Juicing vegetables has become popular due to their high bioavailability, affordability, and availability. Recent health trends rave about the goodness of consuming vegetable juices daily as they pose benefits to one's health and quality of life.
Cabbage, of the family Brassica oleracea, is a cruciferous vegetable massively produced in Asia (China being the biggest producer). Although initially used as a salad ingredient, cabbage is not an exemption to the vegetable juice trend. This cruciferous vegetable is not only good for our tables, but it also contains liquid gold, especially for our digestive system.
In this article, we will be learning about the cabbage juice and how daily consumption will benefit our health. Let’s get started!
The Cabbage: Your Friend for All Seasons
Over the years, cabbages have become the most famous among brassica vegetables. A reason for it is that it is readily available and affordable. In fact, cabbage got the nickname "drug of the poor" during the Middle Ages due to its low cost and health advantages. A staple to everyday recipes, cabbages offer pleasing experiences to our palates and great health benefits that make them even more interesting! If you're serious about improving your diet, starting with this cruciferous vegetable is a fantastic place to start.
One remarkable fact about cabbages is that, although belonging to the same group, they come in different colors and forms! Here is a quick guide for differentiating cabbages.
- Cannonball Cabbage - The cannonball cabbage, often known as green cabbage, is one of the most popular cabbage kinds. It gets its name from the way its leaves are firmly curled over one another in a dense, compact manner, resembling a cannonball.
- Bok Choy - It's also known as bok choy, bai cai, or pak choi, but they all refer to the same dark, green vegetable with slender stalks that looks more like Swiss chard or spinach than like cabbage.
- Choy Sum - Depending on your mother tongue, you may know it as choy sum or cai xin. The Cantonese and Mandarin transliteration of its name is "heart of the vegetable." The green vegetable looks similar to kai lan and its Chinese cabbage cousin, bok choy, but is easily distinguished by its bright yellow blooms.
- Napa Cabbage - This cabbage type is oblong in shape and has frilly, yellow-green leaves. It is sweeter and softer than other cabbage kinds and is extensively utilized in East Asian cuisine.
- Savoy Cabbage - This lacy variety is probably the most photogenic of the cabbages. Savoy cabbage leaves are less firmly packed and loosely layered than green or red cabbage leaves, resulting in shorter shelf life.
- January King Cabbage - This purple-green wonder is not to be mistaken for red cabbage. The hues of this curly-leafed vegetable vary from head to head, ranging from deep, royal purples to cool, crisp turquoises. Cabbage is a hardy vegetable that is typically sown in the fall and harvested in the winter, as its name suggests.
- Red Cabbage - The red cabbage, also known as purple cabbage or red kraut, changes color depending on the pH of the soil it grows in. The leaves turn reddish in acidic soil, and purplish in neutral soil, acting as a sort of litmus test.
Top 9 Benefits of Cabbage Juice
So, what exactly would you get when you start drinking cabbage juice? Vitamin K, as well as vitamins A, E, and C, calcium, iron, potassium, glutamine, phosphorus, iodine, B-family vitamins, phytonutrients, enzymes, and powerful antioxidant components can all be found in a single glass of cabbage juice, which brings a lot to the table.
Without further ado, here are our top scientifically explained cabbage juice benefits.
1. Rich in Antioxidants
We are not helpless in the face of free radicals — unstable atoms that cause illness and hasten aging. The body produces a slew of chemicals that suffocate these as effectively as water does fire.
Free-radical fighters are also extracted from food. These defenders are known as "antioxidants," and they act by freely donating electrons to free radicals so the latter do not become electron-scavenging substances. Antioxidants also play a role in systems that repair DNA and keep cells healthy. Luckily, cabbage juice contains more antioxidants than you might expect.
Phenolic chemicals, which are found in the Brassica genus, are one of the bioactive molecules that have beneficial effects on human health. These chemicals have antioxidant properties via decreasing carcinogen biological activation and enhancing reactive oxygen species detoxification (ROS). Simply put, these chemicals lower your risks of developing cancer and increase your body's ability to rid itself of toxins that are byproducts of normal cellular processes.
