A Head Above the Rest
Prevent breast, prostate, and colon cancers
Lower the risk of cataracts
Prevent heart disease and birth defects
Ancient Roman healers thought that they could cure breast cancer by rubbing on pastes made from this super vegetable.
A few years ago, modern scientists would have dismissed that practice as so much folklore.
Now they're not so sure.
Studies have shown that if you make this super veggie into a paste and rub it on the backs of laboratory animals, you can prevent tumors from developing.
Of course, the best way to absorb it's healing properties, is simply to eat it.
It not only fights off a variety of cancers but also contains a wealth of nutrients that can ward off heart disease, digestive problems, and other conditions, according to research.
Cabbage Against Cancer
Like other members of the cruciferous vegetable family, cabbage contains several compounds that studies show can help prevent cancers from occurring.
It's particularly effective in preventing cancers of the breast, prostate gland, and colon.
There are two compounds in particular that scientists believe make this super vegetable a particularly potent cancer-fighting food.
The first of these, indole-3carbinol, or I3C, is especially effective against breast cancer, research shows.
The compound acts as an anti-estrogen, meaning that it sweeps up harmful estrogens that have been linked to breast cancer.
In one study, researchers gave a group of Israeli women about a third of a head of cabbage a day for three months.
After five days of eating the fortified diet, the women's levels of harmful hormones dropped significantly.
There was no doubt that if we gave women pure I3C, it would work.
But this study showed that for the average person, eating this or a cabbage-like vegetable, like broccoli, would have the same effect.
For even more protection, try replacing your usual variety with bok choy, or Chinese.
Lab research has found that a compound in bok choy called brassinin may help prevent breast tumors.
Cabbage contains another compound, sulforaphane, which has been shown to block cancer by stepping up the production of tumor-preventing enzymes in the body.
In a pioneering study at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, scientists exposed 145 laboratory animals to a powerful cancer-causing chemical.
Twenty-five of the animals had not received any special treatment, while the rest had been fed high doses of sulforaphane.
Fifty days later, 68 percent of the unprotected animals had breast tumors, compared with only 26 percent of those given high doses of sulforaphane.
Sulforaphane makes this super vegetable a particularly prized fighter in the battle against colon cancer, because it stimulates levels of an enzyme called glutathione in the colon, which researchers believe sweeps toxins out of the body before they have a chance to damage the delicate cells lining the intestinal wall.
Eating any kind on a regular basis will probably lower your risk for cancer.
To get the best possible protection, however, you can't do better than the savoy variety, according to researchers.
Savoy contains not only I3C and sulforaphane but also four other tongue-twisting phytonutrients, beta-sitosterol, pheophytin-a, nonacosane, and nonacosanone, that studies show are powerful contenders against potential cancer-causing agents.
You've heard a lot about antioxidants such as vitamins-C and E and betacarotene, which help ward off disease by mopping up harmful oxygen molecules called free radicals that naturally accumulate in the body.
Free radicals damage healthy tissues throughout the body, causing changes that can lead to heart disease, cancer, and other serious conditions.
In the Kitchen
As produce goes, this one is a cook's best friend.
It's versatile, inexpensive, readily available, and easy to prepare.
Sure, there's that smell, but that's easily remedied.
The next time you're cooking, add a celery stalk or whole English walnut (in the shell) to the pot.
This will help neutralize the powerful odor.
Or simply cook it more quickly, using the microwave or wok rather than a slow-cooking pot.
Long cooking times release more of the strong-smelling sulfur compounds.
Members of the cabbage family are packed with these nutritious compounds.
Particularly good are types like Bok Choy and Savoy, which are super sources of beta-carotene, a nutrient that other varieties don't have in abundance.
High blood levels of beta-carotene are related to lower incidences of heart attacks, certain types of cancers and cataracts.
Not only are these super vegetables high in beta-carotene; they're also a good source of vitamin-C, which has been shown to boost immunity as well as reduce blood pressure and fight heart disease.
A half-cup serving of raw bok choy provides 16 milligrams of vitamin-C, 27 percent of the Daily Value (DV), while the same amount of raw savoy cabbage supplies 11 milligrams, 18 percent of the DY.
Both bok choy and savoy are also decent sources of folate, with a half-cup of either providing about 35 micrograms, or 9 percent of the DY.
Your body uses folate for normal tissue growth.
Studies show that folate also may protect against cancer, heart disease, and birth defects.
Research shows that women are at high risk for folate deficiency, especially if they take birth control pills.
Getting the Most
Keep a cool head.
Boiling cabbage removes about half the valuable indoles, experts say.
To preserve these compounds at maximum levels, experts advise eating it raw, mixed in with a green salad, for example, or concentrated in coleslaw.
Enjoy the variety.
To get the healing benefits of this super vegetable several times a week without getting bored, explore the different varieties.
Green, red, and savoy, along with bok choy, all are high in protective compounds.
They can be eaten raw in coleslaw, slow-cooked in soup, or wrapped around your favorite filling.
We often avoid stocking up on fresh produce because it can go bad so quickly.
Never fear with cabbage though.
A head will keep for up to 10 days in the crisper drawer, making it easy to eat a little bit each day without worrying about it spoiling.
And, if you're wondering what to have for dinner, may we suggest;
Spicy Cabbage Soup
The unusual combination of vegetables in this healthy soup are brought together beautifully with the spices.
The sauté cooking method makes it light and healthier without heating oils or compromising flavor.
Prep and Cook Time: 45 minutes
1 med. onion, quartered and sliced thin
3 med. cloves garlic, chopped
1-2 tsp. minced fresh chili pepper (serrano, or jalapeno)
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 Tbs. dry mustard
5 c. + 1 Tbs. chicken or vegetable broth
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
2 med. sized red potatoes cut in 1/2 inch cubes, about two cups
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
3 c. thinly sliced Savoy or green cabbage, sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Heat 1 Tbs. broth in a medium soup pot.
Saute sliced onion over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
Stir in garlic and minced chili pepper.
Continue to saute for another minute.
Stir in dried coriander and mustard, and add broth, add rest of the ingredients except cabbage, salt and pepper.
Simmer for about 20 minutes, uncovered, or until potatoes are tender.
Add your super vegetable and cook for another 5 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Healthy Cooking Tips:
Add more spices and chili pepper if you'd like it spicier.
Let soup simmer for a little longer for a richer taste.Tweet
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