Cabbage – why it is so healthy and which one to choose

Cabbage is considered a food that has a very good effect on health. Numerous studies have shown that cabbage and other crucifers are protective foods. Namely, they are a quality source of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and other useful substances. People who eat a lot of cabbage are also less likely to get cancer. In Slovenia we grow a lot of cabbage, perhaps even the most among vegetables. It can be eaten freshly cooked or and soaked throughout the year. Cabbage is classified according to the season into spring, summer, autumn and winter varieties. Depending on the appearance, we distinguish cabbage with half a heart, with a green heart, head white and red cabbage.

SPRING CABBAGE has smooth, light leaves and a small head. Varieties with a green heart can have round or conical heads (curly kale).
WINTER CABBAGE has a hard white head. Chinese cabbage has a slightly milder taste than ordinary cabbage.
WINTER WHITE CABBAGE is the most widespread in our country. It lasts the longest and is therefore best stored. It has a compact head with crispy leaves and is especially suitable for cutting and grating. It is used for cabbage salad, for fresh cabbage dishes and for sauerkraut.
RED CABBAGE has the same history and morphological properties as white, but differs in color, which can be dark red, red-purple or bluish. It is usually cooked with vinegar to preserve its characteristic color. It is often served with venison and goose roasts. In Great Britain and Slovenia we invest it in vinegar, in Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands it is stewed with apples and spices. It is also delicious fresh in a salad.

The nutritional value of 100 grams of raw cabbage is only 26 kilocalories, it contains many B vitamins, beta carotene (380 micrograms), calcium (52 milligrams), folic acid (75 micrograms), potassium (270 milligrams), vitamin C (50 milligrams) and vitamin E (0.2 milligrams). In addition, cabbage is rich in glucosinolates (sulfur compounds). When cabbage walls rupture due to chopping or chewing, compounds called isothiocyanates and indoles are formed. In several animal experiments, these substances have been shown to inhibit cancer. More isothiocyanates and indoles occur if a lot of vitamin C is present. Therefore, it is important not to cook the cabbage for too long.

Cabbage and its healing properties

IF SWALLOWED Contains antioxidants and other substances that increase cancer resistance. Many studies have confirmed that people who eat cabbage more often are less likely to get cancer of the stomach, intestines, lungs and skin. Coronary heart disease, stroke and cataracts are also less common in people with high levels of antioxidants derived from food.
Cabbage also helps with stomach ulcers. Fresh cabbage juice is a traditional remedy for ulcers. Its effectiveness has been confirmed by experiments on volunteers. Fresh cabbage also helps, but the effect is smaller.

Fresh sauerkraut contains microorganisms beneficial to the intestinal flora and vitamin C. Thus, sauerkraut is an old folk remedy for the intestines and digestion and against scurvy.
Cabbage juice, which is best freshly prepared, is also highly valued. A glass of juice daily improves general health, restores vitality and reduces or even eliminates problems with the intestines, breathing and urinary tract.

In asthma, folk medicine recommends dressings with cabbage leaves, which must be well washed.

For herpes, which is a common problem of modern man, cabbage compresses are recommended. Wraps significantly relieve pain. They need to be replaced several times a day.

Compresses made of hygienically sound cabbage leaves help to relieve the liver.

Cabbage leaves – hygienically sound – also help with wounds because they bind toxic substances.

Cold, clean cabbage leaves significantly soothe the pain of sciatica.

Just one serving of cabbage a week, fresh, cooked or pickled, reduces the risk of bowel cancer. Research has shown that we need two to three servings a week for a general protective effect. Raw cabbage contains the most nutrients, especially folic acid and antioxidants.
Because cabbage interferes with iodine absorption, people who eat more than two to three times a week should get plenty of iodine-rich foods. Especially if they live in an area with little iodine in the soil.


Sauerkraut has always been the cheapest source of vitamins in winter, especially vitamin C. The fiber in sauerkraut, which is even more than in fresh, accelerates the excretion of useless substances in the body. In addition to sauerkraut, which is eaten raw, in salads or cooked in side dishes, cooked…, it is also highly recommended to drink cabbage, which contains a lot of leached substances from sauerkraut. Zelnica is highly valued by complementary and folk medicine. As early as the 17th century, sailors took it with them on long voyages to prevent scurvy. After lactic fermentation, lactic acid bacteria remain in both sauerkraut and herbs and after ingestion of uncooked cabbage they enter the intestines, where they have a number of positive effects (impact on peristalsis, relieving disorders of disturbed intestinal flora, regulating blood pressure…). Do not wash sauerkraut before use, as this will wash out and remove a lot of nutrients!

Selection and preparation

The cabbage should be as fresh as possible. Consume it quickly before it hardens. If you want to use outer leaves, make sure you have organically grown cabbage that is free of chemical residues. Only fresh sauerkraut contains ‘live’ bacteria that also tolerate freezing. There are few or no lactic acid bacteria in canned or jarred heat-treated sauerkraut.

The selection of recipes with fresh or sauerkraut is so varied that even if you are not the most enthusiastic fan, you will easily find the ones you like, be it stewed cabbage, stuffed, in soup, fried, fresh, in a salad… If you don’t want the cabbage to strain you, add some spice or herb to prevent it; cumin or anise are suitable.

Some more interesting things

Regarding cabbage, we also know a lot of folk instructions and prohibitions regarding the time of planting, cutting… So, for example, farmers never cut it when they bake bread.

Cabbage is part of the well-known folk saying: “To walk to someone in cabbage,” means to interfere in the affairs of others, “On which herb did it grow”, “Better a spoonful of cabbage in peace than a roast in a quarrel”…

Cabbage (Brassica oleracea) has been eaten by humans since prehistoric times. It began to be cultivated a long time ago, as it is mentioned by Greek and Roman writers. The ancestor of cabbage is not quite known, but it probably originated from a wild species of eight varieties. This wild cabbage grew on the north coast of the Mediterranean, on the coasts of southern England, Denmark and southern France. Most likely, cabbage was also grown in this area. Oriental types of cabbage, however, have spread to the southern Balkans

Already the Romans greatly valued cabbage. In the work De Re Rustica, the writer Cato recommended eating raw cabbage before lunch in order to reduce the effect of drinking alcohol and improve digestion. The Romans also believed that cabbage chased away melancholy, and they also used it as a compress for wounds and various bumps.

Cabbage symbolizes profit, benefit, good fortune, and at the same time is a sign of stubbornness and stubbornness.

A 14th-century cookbook convincingly claims that cabbage is the best and softest way to prepare a dish if it gets frozen.

Effects of cabbage on health

may reduce the risk of cancer

reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke

may reduce the risk of cataracts

accelerates the healing of ulcers and improves digestion

has a high satiety value (use in weight loss diets)

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