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Nov 15, 2012 by NATASHA LONGO
Eating Purple Cabbage Is Great For Your Skin And Prevents Cancer

Besides lending itself as a food of art, adding wonderful color in salads and main dishes, purple cabbage with its antioxidant properties also works wonders for the skin and prevents cancer.

Along with other cole crops, cabbage is a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical that boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. A team of researchers at Ohio State University announced that anthocyanins, the compounds that give cabbage its purple color are capable of cutting the growth of colon cancer cells both in vitro and in rats by 50%-100%, with certain extracts even destroying up to 20% of the cancer cells while leaving healthy surrounding cells intact.

Given the roles of oxidative stress and chronic inflammation as risk factors for cancer, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory richness of cabbage would provide anti-cancer health benefits without the addition of cabbage's glucosinolates. But glucosinolates are cabbage's trump card with regard to "anti-cancer" benefits. The glucosinolates found in cabbage can be converted into isothiocyanate compounds that are cancer preventive for a variety of different cancers, including bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer.

Cabbage is a great store of vitamin C and vitamin K. The rich deep colour of this vegetable is due to a high concentration of polyphenols (strong dietary antioxidants, possessing anti-inflammatory properties), making it have even more phytonutrients than a green cabbage.

A recent study showed that a 100 gram (about 3 ounces) serving of raw purple cabbage delivers 196.5 milligrams of polyphenols, of which 28.3 milligrams are anthocyanins. Green cabbages yielded much less per 100 grams: 45 milligrams of polyphenols including 0.01 milligram of anthocyanins. The vitamin C equivalent, a measure of antioxidant capacity, of purple cabbage is also six to eight times higher than that of green cabbage.

Men and women who regularly consume foods that are rich in anthocyanins -- like purple cabbage and berries -- have a lower risk of developing Parkinson's disease.

The antioxidant pigment may also reduce blood vessel hardening and improve overall heart health.

Other studies have shown that anthocyanins may help reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Purple cabbage is rich in these antioxidants which has also been found to make skin supple and clear.

A 1-cup serving of chopped purple cabbage provides 2 g of fiber, or 8 percent of the 25-g daily value as recommended by the Food and Drug Administration. Dietary fiber prevents excess cholesterol from entering your bloodstream through the wall of your small intestine; the fiber absorbs the cholesterol and excretes it through the waste elimination process.


The potassium content in 1 cup of chopped purple cabbage is 216 mg, or 6 percent of the 3500-mg daily value. Potassium keeps your body's fluid level from fluctuating to unhealthy volumes, preventing potassium-related blood pressure disorders. It also prevents heart muscle stress by supporting the contraction that fuels your heartbeat.

Vitamin C
The vitamin C content in purple cabbage is nutritionally significant. A 1-cup serving provides 51 mg, or 85 percent, of the 60-mg daily requirement. Cooking decomposes some of the nutrient. Raw purple cabbage contains a higher level of vitamin C than it does when cooked. Vitamin C is an effective antioxidant. It protects cells from the DNA and compositional destruction that metabolic toxins often cause.

Vitamin A
The vitamin A content in purple cabbage is 20 percent of the 5000 IU required each day, or 993 IU per 1-cup serving. Vitamin A is a nutrient that provides a variety of functions in your body. It produces retina pigments for your eyes, maintains vision health and improves vision at night. It also supports your body's immune response, reducing your risk of microbial infection.

Research suggests that boiling or cooking purple cabbage reduces its anti-carcinogenic properties. The best way to eat it is raw in salads and quickly after it is prepared since the oxidation process evolves quickly in this leafy vegetable. I personally enjoy it with a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil. It makes the perfect appetizer or side-dish to any meal.

Natasha Longo has a master's degree in nutrition and is a certified fitness and nutritional counselor. She has consulted on public health policy and procurement in Canada, Australia, Spain, Ireland, England and Germany.

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