Cabbage Nutrition Facts

Calories and Their Health Benefits

Field of cabbage
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Cabbage has been a staple of northern European cuisine for centuries. And rightfully so, as it is a healthy, low-calorie, low-carbohydrate, fiber rich vegetable that can take on may different flavors, making it a versatile cooking ingredient. It is also one of the most inexpensive vegetables and keeps for a very long time.

There are several varieties of cabbage, including head cabbage, napa cabbage and savoy cabbage.

Typically, cabbage leaves are green, but red and purple cabbage is also available. Red or purple cabbage is a different strain of cabbage and may be tougher than green cabbage.

Most cabbage is available all year long, with peak season for savoy cabbage being from August through spring.

Cabbage Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 cup, chopped raw (89 g)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 22 
Calories from Fat 1 
Total Fat 0.1g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g 
Monounsaturated Fat 0g 
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 16mg1%
Potassium 151.3mg4%
Carbohydrates 5.2g2%
Dietary Fiber 2.2g9%
Sugars 2.8g 
Protein 1.1g 
Vitamin A 2% · Vitamin C 54%
Calcium 4% · Iron 2%

*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

One cup of raw, chopped cabbage contains only 22 calories, 5 grams of carbohydrates, and 2.2 grams of fiber. Almost half of the carbohydrates found in cabbage come from fiber, making it a filling, heart healthy food choice. Cabbage is cholesterol and fat-free and contains a negligible amount of sodium.

Cabbage Health Benefits

Cabbage is a good source of fiber. Fiber, the indigestible part of carbohydrate, is an important nutrient in the diet as it helps to keep you full, can pull cholesterol away from the heart, regulates bowels, and maintains steady blood sugar. Studies have found that those who eat adequate amounts of fiber are at healthier weights and have a reduced risk of heart disease and certain cancer.

Cabbage is also an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin K, a good source of folate, and a good source of manganese.

In addition, cabbage is one of the cruciferous vegetables shown to have anti-cancer properties. Studies suggest that ingesting 3 to 5 servings per week of these vegetables (including cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, and collard greens) can help protect from several types of cancer including prostate, lung, breast, and colon cancers. The reason for this may be because of how these vegetables activate certain enzymes in the liver, which bind to carcinogens.

Common Questions About Cabbage 

I thought coleslaw was fattening, isn't that made of cabbage?

Traditional coleslaw, that of which is usually served as a side dish in a deli or restaurant, typically is made with sugar and mayonnaise, making it a high calorie and high fat food. However, homemade coleslaw, made with other ingredients such as low-fat Greek yogurt, may contain only one-third of the calories as coleslaw that you get on-the-go.

It is easy to make substitutions and additions to coleslaw, making it a fiber and protein packed side-dish that is low in calories, sugar, and fat. You can play around with some of the recipes below for good substitutions.

Why does cabbage smell when being cooked?

If you're steaming or sauteing cabbage, you might notice an unpleasant smell in the air, similar to flatulence. This is because of the sulfur compounds in cabbage activated during the heating process. To minimize the smell, try splashing with a bit of acid, like lemon juice, to inhibit the activation.

Picking and Storing Cabbage 

Choose firm heads that are free of blemishes. The cores should not be dried out.

Keep cabbage wrapped whole in the refrigerator to maintain freshness. Aim to keep it whole until ready to use. Cutting it before use will speed up the spoiling process.

Healthy Ways to Prepare Cabbage

Cabbage can be eaten raw and shredded like coleslaw or used in soups and stews. It can be steamed, stir-fried, or braised. You can also steam the leaves and use them as a wrap for meat or another filling, low-carbohydrate meal option.

Recipes With Cabbage

Use cabbage as a base for your protein, saute it for a simple side dish, or make some Asian and Thai inspired coleslaw for a nutritious and delicious low calorie slaw substitution.

Sources:

Labensky, SR, Hause, AM. On Cooking: A textbook of Culinary Fundamentals. 3rd ed. Upper Sadle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2003: 616

Steinkellner H, Rabot S, Freywald C, et al. Effects of cruciferous vegetables and their constituents on drug metabolizing enzymes involved in the bioactivation of DNA-reactive dietary carcinogens. Mutation research Sep 1;480-481:285-97 (2001).

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