Everyone’s asking this question ‘Is cabbage good for weight loss’and of course my answer is yes. I’ve done a lot of research on cabbage, have tried it in my own diet, and researched every expert opinion on cabbage. If you’re interested in the full story, keep reading! Cabbage has earned a bad reputation, being associated mostly with soup. However, it is a nutritional powerhouse that can play an important role in weight loss. Check out how cabbage can help you get there.
Here are five benefits of adding cabbage to your diet
1. Packed with nutrients
This low calorie (22 calories per serving) vegetable contains protein, folate, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. It also contains a host of vitamins, such as K, B6, and C. These nutrients help facilitate critical bodily functions such as metabolism and the nervous system. As per research by Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, cabbage is high in fiber and contains powerful antioxidants that help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.
2. Helps reduce inflammation
Chronic inflammation is associated with many serious diseases such as heart ailments, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. Cruciferous (plants of the cabbage family) vegetables like cabbage contain antioxidants, which can help reduce chronic inflammation. Antioxidants such as sulforaphane and kaempferol found in cabbage provide an anti-inflammatory effect, as per research published by the journal Clinical Phytoscience.
3. Aids digestion
This vegetable contains gut-friendly insoluble fiber. As per research published by World Journal of Gastroenterology, fiber helps maintain the health of the digestive system by adding bulk to the stool and promoting regular bowel movements.
4. Weight management
Cabbage is low in calories. In fact, one cup of cooked cabbage has only 34 calories, making it an excellent option for weight management. It also has a high fiber content, which boosts energy levels and creates a sense of fullness in the stomach. As per a study published by the journal Nutrition Reviews, an increase in either soluble or insoluble fiber intake increases post-meal satiety and decreases subsequent hunger.
5. Regulates blood pressure
Cabbage is an excellent source of Potassium, which is an important mineral and electrolyte that promotes bodily functions, including blood pressure levels. A high blood pressure can be a life-threatening condition, if not treated in a timely manner through interventions both dietary and exercise oriented. Potassium helps regulate blood pressure by counteracting the effects of sodium content in the body. In fact, as per American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, eating potassium-rich cabbage is a delicious way to lower high blood pressure and it helps to keep it in a healthy range.
5 Reasons to Enjoy Cabbage
I’ll plant a few cabbages this year, because:
- Cabbage offers huge health benefits that can not be ignored! Many health benefits are similar to broccoli (they’re in the same plant family). Cabbage is high in beta-carotene, vitamin C and fiber. (Vitamin C to reduce toxins which are the main causes of arthritis, gout, and skin diseases.) Also, cabbage may reduce the risk of some forms of cancer including colorectal cancers.
- It’s cheap and widely available year-round. There are so many varieties of cabbage, too, including Green, Savoy, red, Napa, bok choy, and Brussels Sprouts (tiny cabbages!). It is possible to enjoy eating cabbage pretty much all year round. Although most any cabbage will work for any use, plant breeders have developed many varieties in many colors and textures. Some are sweet, mild, tender as lettuce; others rock hard and good for shredding or slicing crosswise into thick “steaks” for roasting.
- Cabbage lasts longer in the fridge than most vegetables. If cabbage is properly stored, it can last from 3 weeks to up to 2 months in your refrigerator. In optimum root cellar conditions, it can even last longer. Store in a hydrator drawer if possible. Do not remove the outer leaves nor wash until ready to use.
- It’s versatile. I’ve sliced it into soups and salads, shredded it into coleslaws, stir-fried it with onions and apples, fermented it into sauerkraut, stuffed whole cabbages or individual cabbage leaves, steamed it, boiled it, fried it, roasted it, and grilled it. I’ve even experimented with cabbage desserts, not always successfully! (See more about cooking below.)
- Cabbage is even great for weight loss and beautiful skin! I’m sure you’ve heard of the cabbage diet (not that I would recommend it). There are only 33 calories in a cup of cooked cabbage, and it is low in fat and high in fiber. Cabbage also helps keep skin looking healthy, toned, blemish-free and glowing; it’s rich in antioxidants (including vitamin C and beta-carotene).
How to Buy Cabbage
In the grocery store, always look for cabbage heads that feel heavy for their size and, except for Napa cabbage, have tightly packed leaves. The heads don’t need to be perfect; you can peel off and discard the outer leaves.
The most common cabbage is green, but red cabbage has become increasingly popular for color in salads and cooked dishes. There are also very pretty Savoy varieties with waves of blue-green leaves which are best raw in salads or in a slaw. Cooked Savoys do not have the strong sulfur odor of green cabbage.
How to Cook Cabbage
Sadly, many folks think cabbage as smelly, but blame the cook, not the cabbage. This odor is the result of overcooking. If you make the common mistake of overcooking cabbage, I urge you to try again! Do NOT overcook cabbage! The longer the cabbage is cooked, the more smelly it becomes.
If boiling cabbage, cook very briefly, just until tender. Do not cook cabbage in aluminum pans; use stainless steel pots and pans. Finally, it helps to add a few drops of vinegar while cooking or wipe the inside lid of the pan with vinegar.
- Or, try steaming wedges of cabbage for 5 to 7 minutes. Top with butter and a pinch of salt and pepper or even with grated cheese.
- Another idea is to sear cabbage by heating it in a very hot pan with a little bit of olive oil and butter (and a pinch of salt) until the cabbage wilts.
- Or, try roasting cabbage. Get the roasting pan really hot in the oven, and then put wedges of cabbage (tossed in olive oil and a little salt), and roast until slightly caramelized.
