When it comes to food as medicine there is nothing that tops cabbage. From the healing properties of the juices to the plentiful vitamins and minerals it contains, it is no wonder that cabbage has been cultivated for thousands of years.

A Brief History of Cabbage

Before the Greco-Roman era, people grew cabbage for food and medicinal purposes. Throughout history, people treated conditions like gastritis, stomach ulcers, excess stomach acid, and abdominal pain with cabbage juice. Additionally, people placed the leaves on the body to relieve swelling and heal wounds. It is not uncommon for breastfeeding mother to receive advice to use whole cabbage leaves to relieve swelling and pain.

Cabbage: A Superfood!

Not only is cabbage beneficial when used therapeutically, it is a super-food vegetable that may help improve health when included in your diet.

Cabbage provides ample folate and vitamins C and K. In fact, 1 cup of chopped cabbage contains more than 50 percent of the daily value for vitamin C! In addition, cabbage is a great source of dietary fiber and the essential nutrient choline.

Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable and all members of this family contain beneficial bioactive compounds and phytonutrients, including glucosinolates. In the body, glucosinolates become biologically active compounds that may have anticancer effects. Preliminary studies show that glucosinolates help protect cells from DNA damage, inactivate carcinogens, and reduce inflammation.

Cruciferous vegetables also contain dithiolethiones, which are compounds believed to enhance detoxification and support healthy immune function.

This Month’s Recipe: Aloha Slaw

Cabbage versatile due to its mind flavor. This month’s recipe features cabbage in a slaw with a bit of a flavor twist from interesting ingredients. Sweet pineapple juice, tangy cranberries and earthy walnuts ensure that this slaw is anything but ordinary. Serve with grilled meats or fish or use it to top a veggie or turkey burger or chicken sandwich.

Aloha Slaw

  • 1head of cabbage, chopped or 1 bag of coleslaw mix
  • 1cupshredded carrots
  • 3/4cupwalnuts or almonds
  • 3/4cupcranberries
  • 1/2cupplus 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2tspsugar
  • 2Tbsppineapple juice
  • 1/8tspkosher salt
  • 1dashpepper
  • 1 1/2tspapple cider vinegar
  1. Whisk all ingredients together and pour over cabbage mixture.
  2. Stir together and allow to sit at least 5 minutes before serving.
print recipe

For more on cabbage including recipes, interesting facts, and books for kids, check out the Vermont Harvest of the Month website.

Get more recipes from the UVM Medical Center. View our Recipe Collection by clicking here. 

Bridget Shea, RD, is a clinical dietitian at The University of Vermont Medical Center.

Subscribe to Our Blog