Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cabbage, the humble vegetable loaded with nutrients.

This is my first posting for 2012 and I wish my blog visitors a Happy New Year, prosperity and good health – health is wealth. With this in mind let me tell you about the health benefits of a humble vegetable, the cabbage.  Not too many people would realize what a powerhouse of nutrients the cabbage is.

As inexpensive as cabbage is, it is one of the richest when it comes to protective vitamins. Raw cabbage cleans the waste from the stomach and upper bowels which improves digestion and reduces constipation. Red cabbage contains almost twice the vitamin C as some green cabbages. Red cabbages are always richer in anthocyanins (flavonoid phytonutrients) that not only act as antioxidants, but also function as supporters of the immune system. Green cabbages, on the other hand, have substantially more folate. Remember that many of the more subtle nutritional differences in cabbage depend on the specific variety. Even though cabbages can be generally divided into three types-reds, greens, and savoy - there are many popular varieties of cabbage within all three general types.

We are never without cabbage in our household; we consume it in four different ways.

1. Raw as a salad mixed with carrots to give extra nutrients and colour, and mixed with your favourite salad dressing, we often add mushrooms and capsicums as well. If you can’t grow your own cabbage, buy the organic if possible.

2. My wife’s speciality; she calls it “Bayerisches Kraut” translated “Bavarian cabbage.” This is the steamed variety and is prepared the following way. 1. Slice cabbage. 2. Chop two rashers of bacon and half an onion and sauté this for two minutes. 3. Add cabbage; a tablespoon of vinegar, and two teaspoons of caraway seeds and steam for twenty minutes – add a bit of water if necessary and some salt to your taste. Absolutely yummy! (There was even a piece of music written about this dish.) Click on this link: Bayerisch Kraut Polka.

3. My wife’s recipe for red cabbage is as follows. 1. Dice half an onion, two bacon rashers and sauté for two minutes. 2. Add sliced cabbage with a grated green apple; a level teaspoon of cloves, one tablespoon of sugar, two tablespoons of vinegar, some salt to your taste and steam this for twenty minutes, or to your liking. Absolutely delicious!

4. Sauerkraut the fermented variety, delicious and healthy. I grew up on our family farm in Germany and we made our own sauerkraut which gives the gut healthy bacteria. When buying sauerkraut, buy it in glass jars and not the tins as its aluminium lining can cause problems if the tin is damaged.

Vegetable Nutrition Facts: Sauerkraut, click here.

Perhaps this will persuade you to make cabbage one of your main vegetables for the benefit to your health. To post a comment read my annotation at the end. - Werner   
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Following is an extract from “The World’s Healthiest Foods.” To read more click on the link at the end of the extract.

What's New and Beneficial About Cabbage?
Cabbage can provide you with some special cholesterol-lowering benefits if you will cook it by steaming. The fiber-related components in cabbage do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they've been steamed. When this binding process takes place, it's easier for bile acids to be excreted, and the result is a lowering of your cholesterol levels. Raw cabbage still has cholesterol-lowering ability, just not as much as steamed cabbage.

Researchers now realize that different types of cabbage (red, green, and Savoy) contain different patterns of glucosinolates. This new knowledge means that your broadest health benefits from cabbage are likely to come from inclusion of all varieties in your diet. 

Cabbage in general; but also Savoy cabbage in particular; turns out to be an especially good source of sinigrin. Sinigrin is one of the cabbage glucosinolates that has received special attention in cancer prevention research. The sinigrin in cabbage can be converted into allyl-isothiocyanate, or AITC. This isothiocyanate compound has shown unique cancer preventive properties with respect to bladder cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer.

In one recent study, short-cooked and raw cabbage was the only types of cabbage to show cancer-preventive benefits; long-cooked cabbage failed to demonstrate measurable benefits. New research shows that steaming is a better cooking method than microwaving if you want to maximize the health benefits of glucosinolates found in cabbage. That's because two minutes of microwaving destroys the same amount of myrosinase enzymes as seven minutes of steaming, and you need those myrosinase enzymes to help convert cabbage's glucosinolates into cancer-preventive compounds.

Our Healthy Sauté method, which we recommend for cabbage, is very similar to steaming and enhances the flavor of the cabbage. See "How to Enjoy" below.
                  WH Foods Recommendations.
You'll want to include cabbage as one of the cruciferous vegetables you eat on a regular basis if you want to receive the fantastic health benefits provided by the cruciferous vegetable family. At a minimum, include cruciferous vegetables as part of your diet 2-3 times per week, and make the serving size at least 1-1/2 cups. Even better from a health standpoint, enjoy cabbage and other vegetables from the cruciferous vegetable group 4-5 times per week, and increase your serving size to 2 cups.

Traditional methods of steaming or boiling make cabbage watery. To retain the maximum number of nutrients and flavor we recommend Healthy Sautéing cabbage. Slice cabbage into 1/4 -inch slices and let sit for 5 minutes to enhance its health-promoting benefits before cooking. For more details see Healthiest Way of Cooking Cabbage below. To read the full article, click here.
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My thought for today: - Werner
The greatest wealth is health.  ~Virgil

Click on annotation to enlarge!


Kitchen Boss said...

Sauerkraut! You made my mouth water, we love it and combined with German bratwurst or speck, just yummy. I’ll try your wife’s recipes for Red Cabbage and Bayrisch Kraut – sounds good.

Marite said...

I am quite addicted to sauerkraut, love it!

Vicki said...

My grandfather loved eating raw cabbage, He was a horse trainer still at 84 and died at 94.
So maybe it was the cabbage.