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Red Cabbage – sources, health benefits, nutrients, uses and constituents at

Thursday, July 20, 2017 by

Red cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata f. rubra) is a cabbage variety known for its distinct red or purple leaves. The color of these leaves depends on the pH value of the soil: acidic soils will produce reddish leaves, neutral soils will result in purple leaves, while alkaline soils will cause the leaves to turn greenish-yellow. Red cabbages can be found in America, Northern Europe, and select parts of China. More than just adding crunch and texture, they are common additions to meat dishes and salads largely due to their unique nutritional composition.

List of known nutrients

Red cabbages are rich in health-promoting nutrients, specifically:

  • Anthocyanins
  • Calcium
  • Flavonoids
  • Glucosinolates
  • Glutamine
  • Indoles
  • Insoluble Fiber
  • Iron
  • Lycopene
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate)
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K

Though citrus fruits are believed to be good sources of vitamin C, red cabbage is a far more reliable provider of this essential vitamin: just one cup of chopped red cabbage can provide the body with 56 percent of the recommended daily intake.

Red cabbages contain anthocyanins,which are the flavonoid pigments that give red, blue, and purple berries their characteristic shades and health benefits, namely as sources of free radical-eliminating antioxidants.

As Brassica vegetables, red cabbages are loaded with glucosinolates. These natural, sulphur-containing components are considered to be highly beneficial because of their ability to kill cancer cells without hurting normal cells.

Medicinal uses for red cabbage

When consumed frequently, red cabbage can stave off or alleviate the symptoms of such health conditions as:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Anemia
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Cancer
  • Cataracts
  • Constipation
  • Hypertension
  • Macular degeneration
  • Osteoporosis
  • Scurvy
  • Ulcers

Red cabbage juice is a common home remedy for ulcers. This is because red cabbages contain impressive amounts of glutamine, an amino acid that reduces the pain and inflammation of ulcers.

In addition to containing anthocyanins, red cabbages are packed with vitamin A as well. As such, eating red cabbages can prevent eye disorders like cataracts and macular degeneration. Both anthocyanins and vitamin A act as antioxidants that protect the eyes from damage.

The combination and concentration of magnesium, calcium, and manganese in red cabbages are incredibly useful against osteoporosis and arthritis, since these nutrients ensure healthy bone development and growth.

Note: individuals who suffer from hypothyroidism are advised to limit their consumption of red cabbages because these vegetables can interfere with thyroid hormone production.

Body systems supported by red cabbage

  • Digestive system
  • Immune system
  • Ocular system
  • Respiratory system
  • Skeletal system

Since red cabbages are excellent sources of vitamin C, they can boost the immune system by stimulating white blood cell activity.

More than remedying ulcers, red cabbages can help out the digestive system by improving the performance of the digestive tract. Red cabbages do this by bulking up stool with fiber, allowing them to pass out of the body much easier.

Ways to use red cabbage

There are numerous ways to cook red cabbage, but the most common methods are braising and pickling. Red cabbages can be boiled or sauteed too.

They do well as accompaniments to a variety of dishes, ranging from meats to sausages to coleslaw. Pickled red cabbages are notable matches for smoked fish, cold meats, and cheese. To bring out the best in red cabbages, pair them up with onions, raisins, and sweet apples.

Where to learn more


Red cabbages are nutrient-dense vegetables that can be counted on for such health benefits as a strengthened immune system, reduced ulcer symptoms, and better eyesight. However, people with thyroid problems should avoid or limit red cabbage consumption.

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