Cabbage has a long history of use as food and medicine, dating back to ancient Celtic, Greek and Roman societies. With a deep rooted history, this gem is featured among food cultures of northern Europe, especially in German, Polish and Russian cuisine. Steaming is the best way to cook cabbage to retain the maximum nutritional value. When steamed, the fiber-related components in cabbage help stimulate excretion of bile acids in your digestive tract, resulting in lower cholesterol levels. Interestingly, research has shown that not all cabbages are created equal.
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To get the broadest health benefits from cabbage, include red, green and Savoy cabbages in your diet. While cabbage in general is an excellent source of sinigrin, a compound that has shown unique properties that help guard against bladder, colon and prostate cancers, Savoy cabbage has the highest sinigrin content. Although, a recent study suggests that long-cooked cabbage may lose its cancer-preventive benefits, so it is important to keep steaming time to a minimum or eat this cabbage raw.
Red cabbage also has additional nutritional benefits including a concentration of more protective phytonutrients than green cabbage. The phytonutrients in red cabbage are excellent dietary antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and offer protection from a number of human diseases. Cabbage juice has long been established by health research as an aid for healing peptic (stomach) ulcers, but recent studies suggest that the benefits of cabbage may extend to the entire digestive tract.
When choosing cabbage heads, go for those that are firm and dense with shiny, crisp, colorful leaves free of cracks, bruises, and blemishes. Avoid buying pre-cut cabbage, either halved or shredded, since once cabbage is cut, it begins to lose its valuable vitamin C content. To wash, remove the thick fibrous outer leaves, cut into quarters, remove the core and cut the cabbage into pieces, then wash under running water. If you notice any signs of worms or insects, which sometimes appears in cabbage, soak the head in salt water or vinegar water for 15 to 20 minutes first. To preserve vitamin C content, cut and wash the cabbage right before cooking or eating it. Keeping cabbage cold will also help keep it fresh and retain its vitamin C content. Put the whole head in a container in the crisper of your refrigerator. Red and green cabbage will keep this way for about two weeks while Savoy cabbage will keep for about a week.
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Cabbage. The World’s Healthiest Foods. http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=19