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From constipation to cancer, cure could lie in humble cabbage

Consumption of fruits and vegetables are known to treat various health conditions. Likewise, the seasonal cabbage is said to be loaded with diindolylmethane (DIM) and sulforaphane, offering a vast array of health benefits.

From constipation to cancer, cure could lie in humble cabbage


Dr Vinitha Krishnan, Nutritionist, Fortis Malar Hospital, pointed out, “Animal studies have shown that DIM in cabbage has protective effects against cancer, and there is also hope for using it as a shield to protect healthy tissues during cancer treatment in the future. 

Research over the past 30 years has consistently shown that consuming cruciferous vegetables is associated with a lower risk of cancer. Researchers have suggested that the sulforaphane is what appears to give them their cancer-fighting power. 

Promising results have been seen with multiple types of cancers, including melanoma, oesophageal, prostate, and pancreatic. The same potent anthocyanin’s in red cabbage has the ability to suppress the inflammation that may lead to cardiovascular disease.  

The high polyphenol content in cabbage might also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by preventing platelet buildup and reducing blood pressure.

She added that a popular way to consume cabbage is in a fermented form such as sauerkraut (raw cut and fermented with lactic acid bacteria) and kimchi (salted and fermented). 

“Chocked full of probiotics, fermented foods might be one of the best things for the immune and digestive systems. Healthy microbes produced in fermentation make vitamins and minerals easier to absorb. The fibre and water content in cabbage help to prevent constipation and maintain a healthy digestive tract.”

She also pointed out that an edible plant in the cabbage family—broccoli is rich in dozens of nutrients and has loads of health benefits.

She said, “Broccoli reduces the risk of many life style related disease like obesity, diabetes, hypertension and overall mortality. Folate in broccoli is found to lower risk of breast cancer in women. Protecting effects of folate is also reported in colon, stomach, pancreatic and cervical cancer. It also helps people with arthritis as it has omega-three- fatty acids and protects the eyes.”

She further added that it has anti-oxidants like carotenoids, lutin, zeataxin, zeaxanthin and B-carotene Contains Vitamin-A, Vitamin-C, Vitamin-B all of which  prevents eyes against macular degeneration, cataract and repairs damage against harmful radiation.

Being rich in magnesium, zinc and phosphorous, it is immensely beneficial for children, elderly and lactating mothers.” She observed that the best way to eat it is in the form of soups or steamed. People on blood thinners should avoid it.

Do not miss these

  • Tomato: Tomatoes are the major dietary source of antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer
  • Brinjal: Being rich in nutrients it is also believed to be helpful in promoting weight loss
  • Chili: One of the most understated benefit of the vegetable is that it helps in pain relief 
  • Pumpkin: It is rich in nutrients and protects eyesight.
  • Cucumber: Low in calories, it helps promote digestion and it is for the same reason, a favourite ingredient in salads

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