essen involved 81 patients suffering from stages II to III knee osteoarthritis. They were divided into three groups: the patients in group 1 were treated daily for at least 2 hours with a cabbage wrap, those in group 2 with a pain gel (active ingredient: diclofenac), and those in group 3 with other conventional methods.

It was found that the cabbage wraps worked much better than other therapies. In terms of pain relief, the best results were achieved with the gel, but the patients were satisfied with both therapies. The researchers classified the cabbage wraps as a recommended alternative, especially since the pain gel can be associated with side effects such as rash, reddening of the skin, and skin inflammation.

Can you lose weight with cabbage soup?

Cabbage soup is said to help you lose weight in a very special way. Cabbage is so difficult to digest that the body uses more calories to digest the cabbage than the cabbage contains. One speaks here of so-called negative calories. As motivating as this explanation may be, it is unfortunately not true.

Nevertheless, you can lose weight very well and very quickly with the cabbage soup diet (up to 8 kg in one week), but this is due to the fact that you consume very few calories overall – after all, you only eat cabbage soup from morning to night, of course, neither fat nor carbohydrates in the form of potatoes, pasta or similar. contains.

You guessed it: The cabbage soup diet is not particularly recommended, because if you eat like before or after the diet, at his old weight plus a few extra kilos in no time at all – thanks to the yo-yo effect.

Organic cabbage is better

In 2016, a total of 62 samples of cabbage vegetables – Brussels sprouts, white and pointed cabbage, savoy cabbage, Chinese cabbage, and red cabbage – were examined for pesticide residues on behalf of the Lower Saxony State Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety.

It was gratifying that none of the conventionally grown samples exceeded the legally stipulated maximum levels for pesticides and that no residues were detectable in 15 samples. However, 37 samples showed multiple residues and the results were worse overall compared to the analyzes carried out in 2010.

With conventional cabbage, you never know whether you have to reckon with pesticide contamination or not. Organic cabbage is therefore always the better choice.

This is not only non-toxic but also – as a study showed in 2017 – contains more bioactive substances than conventionally grown cabbage. The same applies to sauerkraut juice: better buy organic juice. Because in the study mentioned, this had a higher content of polyphenols (e.g. flavonoids) than conventional juice.

Have fun cooking and enjoy your meal!

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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