- Cabbage is wonderful added to sautes and stir fries. It tastes great alongside peppers, onions, etc.
- Cabbage is also great in a coleslaw. Chop finely or shred and then toss with shredded carrots and green onions. Add any other vegetables that you would like. Toss with a yogurt/mayonnaise dill dressing or a vinaigrette.
- Large cabbage leaves can replace a tortilla for light and summery wrap sandwiches
Does Cabbage Burn Fat?
Although cabbage is a healthful low-calorie vegetable, many people have come to associate it with weight loss because of the popular “cabbage soup diet.” Creative marketing has led people to believe that cabbage actually burns body fat. No foods, including cabbage, actually burn body fat. While this may come as a disappointment for dieters, cabbage is still a healthful addition to any weight loss diet.
Cabbage for Diets
Even though cabbage will not burn fat from your body, it is still ideal for your weight loss diet because it is so low in calories. A half cup of cabbage is only 17 calories. An entire head of cabbage that can be used to prepare a large salad is less than 300 calories. In his book “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth,” Dr. Jonny Bowden, Ph.D. and clinical nutrition specialist, reports that one cup of cooked cabbage has 4 grams of dietary fiber, which is quite a lot considering it is such an insignificant source of calories. Dietary fiber is important because it helps you control your appetite and keeps your blood sugar levels stable.
Since cabbage does not burn body fat, you may be confused about how exactly it can still make you lose fat. Weight loss and fat burn are actually matters of “simple math,” according to the University of Illinois. In short, to lose weight, you have to burn a greater number of calories than you consume. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain, “substitution” is the key to losing weight with low-calorie vegetables such as cabbage. You will want to substitute cabbage for foods that are high in calories. For example, preparing a 100-calorie cabbage-based salad in lieu of a 400-calorie pasta dish would remove 300 calories from your diet. Ideally, you will want to remove 500 to 1,000 calories from your daily caloric intake to lose weight.
Dr. Bowden considers cabbage to be one of the most nutritious foods that you can eat. Cabbage is rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, beta-carotene and lutein, which supports your vision. It is also rich in antioxidant phytochemicals. Specially, cabbage is a concentrated source of antioxidant compounds called “anthocyanins”; these are the same compounds that make blueberries so healthful. Dr. Bowden explains that these flavonoids significantly reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which are major factors in heart disease.
what’s the deal with cabbage and weight loss?
Some people do end up losing weight with regular consumption of cabbage and cabbage soup. But what is the reason behind this? It is known that no food can lead to weight loss. So the key to weight loss is actually consumption of foods which are low in calories and high in fibre. When you fill up on low-calorie foods, your overall calorie intake goes down, as a result, you lose weight over time.
And this is not just for cabbage, whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables can help in doing the same task. So don’t just stick to cabbage for losing weight, go for other foods as well. Your diet should be a combination of all healthy foods which together make up for your nutritional requirements. Primarily consuming cabbage soup for a long period of time can lead to deficiencies of some nutrients.
Are there any side effects?
Excess of a highly nutritious vegetable like cabbage can also have its drawbacks. If you are taking blood thinners, then high consumption of cabbage can interfere with your medication. It can also have some unpleasant effects on your digestive system. You may end up with loose stools due to a diet high in fibre.
So to conclude, it can be stated that cabbage is a very healthy food which should be a part of your diet but does not have a strong effect on weight loss. Weight loss linked with cabbage consumption is mostly about losing water weight and a few lean tissues which is short term weight loss.
What is the ‘cabbage soup diet’? How can it help you lose weight ?
As the name suggests, the ‘cabbage soup diet’ is a short-term weight loss diet plan that involves eating large amounts of cabbage soup for seven days. Reportedly, following the diet for just a week can lead to weight loss of up to 4.5 kilos as it dramatically limits calories. When on this diet, you can also eat certain foods, such as fruits, veggies, skim milk, etc – as per a set schedule.
It is claimed that the cabbage soup diet helps you lose weight by jump-starting your metabolism and fat mobilisation. The low-calorie diet helps to restrict your calorie intake and makes your body to use fat as the energy source. Moreover, cabbage is rich vitamins, minerals and nutrients, including fibre, which helps detoxify and support your weight loss.
How to prepare and use the cabbage soup diet for weight loss
The cabbage soup diet is easy to make. The ingredients used in the diet can vary based on the source, and here’s a simple basic recipe of the soup.
- 1 head of cabbage
- 2 large onions
- 2 green peppers
- 3 carrots
- 1 large tomato
- 1 bunch of celery
- 3-4 mushrooms
- 4-5 garlic cloves
- 5-6 cups water or vegetable broth
- Coriander leaves and a pinch of black and white pepper for garnishing
- Chop all the vegetables into cubes or small pieces.
- Boil the broth in a large soup container.
- Add all the ingredients to the container and stir well.
- Cover and bring to boil, then reduce to medium heat. Let the soup simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
- Season the cabbage soup with salt, coriander leaves, peppers etc.
- Serve hot.
The cabbage soup diet is an eating plan that is ideal for a quick weight loss and detox. But it is intended to last no longer than 1 week at a time. While on this diet, you may feel weak or tired while on the diet since you’re not getting all essential nutrients required by your body – the diet is low in complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals. Additionally, consuming large amounts of sulphur-containing veggies such as cabbage can cause bloating. Many health experts also warn that the eating plan is unhealthy and will not yield sustainable results.
The bottom line is that fad diets like the cabbage soup diet may be tempting, but making healthy changes in your diet and exercise habits and sticking to them can help you lose weight safely and keep it off for life.