Cabbage – Benefits, Nutritional Facts and Recipes

Dr.Swati Shukla

June 21, 2022

The first thing that comes to mind when talking of cabbage is that it is one of the veggies tossed in salads, thrown in soup, or part of the most loved Chinese food. But the versatility of this vegetable doesn’t stop there. Benefits of cabbage include healthy hair to maintain a clean gut.

In addition, this cruciferous vegetable is loaded with health, packed with essential vitamins such as C, K, folate, minerals like calcium, potassium, iodine, and phosphorus. Furthermore, cabbage has been grown for centuries in many parts of the world. Romans used it to beat their hangovers in old times, and Koreans treated skin ailments.

Cabbage belongs to the same family as broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. You can find this multi-layered vegetable in amazingly green, red, and purple colours. You can eat it raw or in cooked form, or juice it.

Nutritional Properties of Cabbage

Studies have shown that cabbage juice becomes highly nutritious when left on the counter until bacteria feed on it. When cabbage ferments, it creates natural probiotics that nourish your gut bacteria. 

The bacteria helps your body fight germs. Therefore, better absorption of cabbage nutrients aids in proper digestion.

A Complete Blend of Nutrients

Approximately half a cup of cooked cabbage can provide you with a third of your daily vitamin C needs. It is a  high fibre food. It also contains folate, potassium, magnesium, vitamins A and K.

Flourished with Antioxidants

Cabbage is rich in nutrients like vitamin C and manganese. Still, its greatest strength lies in phytonutrients, which provide cellular protection.

Nutritional Facts of Cabbage

1 cup of shredded cabbage (70 grams) contains:

  • Calories: 17.5 Kcal
  • Carbohydrate: 4 g
  • Protein: Approx. 1g
  • Fat: 0.07g


  • Vit C: 26 micrograms
  • Vit K: 53 micrograms
  • Folate: 30 micrograms


  • Potassium: 119 mg
  • Calcium: 28 mg
  • Phosphorus: 18 mg
  • Magnesium: 8 mg

Health Benefits of Cabbage

Cabbage is Good for Your Gut

With cabbage being high in fibre and water content, it helps propel food through your digestive tract. As a result, cabbage improves normal bowel movement. It is even healthier if you eat cabbage in fermented form. Thus, it acts as a probiotic, rich in good bacteria that keep the gut healthy. 

Due to its high fibre content, cabbage also helps relieve gastritis symptoms (inflammation in the stomach wall. In addition, it soothes stomach ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome  (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease).

Cabbage Keeps Your Heart Healthy

Cabbage helps lower cholesterol levels in your body, reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke, and helps regulate blood pressure. In addition, studies have shown that cabbage contains flavonoids and phenols that are good for the heart. It also protects one against oxidative stress that plays a vital role in developing heart diseases. The common conditions from oxidative stress are ischemia (lack of oxygen supply to heart muscles) and heart attack.

Cabbage, especially the red one, raises the beta-carotene levels, thus maintaining a healthy heart, kidneys and lungs. Furthermore, it also has lutein and other antioxidants beneficial for the heart. It prevents the hardening of the arteries by keeping the bad cholesterol in control. Since it eases inflammation, it can help prevent heart disease.

Cabbage Improves Brain Health

Cabbage, especially the red variety, contains vitamin K and an antioxidant called anthocyanin that helps improve your brain function. These nutrients prevent damage to the nerves and enhance memory.

As a result, cabbage consumption may prevent you from developing diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia (memory impairment). In addition, consuming fermented forms of cabbage such as Sauerkraut and Kimchi have beneficial effects on cognitive function. 

It is an Immunity Booster

High vitamin C content in cabbage imparts immunity-boosting properties to it. A robust immune system fights against diseases by killing harmful bacteria and viruses and helps you stay healthy. 

Cabbage Helps Keep Cancer at Bay

Studies have shown that consumption of cruciferous vegetables lowers the risk of certain types of cancers, including cancer of the colon, breast, lungs, and prostate. The anti-cancer property of cabbage is due to its rich content of nutrients like glucosinolates, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory agents. The primary nutrients are sulforaphane, lupeol, and sinigrin, which fight cancer cells. In addition, a powerful antioxidant called anthocyanin, which is abundantly present in red cabbage, has anti-cancer properties. It destroys already formed cancer cells and prevents the formation of new cancer cells in the body. 

Research suggests that cabbage could help prevent certain types of cancer, mainly associated with the gut. The high amount of folate,  antioxidants and anti-inflammatory qualities help in fighting cancer. In addition, your body turns sulfur-containing substances in cabbage into cancer-fighting substances.

