An introduction to cabbage
Alongside other popular vegetables including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and bok choy, cabbage is known as cruciferous. These vegetables have gained this title because of the shape of their leaves which are said to resemble a cross.
As with broccoli and cauliflower, cabbages come in all shapes and sizes with the largest ever grown reaching a whopping 62 kg! There’s also variety in the leaves of cabbages as some are smooth and crunchy whilst others are soft crinkled.
Varieties of cabbage
Cabbages are well known for their odorous smell but this only comes about when it’s over-cooked therefore, if the vegetable is cooked correctly, the air freshener won’t be necessary!
Bearing this in mind, white cabbage makes a healthy side dish to many dinners but, equally, it can be used as the basis for a main too. White cabbages have a round, firm shape and leaves that are tightly packed, shiny and pale green in colour. The taste is mild with just a little bit of sweetness which makes them great for coleslaw and salads. After being finely chopped, white cabbage is often used in sauerkraut as well. Although sauerkraut has a slightly sour taste, this fermented food is incredibly healthy and is great for your gut too!
Red cabbages are also fairly common on supermarket shelves and, with lots of tightly packed layers, a little can go a long way! This variety is ideal for pickling, braising or for adding a bit of colour to your salads.
There are hundreds of types of cabbage available but as well as white and red, savoy cabbage is also one of the more popular varieties. With its dark green and crinkles leaves, this is often viewed as a winter vegetable. It has a strong, flavour so most prefer to cook it rather than adding it to salads.
Cabbage is packed with folate, vitamin K and vitamin C - just 100g of this vegetable contains 60% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C. However, the presence of a host of minerals including magnesium, calcium and iron means that cabbage has other benefits to our health as well.
Nutritional value per 100g: 25 calories, 0.1g fats, 6g carbohydrates, 1.3g protein, 3.2g sugar.
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As cabbage is rich in vitamin C, it helps to support the immune system – the part of the body responsible for fighting of viruses and bacteria. So, if you’re suffering from a cold or flu, or just wish to give your immune system a helping hand, it’s a good idea to include lots of cabbage in your diet!
Magnesium helps to maintain energy levels as well as healthy nerve and muscle function so it’s absolutely necessary to include the daily recommended amount in your diet. As this mineral is found in cabbage, this is one place you can start.
Calcium helps to keep bones firm and healthy so, as this is present in cabbage, it further highlights the health benefits of this vegetable.
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