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Health Food of the month - Cabbage

April 2017

sauerkraut with rice

Kimchi and sauerkraut - don't forget the humble cabbage!

Previous Health Foods of the Month...



Blood oranges


Diet & Supplements Index

Waitrose Recipes

Cabbage used to be the standby vegetable in so many homes when we were kids. It was also often served in school meals in a sad watery tasteless form. Cabbage was the vegetable available when many other products were out of season.

Cooked badly with lots of water and minimal flavour, cabbage can be pretty unappetizing -  plus over cooking can remove most of its nutrients. But today we know that not only can cabbage be turned into a fabulous tasty vegetable, but it is also a health food.

In those lovely lined leaves of a cabbage lies all sorts of nutritional benefits, some at fairly small levels, but nevertheless the benefits are there.

For a start cabbage supplies vitamin C and sulphur...both can help to remove toxins such as free radicals and uric acid form the body.

Cabbage also contains lots of great vitamins including Vitamin C and D, E and K, B6 and B12 and thiamine. The list of minerals in cabbage is astonishing, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and even selenium.

Surprisingly cabbage also has useful levels of potassium. This can be of real benefit to help counteract the effects of too much sodium in your body, helping to regulate blood pressure.

If you want to get the very best benefit from this underrated vegetable, then look for red cabbage. Red cabbages contain all this goodness plus betalains; these are also found in beetroot and contain excellent anti-inflammatory properties. 

But while the humble cabbage is coming back into popularity thanks to new recognition of its nutritional values, another reason is the launch of sauerkraut and kimchi as the new superfoods.

Most of us will have heard of sauerkraut. This is made with finely cut cabbage that has been fermented to produce a slightly sour taste. It was known for its long life and was popular in Eastern Europe long before it became well accepted in the UK.

Kimchi is a similar food and a staple in Korea, made with fermented cabbages but also sometimes with other vegetables, and well seasoned for extra flavour.

You will be hearing quite a bit more about sauerkraut and kimchi in the next few months as they are being talked about as the big new health foods. This is due to the recognition of fermentation as a valuable process.

In its simplest form, cabbage or other vegetables are soaked in salt water or in their own juice allowing the growth of bacteria. This bacteria eats into the vegetable’s own sugars producing lactic acid, giving it its sour and tart flavour. Research has shown that fermented foods can assist in the metabolism of cholesterol and carbohydrates, and fermented or pro-biotic foods can also be “good for the gut” plus assist nutrients to be absorbed properly.   

Cabbage is definitely not a vegetable to walk past in the supermarket and if you would like to try making sauerkraut or kimchi, there are lots of good recipes on the internet.



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