In a more scientific explanation, cabbages contain isothiocyanates, which help bind glutathione to form glutathione-S-transferase, an enzyme that protects the cells, detoxifies carcinogens, prevents toxins, and reduces oxidative stress.
Moreover, the antioxidants choline, beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and the flavonoids kaempferol, quercetin, and apigenin are also found in cabbages which add up to its beneficial effects on health.
In particular, red and purple cabbages seem to show more antioxidant content than other cabbages.
2. Natural Probiotics
Probiotics are live bacteria that are consumed or administered to the body to provide health advantages. They're abundant in yogurt and other fermented foods, as well as dietary supplements and cosmetics.
Although bacteria and other microorganisms are commonly thought of as destructive "germs," many of them are surprisingly beneficial. Some good bacteria aid in the digestion of food, the destruction of disease-causing cells, and the production of vitamins. Many of the bacteria found in probiotic products are the same as or comparable to those found in our bodies naturally.
Cabbage juice is a good source of natural probiotics. According to a study by Bioresource Technology, cabbage juice is an excellent liquid in which you can grow lactobacillus, a good bacteria that is commonly found in yogurt and probiotic drinks. In their study, they recommended fermented juice as a good source of probiotics and are perfect for vegetarians and people with lactose allergies.
Probiotics have shown promise in preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhea (including Clostridium difficile diarrhea), in preventing intestinal tissue inflammation and blood infection in premature infants, and in treating gum infection.
3. Helps Cure Peptic Ulcers and Improve Digestive Health
An open sore is called an "ulcer." The term "peptic" denotes that acid is the source of the disease. Most of the time, when a gastroenterologist says "ulcer," he or she is referring to a peptic ulcer.
"Gastric ulcers" and "duodenal ulcers" are the two most prevalent forms of peptic ulcers. These designations indicate the location of the ulcer. Ulcers in the stomach are known as gastric ulcers. Duodenal ulcers are found in the duodenum, which is the first part of the small intestine. Both stomach and duodenal ulcers can occur at the same time. The most common causes of ulcers are Helicobacter pylori infection and NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
But worry not! People who consume cabbage juice tend to recover faster from ulcers.
Cabbages contain s-methylmethionine (Vitamin U), which helps protect our intestinal mucosa from infections and greatly benefits people who experience esophagogastric lesions, chronic gastric ulceration, chronic gastritis, ulcerative colitis, diaphragmatic hernias, peptic ulcers, and other stomach complications and conditions.
In a study conducted on thirteen patients with peptic ulcers, the patients drinking cabbage juice had an incredibly reduced healing time (10.4 days) compared to those with standard therapy (37 days).
The article stated, "The rapid healing of peptic ulcers observed radiologically and gastroscopically in 13 patients treated with fresh cabbage juice indicates that the anti-peptic ulcer dietary factor may play an important role in the genesis of peptic ulcer in man."
Another study on cabbage extract on gastric ulcers stated that "it was established that the dry extract of cabbage at a dose of 50 mg/kg leveled the ulcerogenic effect of acetylsalicylic acid at the level of omeprazole, which was reflected by a decrease in the ulcer index by 3.3 times, its antiulcer activity was 83 %."
Acetylsalicylic acid is also the active ingredient in aspirin, which is known to cause a few side effects. This only means that with cabbage juice we now have a natural way to deal with peptic ulcers effectively without the risk of experiencing side effects.
The humble cabbage is also rich in dietary fiber, which aids in digestion and promotes weight loss. The insoluble fiber makes the job easy for our digestive system. So, if you’re ever struggling with digestive problems and ulcers, cheer up, and start drinking cabbage juice now!
4. May Prevent Cancer
Cruciferous vegetables, in general, contain the compound called glucosinolates, the substance that causes the pungent smell of these plants, especially when damaged or nearly rotting.
