Purple cabbage is closely related to green cabbage; it’s simply a different variety of the cabbage plant. Surprisingly, they even taste similar-the main difference between the two is the color and nutritional profile. Purple cabbage’s rich color is credited to a number of beneficial plant compounds that make it a nutritional powerhouse. In this article, we’ll review the many health benefits of purple cabbage, according to science.
Purple Cabbage Nutrition Facts
According to the USDA database, One cup (89 grams) of chopped, raw, purple cabbage contains the following nutrients (6):
- Calories: 27.9
- Protein: 1.29 gram
- Carbs: 6.63 grams
- Fiber: 1.89 grams
- Vitamin C: 56% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin K: 28% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 11% of the DV
- Vitamin A: 6% of the DV
- Potassium: 5% of the DV
- Thiamine: 5% of the DV
- Riboflavin: 5% of the DV
Purple cabbage also provides small amounts of iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and zinc.
Purple Cabbage Benefits
Due to its nutritional profile, purple cabbage offers the following health benefits:
Rich In Disease-Fighting Antioxidants
Purple cabbage is a great source of antioxidants and other beneficial plant compounds that help protect against cellular damage.
Vitamin C is the most well-known of the antioxidants in cabbage. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means it is not stored in the body and must be replenished daily . It performs many essential functions in the body including wound healing, strengthening blood vessels and tissues, maintaining healthy gums and teeth, and supporting the immune system (25).
In addition to vitamin C, purple cabbage also contains other antioxidants including carotenoids such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which supports eye health (1).
Purple cabbage is also a source of flavonoid compounds called anthocyanins, which are being studied for their antioxidant effects.
Anthocyanins are one of the most potent types of antioxidants found in plants (2). Their presence gives certain fruits and vegetables their dark color, including eggplant, grapes, hawthorn berries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, and purple cabbage.
Anthocyanins have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties (11). Thus, they help protect against and relieve the pain associated with arthritis and other types of inflammatory conditions.
In addition to these, cabbage is a good source of indoles and sulforaphanes, which are phytonutrients that help protect against cancer. Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) in particular has been studied extensively in the laboratory and in animal studies for its anti-cancer effects. In test tube studies, sulforaphane has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells (10).
Read More: Cabbage Juice Benefits: Are There Any Reasons To Start Drinking This Juice?
Improved Heart Health
Purple cabbage has a number of nutrients that are good for your heart.
The purple color is due to antioxidants called anthocyanins. These pigments have been studied for their potential role in cancer prevention and heart disease, as well as other conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease (4).
Isoflavones may help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke by blocking an enzyme that stimulates the production of cholesterol in the liver (16). They also may protect against cancer.
Carotenoids may lower blood pressure and increase “good” HDL cholesterol. Fiber, abundant in purple-cabbage dishes, also helps lower “bad” LDL cholesterol (12).
Vitamin C is needed for collagen formation to maintain the wall of blood vessels, which may help prevent atherosclerosis (23). The American Heart Association suggests that people eat five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day to reduce their risk of heart disease through vitamin C consumption, as well as fiber, potassium, and other heart-healthy nutrients.
Improved Bone Health
Purple cabbage contains several bone-benefiting nutrients.
Vitamin C, a chemical necessary for the formation of collagen, is abundant in purple cabbage. Collagen is an important protein that makes up bone tissue and helps to strengthen bones and connective tissues such as tendons (5).
Vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin, is found in purple cabbage. Vitamin K assists the body in blood clotting and also helps to move calcium into the bones where it can benefit bone health (21). Purple cabbage also contains smaller amounts of calcium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Calcium is necessary for the development of healthy bones. Potassium works to assist the body in balancing fluid levels. Magnesium is required for the formation of bones and teeth as well as the production of energy from carbohydrates. Phosphorus works with calcium to help build strong bones (21).
Improved Gut Health
Purple cabbage can improve gut function due to the various nutrients it contains.
It contains anti-inflammatory compounds that help to reduce intestinal inflammation and is a great addition to your diet if you suffer from autoimmune or inflammatory gut conditions. It also contains fermentable fibers, which are fuel for the good bacteria in our guts. The insoluble fiber from purple cabbage can also help to reduce constipation (17).
In addition, antioxidants have been shown to protect the gut lining and reduce damage caused by free radicals (3). This may mean that antioxidant-rich purple cabbage can promote healthy digestion and prevent digestive issues like bloating gas, and constipation.
As a result, purple cabbage may improve overall gut health and support healthy bowel movements.
Improved Skin Health
The nutrients in purple cabbage make it one of the best vegetables you can eat for skin health.
This vegetable contains antioxidants that are not only good for your complexion but may also slow down the aging process.
Purple cabbage also contains vitamins A, C, and E (more than spinach), which are excellent for your skin. Vitamin A helps prevent acne breakouts and wrinkles. Vitamin C brightens your skin tone and helps with hyperpigmentation. Vitamin E helps prevent collagen crosslinking and lipid peroxidation which are linked again to skin (15).
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Helps To Lower Blood Pressure
Cabbage’s reputation as a blood-pressure-lowering food stems from its richness in two bioflavonoids—kaempferol and quercetin—which are potent antioxidants that may help prevent strokes, heart attacks, and kidney failure (14).
Antioxidants fight free radicals, which form in the body due to pollution and cigarette smoke and can damage blood vessel linings. Some studies show that cruciferous vegetable consumption may help prevent atherosclerosis (9).
