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Traditionally, cabbage has been considered both as medicine and food. In initial years, it is cultivated in the wild and considered more like kale leaves without head.

It is supposed that cabbage was transported to Europe round 600 BCE by Celtic nomads. Later, cabbage was much respected by the ancient Romans and Greeks. In time, cabbage spread across Europe and became mostly popular in Germany, Russia and Poland. Today, cabbage is mostly grown in Japan, Russia, china and Poland. There are three main types green, savoy and red. (Savoy has a milder and more subtle taste compared to red and green cabbage.)

Cabbage is an extremely nourishing food. It is an outstanding source of vitamins C and K and a very good source of dietary fiber, foliate, manganese, vitamin B6 and omega 3 fatty acids. Cabbage is supposed to be a good source of vitamins A, B1, and B2, potassium, calcium and protein. Additionally, cabbage consists of phytochemicals like indole-d’Carbinol, isothiocyanates and glucosinolates which are supposed to have anti-cancer properties. But, it is significant to review the study, the vast majority of which centers on these anti-cancer properties.


Breast Cancer

Research was conducted on the Polish immigrant groups around Detroit and Chicago. Research included hundreds of Polish-American women and women who were born in Poland and settled to the United States. In accordance to Dr. Pathak, within one generation, the amounts of breast cancer among the females tripled. What seems to be the offender? Dr. Pathak considers it is closely related with the consumption of cabbage.

Dr. Pathak and other scientists separated their subjects into one of three cabbage consuming groups: low consumers (1.5 servings or less per week), reasonable consumers (1.5 to 3 servings per week), and high consumers (more than three servings per week). Because it is supposed that heating decreases the bio-availability of the glucosinolates in cabbage, only portions of raw and briefly boiled cabbage were supposed in the calculation.

In a truly striking finding, when linked to the adolescents and women who consumed 1.5 or fewer portions of raw or short-cooked cabbage or sauerkraut per week, the women who consumed more than three servings of these foods had a 72 percent decreased chance of breast cancer. Stimulatingly, the opposite relationship was strongest when high quantities of cabbage were consumed during adolescence, even when lower quantities were consumed in maturity. Though, high consumption of cabbage in adulthood was also related with a decreased chance for breast cancer. In the article Dr. Pathak is cited, “This is a unique population. Poles consume cabbage in numerous forms, and a lot of it three times more than Americans. Working with the migrant population allowed us to study the effect of a wide range of exposures to cabbage that can’t be found in the U.S. population.’’

In a study, researchers from Santa Barbara, California, and Urbana, Illinois, noted that cabbage and other cruciferous Veggies consist of a kind of isothiocyanate known as sulforaphane or SFN. They found that sulforaphane prevents the development of cancer cells, much like the anticancer drugs taxol and vincristine, and results in cell death. But, sulforaphane is fragile than those anticancer drugs and less poisonous.  Scientist noted that, “it is significant to conclude whether SFN might assist or interfere with conventional chemotherapy.” Why? “SFN may be beneficial not only for avoidance of cancer but also for cure of cancer along with the normally used conventional drugs.”

Bladder Cancer

In a study, researchers examined the diets of 697 patients with newly diagnosed bladder cancer and 708 healthy people, complemented by age, ethnicity and gender. Scientist found that the normal consumption of cruciferous vegetables, like cabbage, was considerably lower in the people with bladder cancer compared to those who were healthy. In fact, when compared to the people who consumed the least quantity of cruciferous vegetables, the people who consumed the most had a 29 percent lower risk for the disease. Protective components of these vegetables were also obvious in those who are at highest risk for bladder cancer: smokers, men and individuals who are at least 64 years old.

Pancreatic Cancer

In a study, researchers examined the effects of one type of isothiocyanate, known as benzyl isothiocyanate, on cultures of pancreatic cancer cells and on a mouse model of pancreatic cancer. The researchers concluded that when pancreatic cancer cells were exposed to benzyl isothiocyanate, there were high amounts of cell death (apoptosis). Furthermore, the healthy pancreatic cells were unaffected by the cures.


In a study, researchers in New Jersey and South Korea observed the use of sulforaphane on mice that are raised to develop intestinal polyps, the precursor to colorectal cancer. Scientists found that when these mice were fed sulforaphane, their tumors were tiny and grew at a slower rate. When the mice did develop polyps, most of the polyps self-destructed. And, the mice that were fed greater amounts of sulforaphane had a lower chance of developing polyps than those on the lower dose. Scientists concluded that sulforaphane consist of chemo-protective action.

Cardiovascular health

Researchers have determined that small quantity of indole’3’Carbinol has the capability to reduce the liver’s secretion of apolipoprotein B’lOO (apoB), the primary transporter of LDL (bad) cholesterol to tissues. Since LDL has been related with plaque development in the blood vessels, reducing the quantity of LDL is a clear cardiovascular benefit.

Researchers from England’s University of Warwick determined that sulforaphane caused the production of a protein known as nrf2 which assists blood vessel health. When sulforaphane was present, the activation of nrf2 doubled. This support takes place even in blood vessels which have been damaged, a case more probable in people with diabetes. Furthermore, blood vessel damage is an important cause of illness and mortality in individuals with diabetes.

One caveat

Members of the cabbage family consists of goitrogens, naturally occurring substances that some compete may hinder with the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. Since cooking possibly helps to deactivate the goitrogens, people with known thyroid illness, like hypothyroidism, may wish to evade eating raw cabbage. People must argue this issue with healthcare workers. Should cabbage be included in the diet? In most cases absolutely.

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