According to the National Cancer Institute, glucosinolates in cabbage break down to generate indoles and isothiocyanates, which have been studied for their anti-cancer potential. They have been observed in animal experiments to inhibit cancer development in the bladder, colon, lungs, liver, breast, and stomach.
Several mechanisms of action that underpin cabbage's cancer-fighting benefits have been discovered in test tubes and animal studies. According to the National Cancer Institute, these include anti-inflammatory properties, DNA damage protection, carcinogen inactivation, antiviral and antibacterial activities, and antiviral and antibacterial characteristics. The substances also cause cell death, prevent tumor blood vessel creation, and prevent tumor cell migration, all of which are important for cancer metastasis.
Glucosinolates are broken down into chemicals with anti-cancer properties during food preparation or digestion. Although it is important to note that once broken down, it also produces the compounds thiocyanate ions and oxazolidin-2-thiones that have known effects in thyroid problems, which will be discussed further in the risks section of this article.
Moreover, in a study conducted by Current Development in Nutrition on cruciferous vegetables and their relationship with breast cancer, results have shown an inverse relationship between risk for breast cancer and the ingestion of these vegetables.
5. Antimicrobial Properties
Aside from being an effective antibacterial against H. Pylori causing peptic ulcers, raw cabbage is also known for its effects against different strains of bacteria and fungi. Although some fungi are harmless and grow as commensals, the abundance of their colony might cause some serious diseases.
For instance, the fungus Candida albicans usually lives on the skin and inside the body, in places such as the mouth, throat, gut, and vagina, without causing any problems. But, it can cause the disease called Candidiasis that causes oral and vaginal thrush when left untreated.
Cabbage juice has been proven effective against candida infection. (1,2). Not only that, but a study on cabbage extract also revealed it being effective against E. aerogenes, C. albicans, P. vulgaris, and even E. coli.
6. May Prevent Heart Disease
Anthocyanins, which are found in red cabbage juice, are potent antioxidants. They are responsible for the vivid purple color of this delectable vegetable.
Plant pigments called anthocyanins belong to the flavonoid family. Several studies have linked eating foods high in this pigment to a lower risk of heart disease.
Increased consumption of anthocyanin-rich foods may also improve risk factors for heart disease, such as cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure, and reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes and premature death from all causes, according to existing research.
Women who ate more cruciferous vegetables — like cabbage, but also Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli — were 46% less likely to have abdominal aortic calcification, which can be a predictor of future heart disease, according to a 2021 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition. According to the findings, eating more cruciferous vegetables can help prevent calcium buildup and improve heart health.
Not only that, but red cabbage juice also contains a lot of other antioxidants that prevent oxidative stress from damaging cardiac cells.
7. Anti-inflammatory Properties
Cabbage juice contains a lot of phytochemicals and flavonoids which lessen inflammation. Why does inflammation management seem to be essential, you ask?
That’s because inflammation fosters the growth of tumor cells. When there is chronic inflammation, there is prolonged cell death and that might cause DNA damage and therefore produce faulty new cells, giving rise to potential tumor cells.
Drinking raw cabbage juice provides the nutrients and potent antioxidant compounds that we need to combat inflammation. Moreover, when it comes to inflammation, juicing cabbage is not the only option as it can also be used as a topical treatment.
Have you ever heard of the "cabbage bandage" trend? This trend makes use of cabbage leaves to "reduce swelling and pain" in joints, especially on the feet. Here's a quick guide on how to perform this trick at home.
- Remove one of the outer cabbage leaves, wash thoroughly, and dry with kitchen paper.
- Remove the firm stem with a knife and arrange the cabbage leaf in the kitchen work area.
- Gently crush the leaves with a rolling pin or a milk/wine bottle to release the natural juices and make them floppy enough to mold to the body.
- Cover the injured joint or area with cabbage leaves, bandage, cling film, or tin foil, and elevate if possible.