Cabbage Helps Reducing Inflammation

Cabbage contains myriads of anti-inflammatory agents that help fight inflammation in your body. These agents help ease allergy,  relieve joint pain and arthritis. Because of its anti-inflammatory property, cabbage is an ingredient in herbal treatment for inflammatory diseases like stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, and mastitis (inflammatory condition of breast cells). In addition, cabbage offers beneficial effects in contact dermatitis (an inflammatory disease of the skin). 

Diets rich in cabbage contain several natural chemicals that reduce swelling and help protect your body from other severe health conditions. Inflammation causes cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Good for Diabetics

According to a study, eating a cabbage rich diet reduces your chance of getting type 2 diabetes due to its high antioxidant and high fibre content. Eating red cabbage may alleviate diabetes and its associated complications. 

In a recent survey, cabbage reduces the risk of diabetes to 38%. The fibre in cabbage increases the feeling of fullness which help control portion size. This quality helps in type 2 diabetes because insulin and blood sugar are not regulated, making one feel full quickly.

Cabbage for Healthy Skin

Eat cabbage regularly for healthy skin. It contains antioxidants that reduce free radicals responsible for the ageing of your skin and skin discolouration. Eating cabbage can have beneficial effects on skin diseases such as psoriasis and eczema. However, it also improves skin problems, including xeroderma and acne.

Cabbage Helps in Weight Loss

Cabbage being leafy, is low in calories. Therefore, including cabbage in your weight loss diet is a great idea. Including cabbage soup in your diet will not only curb your hunger but also aids in digestion while providing health benefits.

The high amount of fibre in cabbage fills our hunger and makes us eat less. It controls blood sugar with its medicinal qualities and also lowers bad cholesterol. In addition, cabbage juice has magical powers. Thus, it heals stomach ulcers. It also makes our intestinal wall stronger.

Wholesome Recipes Using Cabbage

Whether you stir fry, steam it, cook it, or have it raw, cabbage gives a delightful taste to your tongue. Check out the wonderful recipes using cabbage to add variety with the goodness of health.

#1 Lemon Garlic Sautéed Cabbage

From all cooking methods, sauté is considered the healthiest way of cooking cabbage, as it cooks the vegetable to the desired extent while keeping its nutrient content intact. This recipe is another tastier and healthier version of the Indian style of cooking cabbage.


  • Shredded cabbage- 2 cups
  • Extra-virgin olive oil: 1 tsp
  • Minced garlic: 1 tbsp
  • Red pepper flakes (crushed): Pinch
  • Black pepper- 0.25 tsp
  • Salt: According to taste
  • Lemon: 1 tsp


  • Heat olive oil in a pan on medium flame.
  • Add minced garlic and sauté for a few seconds.
  • Add cabbage, salt, black pepper and chilli flakes. Toss well.
  • Saute for 2 mins till cabbage is slightly cooked but not soft.
  • Turn off the flame. Squeeze lemon juice and mix.
  • Serve hot.

#2 Healthy Cabbage and Chicken Soup

An excellent preparation as it is low in calories, healthy, and filling.


  • Oil- 1 tbsp
  • Skinless chicken breast- 200 grams
  • Red pepper flakes: 2 tsp
  • Salt: According to taste
  • Black pepper (ground): Half teaspoon
  • Chicken broth- 8 cups
  • Cabbage (1 medium-sized head): Torn into bite-sized chunks
  • Celery (diced): 3/4 cup
  • Green pepper (diced): 1/2 cup
  • Onion (coarsely chopped): 1
  • Garlic cloves (coarsely chopped): 8
  • Green beans: 1/2 cup
  • Chopped tomatoes: 1, medium
  • Coriander leaves- 1 tbsp, chopped 


  • Heat half a tablespoon of oil in a pan. Place the chicken breast along with some salt, chilli flakes, and pepper.
  • Cook both sides until done. Keep aside.
  • Now, take a heavy-bottomed pan. Heat the remaining oil and saute all the chopped vegetables.
  • Stir in the chicken broth and add in the cooked and chopped chicken and seasoning.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the flame.
  • Simmer for 20-25 minutes until vegetables are tender.
  • Once done, garnish with coriander leaves.
  • Serve hot.

#3 Coleslaw


  • 1 cup red cabbage
  • 1 cup green cabbage 
  • 1 cup red bell pepper 
  • ½ cup carrots
  • One ear of cooked corn
  • One mango sliced
  • One avocado minced
  • Eight mint leaves sliced
  • Zest of a lemon


  • ½ cup Greek yoghurt
  • Three tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1 ½ teaspoons lime juice,
  • lemon zest
  • One tablespoon honey
  • ⅛ teaspoon chilli pepper
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper

Method :

  • Put the cabbage, bell pepper, carrot, corn kernels, and mango into a large bowl. 
  • Add the avocado and mint leaves.
  • Whisk together the yoghurt, mustard, lime juice, honey, and chilli pepper.
  • As per your taste, season with salt and pepper. 
  • Gently mix the above dressing into the coleslaw to be combined thoroughly.
  • If you don’t consume it as soon as you make it, don’t forget to refrigerate.
  • Healthy coleslaw is all set to eat.

