Four reasons to include red cabbage in your diet
If you’re looking to improve your nutrition but stay on budget, you can step away from the superfood aisle and pick up a red cabbage instead. Red cabbage is a great addition to your diet because besides the nutritional benefits discussed in this article, it’s affordable, doesn’t spoil quickly (no food waste with this one!), and can be used in a variety of dishes throughout the week. Here are four reasons red cabbage is a healthy addition to your diet.
Excellent source of vitamin C
While scurvy is a thing of the past, your vitamin C levels could still be less than optimal if you eat mostly cooked foods (because vitamin C is destroyed by heat), have poor food variety, if you smoke, or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you’re not into the classic citrus fruits, try raw red cabbage - it’s an excellent source of vitamin C with 85% of your daily value of vitamin C in one cup (raw). Aside from functioning as an antioxidant, vitamin C plays a role in immune function and is essential for the body’s ability to create collagen, which is important for our joint and skin health. Vitamin C also helps the body absorb non-heme, or plant, iron.
High in Vitamin K
Interestingly, vitamin K occurs in two forms. One of which is found in vegetables, and the second of which is found in animal foods and fermented foods, with some actually bring produced by bacteria in the gut.
A single cup of red cabbage provides 42% of your daily value of vitamin K, which has roles in blood clotting and bone health. Vitamin K is fat soluble, meaning you should consume it along with a fat to increase absorption.
While some inflammation in the body is natural, chronic inflammation can lead to a number of health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and arthritis. Cabbage - along with other cruciferous vegetables - contains sulforaphane, which has an antioxidant (and detoxifying) effect on the body that helps reduce inflammation.
Red cabbage is also one of the most affordable ways to include anthocyanins, a powerful plant pigment with anti-inflammatory properties, in your diet. Anthocyanin is otherwise found in foods like blueberries, elderberries, black grapes, and purple cauliflower. In other words, purple and blue foods.
The fiber from cabbage can boost your gut health by adding bulk to stools and promoting regular bowel movements. Bowel movements are one way your body detoxifies, so supporting this process daily is crucial. Supporting your gut health also means supporting your immune system because 70% of it is actually right in your gut! With winter coming, supporting your immune system will help you get through the holiday without sickness.
Ways to use red cabbage
As mentioned, red cabbage is great in so many dishes. Try it in stir fries, on tacos, in breakfast burritos, finely sliced in salads, or in slaws like this one. It’s an easy addition to your diet with a huge amount of benefits!
PR and Marketing Specialist of Vegetable and Butcher and a self-proclaimed nutrition nerd and sustainability junkie. Emily called DC home for three years before making her way to California. Emily has her master's in Nutrition Education and is a Certified Nutrition Specialist® (CNS®) candidate. She's passionate about helping people learn to use food to fuel their outdoor activities, and in her free time you can find her rock climbing. . You can connect with her on her website and on Instagram.