And just like that, you have a natural pain reliever at home!
But, is this trend medically effective? Perhaps. Based on a small study, patients with osteoarthritis of the knee may benefit from using cabbage leaf wraps. The subjects reported some pain relief from using the cabbage leaves. This practice may need further research, but this study along with anecdotal evidence has shown us there's potential to using cabbages in managing joint pain.
8. Can Improve Bone Health
Cabbage contains vitamin K, which is essential for bone health and proper blood clotting capabilities in the body. According to the USDA, one cup of cooked cabbage contains roughly 68 micrograms of vitamin K. It is advised to take 120 micrograms per day for adult men and 90 micrograms per day for women as a starting point.
While vitamin K deficiency is uncommon, some people with particular medical disorders, such as cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, or ulcerative colitis, may be more susceptible to low vitamin K levels. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, too little vitamin D can result in decreased bone strength and an increased chance of developing osteoporosis. In rare cases, they suffer from bruising and bleeding issues.
9. Prevents Liver Damage
The liver is one of the most abused organs in our body. Every unhealthy food and drink that we intake adds a load to the liver’s job. Moreover, since the liver is the one producing our proteins, it plays a vital role in maintaining our immune system’s health by producing antibodies whenever there’s an infection going on.
Cabbage not only prevents heart disease, cancer, bone loss, and stomach ulcers, but it also helps in the liver’s detoxification process. Whenever the liver is overworked, the enzymes alanine aminotransferase(ALT) and aspartate transaminase(AST) increase and are among the laboratory tests done to assess liver health.
In a study by The Journal of the Convergence on Culture Technology, consumption of cabbage juice has been shown to lower the ALT and AST levels among the animal models with liver failure. Moreover, raw cabbage juice did not show any toxicity to the liver, meaning it’s safe for consumption, and it also lessened the inflammation after the raw cabbage juice treatment.
There are people with known allergies to related cabbages and other related vegetables. Knowing your allergens is essential when trying a new juice. Although some allergies are mild, here are a few of the more severe happenings during allergic reactions, according to Web MD.
Nasal allergic reactions include:
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Itchy, runny nose
- Feeling tired or ill
While anaphylactic allergic reactions can be as bad as:
- Hives and itching all over
- Wheezing or shortness of breath
- Hoarseness or tightness in the throat
- Swelling of the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, or throat
- Tingling in the hands, feet, lips, or scalp
Cabbage can help lower acetaminophen levels in the body if eaten regularly. If you take a pain reliever like Tylenol daily, you may want to limit your cabbage consumption. Furthermore, due to its high vitamin K concentration, raw cabbage may reduce the anticoagulant effects of warfarin if ingested in significant quantities.
If you're on medicine and plan to eat a lot of cabbage or cabbage juice, talk to your doctor about the possibility of a drug interaction. There is some evidence that eating a lot of cabbage can cause problems with prescriptions like oxazepam (Serax), glucuronidated pharmaceuticals, various treatments involving cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2) substrates, and some diabetes medications.
May Interfere with Hypothyroidism
Cabbage interferes with the iodine activation in the body. Therefore, patients with known conditions in the thyroid must consult their physician and avoid eating cabbages.
Consult Your Physician
Before hopping into any trend, even if it’s a health trend and benefits are up for it, always consult your doctor first. Making sure of your safety should be the top priority because even health trends are not for everyone.
Choosing and Storing Cabbages
Due to rotten cabbage's slightly unpleasant odor, it is vital to buy only the freshest cabbages that will last you for a longer period. Here are a few tips from us to help you in buying and storing your raw cabbage to ensure fresh juice every day.
- Look for cabbages that have a lot of colors. Cabbage is available in two colors: green and red. Look for green cabbages that are brilliant and vibrant, nearly lime green, when selecting them. The hue of red cabbage should be a deep maroonish-purple.
