Did you know that the cabbage (Brassica oleracea) is a vegetable with one of the longest histories of consumption in the world? Though its first use dates back to prehistoric times, it became popular in the age of Antiquity, and traditional medicine texts show it was used for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Hippocrates, the greatest figure in ancient medicine, described the cabbage as a ‘vegetable with a thousand virtues’. The philosopher Pythagoras also enthused about its natural virtues, while Cato the Elder, a powerful politician in ancient Rome, described it as the universal remedy for all illnesses.
The therapeutic benefits of cabbages are due to their high nutrient content. Cauliflower, headed cabbage, red cabbage, Brussels sprouts, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, Romanesco cabbage, kale … all varieties of cabbage provide multiple nutrients that benefit our health. In particular, they contain vitamin C and certain B group vitamins such as vitamin B9 which plays a key role in the metabolism of amino acids and the production of DNA. Some varieties also contain copper, selenium and potassium, minerals that participate in a number of physiological functions.
Apart from being nutritionally rich, cabbages are also recognised for their antioxidant content. Several varieties contain potent natural antioxidants which are able to combat the harmful effects of oxidative stress, a process involved in premature ageing and the development of certain diseases. This is why supplementation with natural antioxidants is often recommended to prevent age-related health problems. The antioxidants found in cabbage include several that are now available as nutritional supplements, such as sulforaphane glucosinolate and quercetin.
The antioxidants in varieties of cabbage also offer beneficial effects for the body’s defence system. The sulforaphane glucosinolate in broccoli, for example, has anti-bacterial properties, while quercetin, notably present in kale, has an anti-inflammatory effect. The vitamin C in many cabbage varieties plays a key role in protecting the body by helping the immune system to function properly.
We should also mention the detoxifying and cleansing properties of cabbages. These cruciferous vegetables are indeed often recommended for detoxifying the liver and cleansing the body. As part of a detox programme, the benefits of these crucifers can be obtained from the supplement blend Cruciferous Detox Formula. The detoxifying properties of cabbages, coupled with their low calorie, high-fibre content, makes them a valuable aid in any slimming diet.
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