Cabbage: The Right Quantities to Eat and Precautions

Right quantity to consume 

To gain the most benefit from consuming raw or cooked cabbage, eat half to 3/4 cups each day for at least five days per week. It is very easy to include cabbage because there are so many ways to prepare cabbage.

Some evidence suggests that consuming cabbage in large amounts may affect the thyroid. For example, goitrogens in cabbage can inhibit iodine transport to the thyroid, an essential process.

To minimise gas and bloating, eat a smaller amount at one time and drink water throughout the day to aid in digestion. In addition, cabbage contains sulfur compounds as well as a sugar called raffinose which can cause gas.

Additionally, their high fibre content can make them hard to digest. Cooking cabbage thoroughly instead of eating raw will make it easier on your stomach.


A sugar in cabbage called raffinose, which is tough to digest until bacteria break it down in the gut, produces gas and makes you bloated.

Diabetes :

When using cabbage, people with diabetes should monitor their blood sugar levels and watch out for signs of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) 

Hypothyroidism :

The consumption of cabbage may worsen this condition. Therefore, if you have an underactive thyroid gland, it is best to avoid cabbage.

Surgery :

The consumption of cabbage may cause blood glucose levels to fluctuate and may impair control of blood sugar during and after surgery. Therefore, one should avoid cabbage at least two weeks before surgery.


Cabbage is as nutritious as its counterparts, such as kale and broccoli are. It is suitable for your digestive system, skin, and hair. It is one of the perfect choices for a weight-reducing diet as well.

Packed with the goodness of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, it helps fight several deadly diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart diseases, B.P., and stroke. It also improves brain functioning, enhances memory, and prevents diseases like Alzheimer and dementia.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Is eating cabbage every day harmful?

A. Eating cabbage daily may not necessarily be harmful. But it is advisable to include a variety of veggies in your diet to benefit from different vitamins, minerals and antioxidants present in other coloured plants and vegetables.

Q. Which is the healthiest type of cabbage?

A. All cabbages (irrespective of the colour) have high amounts of phytonutrients. Still, red and purple cabbage has a little higher content of antioxidants-anthocyanin.

Q. Is it safe to consume cabbage in pregnancy?

A. Cabbage can be consumed safely during pregnancy as well. But make sure to have it in the cooked form to avoid food poisoning and digestive issues like bloating or flatulence.

Q. Is consuming cooked cabbage healthier than raw?

A. Both forms of cabbage – raw or cooked have their benefits and have the same nutritional value. Those with weaker digestion can consume cooked forms of cabbage. Moreover, it ensures the prevention of any food poisoning owing to bacterial or fungal contamination. You can saute or blanch for minimal but safe cooking before having it.

Q. Are eating the outer leaves of cabbage safe?

A. The outer leaves are edible but should be discarded if found with holes, dirt spots or insect remnants. Therefore, for clean eating and appealing presentation, remove outer leaves.

Q. Is cabbage good for your liver?

A.Yes, in addition to sulphur compounds, cabbage contains choline, a nutrient that serves a healthy and stronger liver.

Q. Does Cabbage detox the body?

A. A chemical in cabbage called sulforaphane plays a vital role in the body’s fight against toxins. Cabbage also provides the body with glutathione. In addition, it is an antioxidant that helps the liver detoxify itself.

Q. Is cabbage healthier raw or cooked?

A. Cooked or boiled or steamed cabbage supplies more antioxidants, such as carotenoids and ferulic acid, to the body.

Q. Is cabbage good for hair growth?

A. Cabbage contains relatively a higher amount of vitamin A, an antioxidant that increases your hair growth. Gently massage your scalp with some boiled cabbage along with a few drops of lemon juice and allow it to dry for 30 minutes.

Q. What is healthier, green or red cabbage?

A. When compared to green cabbage, red cabbage contains ten times more vitamins. It also possesses flavonoids and prevents cancer. In addition, it has more antioxidants compared to green cabbage, which improve immune health. The phytonutrient content in red cabbage fights inflammation and arthritis.

About the Author

Doctorate in Food Science and Nutrition, double gold medalist and national scholarship holder, Dr Swati believes that nutrition is not just the science of healthy eating but also the art of healthy living. With a work experience of over 7 years in R&D and nutrition counseling, she holds expertise in food formulation and analysis, lifestyle modification, weight management, and chronic disease management. An active member of IDA, she is been mentioned in various publications, articles and has a patent under her name. Being familiar with nutritional intervention and its importance, she believes in an interdisciplinary approach for a healthy lifestyle.

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