Cabbage’s ability to lower cholesterol levels has also been well documented. It contains a number of phytochemicals, such as indoles and isothiocyanates that have been shown to inhibit the body’s production of cholesterol, not to mention fiber, which also helps lower cholesterol (20).
May Aid Weight Loss
As part of a balanced diet and along with exercise, purple cabbage can be a great weight-loss food. It contains a number of nutrients that aid weight loss.
For one, purple cabbage is high in fiber. This vegetable contains about 2 grams of dietary fiber per cup, which helps to keep you full longer and does not raise your blood sugar levels the way that other foods might. Fiber also helps lower cholesterol (17).
Secondly, it’s low in calories. A cup of raw purple cabbage contains only about 28 calories. A reduced-calorie diet may help to reduce the risk of obesity and weight gain, which are both associated with a number of health risks such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes (8).
Headache And Migraine Relief
The antioxidants in purple cabbage might help reduce migraine headaches by reducing inflammation within blood vessels.
Eating vegetables high in magnesium may also be effective for relieving migraines (19).
Purple cabbage is also a good source of vitamin K, a deficiency of which has been seen in some untreated migraine sufferers (26).
When these nutrients combine in your body, they can help reduce inflammation and prevent blood vessel constriction, both of which are factors that contribute to migraines and other types of headaches.
Memory Loss Prevention
One of the benefits of purple cabbage is that it contains anthocyanin, an antioxidant that possibly helps to prevent memory loss (18).
Anthocyanin might boost blood flow to our brain’s memory center, which may help improve our short-term recall.
Read More: Benefits Of Red Cabbage: Surprising Reasons You Should Add This Vegetable To Your Diet
Purple Cabbage Side Effects
Being aware of the possible purple cabbage side effects is important. Although this vegetable has many beneficial properties, there are some things about it you should know.
May Inhibit Functioning Of The Thyroid Gland
Purple cabbage contains goitrogens that may inhibit the functioning of the thyroid gland, especially if you also don’t get enough iodine in your diet (24). This vegetable is safe for most people when eaten in moderation, and cooking it can help lessen the effects of goitrogens. If you have a thyroid condition, talk to your doctor about how cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables might affect you.
May Cause Flatulence
Cabbage contains significant quantities of raffinose, an indigestible sugar. Eating too much of it can cause uncomfortable side effects such as gas and flatulence (22).
Cabbage contains high amounts of fiber , which is essential for proper digestion of food. However, too much of it can lead to stomach aches and diarrhea (13). Always start slow when increasing your fiber intake and advance gradually, making sure you drink plenty of fluids as well.
May Interact With Blood Thinning Medication
This vegetable contains vitamin K, which can help reduce the effectiveness of these kinds of medications (27). The most important thing is to keep your vitamin K intake consistent and not vary it widely from day to day. Talk to your doctor and dietitian about vitamin K intake if you are on warfarin or another blood thinning medication. It is always best to consult with a healthcare provider before changing your diet if you are on any medication.
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How To Eat Cabbage For Proper Nutrition
Purple cabbage is a versatile vegetable that can be eaten in a variety of different dishes.
When buying purple cabbage, look for smaller heads that are firm and have a deep color. Avoid buying cabbage with limp leaves or those that have been bruised, as these can reduce the nutritional value of this vegetable.
Purple cabbage can be eaten raw or cooked for maximum nutritional benefits.
It is best not to overcook the cabbage because this may reduce the benefits that it has to offer. When cooking purple cabbage, you should always remove the outer leaves and cut them into small pieces before adding them to a dish. Although cooking the cabbage will make some of the nutrients easier for your body to absorb, cooking it can reduce the potency of some others.
Here are some meal ideas using purple cabbage:
Use It Raw In Coleslaw
You can use purple cabbage to make a crunchy, refreshing slaw. Cut the cabbage into small pieces and add it to your favorite dressing. You can also top it with fruits or nuts for added flavor.
Use It Raw In Salad
Cabbage blends well with other vegetables, so it is recommended that you use it along with carrots, cucumbers and onions. Add olive oil and vinegar to your favorite dressing and top your salad with some nuts or seeds for extra crunchiness!
Add It To Your Soup
Purple cabbage can be blended into a smooth soup. Try adding it to a tomato base along with other vegetables like carrots, green beans and zucchini for an antioxidant-rich meal that is easy to digest.
Add It To Your Omelet
This delicious purple vegetable can be used to make low-carb omelets. Simply combine two beaten eggs with some spices and add some purple cabbage to enhance the flavor of your omelet.
Stir Fry It With Your Meals
Add some color to your plate by stir-frying this vegetable with your favorite meat and vegetables. You can also mix it in a salad, pasta or fried rice for added texture and flavor.
Blend It In Your Smoothie
Purple cabbage can be added to your favorite smoothie for a healthy, delicious drink that is great for breakfast or as an afternoon snack.
Add It To Your Juice
If you are looking for ways to incorporate purple cabbage into your diet, try using it as the base of your juice . This vegetable has a mild flavor that won’t overpower your juice ingredients.
Purple Cabbage Benefits: The Bottom Line
Purple cabbage is a nutrient-rich vegetable that has many purple cabbage benefits and can help boost your health. It contains an array of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for your body. However, you should always eat it in moderation to avoid getting indigestion or an upset stomach.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
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- Vitamin K2 Status and Arterial Stiffness Among Untreated Migraine Patients: A Case-Control Study (2020, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Warfarin and Vitamin K (2020, uofmhealth.org)