- Check to see if the cabbage is firm to the touch on the outside. Your cabbage may be rotting on the inside if it feels soft and spongy rather than hard and dense when you touch it. Only select cabbages that are stiff or difficult to handle.
- Keep an eye on the leaves. Look for cabbages with only a few leaves hanging free from the remainder of the head as you're picking them out. If your entire cabbage appears to have come undone, with many leaves not tightly packed to the stem (or center), it may have an odd texture or flavor.
- Any cabbages that are discolored or rotting should be avoided. You should not purchase cabbage if the leaves are severely damaged or if the cabbage has numerous blemishes (dark stains). Worm damage is commonly connected with these traits.
- Understand the difference between large and small cabbage heads. Larger cabbage heads tend to have a milder flavor than smaller, more compact cabbage heads. Pick larger heads of cabbage if you're new to eating cabbage or attempting to get used to it. They'll hit you with less of that cabbage flavor.
- Make sure to keep your cabbage whole until you're ready to utilize it. When cabbage is sliced, it begins to lose its vitamin C content. Wrap the cabbage tightly in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator for up to two days if you absolutely must store it.
- Refrigerate the cabbage in the crisper drawer. It's best to keep your cabbage cold to preserve its nutrients and crisp texture. First, put it in a plastic bag. It should last for up to two weeks in good condition.
- Before using your cabbage, discard the outer leaves. If any of the leaves have wilted during storage or transport, this is very essential. Rinse the leaves well and use them as needed.
How to Make Cabbage Juice at Home
Now that we’re done discussing the pros and cons, and buying and storing tips, let’s start juicing! Making juices at home assures freshness and quality. Here are the easy steps on how to make your own raw cabbage juice.
There are two ways to make cabbage juice:
In a Blender
- First, rinse and roughly chop the cabbage, then put it into a blender, half filled with water. Blend the cabbage at low speed for 1-2 minutes, then turn it to high speed for a few seconds.
- Don’t worry if you can still spot small pieces of cabbage left in the purée afterward — it’s totally acceptable.
- Next, add the purée into a mesh sieve to separate the pulp from the liquid. Store it in tightly sealed jars and chill in the fridge before serving.
In a Juicer
- Rinse the cabbage thoroughly. Tear or roughly cut up the cabbage leaves until they are small enough to fit through the juicer, and then turn it on at a low speed.
- After the first round of juicing, check to see if the pulp is still wet. If so, pass it through the juicer one more time to get as much juice as possible.
- Cap the juice in jars and chill it in the fridge for some time before serving or enjoy it immediately.
Tutorial Source: Healthy Recipes 101
To 3 Cabbage Juice Recipes
Of course, some people might find cabbage juice’s taste not so pleasing. Adding other ingredients to it might just do the trick for them. Here are our top 3 cabbage juice recipes that you can enjoy, too!
Cabbage Cucumber Melon Juice
- 300 g cabbage
- ½ cucumber peeled or unpeeled
- ¼ honeydew melon peeled, deseeded
- A squeeze of lemon juice
- Make each juice and enjoy! Add the lemon juice to the cabbage cucumber juice after you've made the juice.
Recipe Source: Everyday Healthy Recipes
Cabbage Cucumber Pineapple Juice
- 20 oz raw cabbage
- 4 oz cucumber
- 10 oz pineapple
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Run the cabbage, cucumber, and pineapple through a juicer. Pour the juice into a mixing bowl.
- Add sugar and lemon juice to the mixing bowl. Whisk well.
- Divide the juice into serving glasses. Chill in the fridge before serving.
Recipe source: Healthy Recipes 101
Blueberry-Cabbage Power Juice
- ¼ medium red cabbage, sliced
- 1 large cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 large apple, cut into eighths
- Ice cubes (optional)
- Working in this order, process cabbage, cucumber, blueberries, and apple through a juicer according to the manufacturer's directions.
- Fill 2 glasses with ice, if desired, and pour the juice into the glasses. Serve immediately.
Recipe source: Eating Well