8 Impressive Benefits of Purple Cabbage
By Alina Petre, MS, RD (CA)
Purple cabbage, also referred to as red cabbage, belongs to the Brassica group of plants. This group includes nutrient-dense vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale.
It tastes similar to green cabbage. However, the purple variety is richer in beneficial plant compounds that have been linked to health benefits, such as stronger bones and a healthier heart.
Purple cabbage is also thought to lower inflammation and protect against certain types of cancers. Moreover, it's an incredibly versatile vegetable that can be enjoyed raw, cooked, or fermented and added to a variety of dishes.
Here are 8 impressive health benefits of purple cabbage, all backed by science.
1. Rich in Nutrients
Despite being low in calories, purple cabbage contains an impressive amount of nutrients.
One cup (89 grams) of chopped, raw, purple cabbage contains the following nutrients (1):
- Calories: 28
- Protein: 1 gram
- Carbs: 7 grams
- Fiber: 2 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 is low in calories yet a good source of fiber and vitamins A, C, K, and B6. It also contains small amounts of other vitamins and minerals.
2. Boasts Powerful Plant Compounds
Purple cabbage is a great source of antioxidants and other beneficial plant compounds that help protect against cellular damage.
What's more, purple cabbage is one of the foods that offers the highest levels of antioxidants per unit cost (4Trusted Source).
Purple cabbage is a great source of beneficial plant compounds and offers one of the highest amounts of health-promoting antioxidants per unit cost.
3. Helps Fight Inflammation
Purple cabbage may help fight inflammation, which is thought to contribute to many diseases.
One test-tube study using an artificial model of the human gut found that certain varieties of purple cabbage reduced markers of gut inflammation by 22–40% (7Trusted Source).
Animal studies report that sulforaphane, the beneficial sulfur compound found in many cruciferous vegetables, may be to thank for its anti-inflammatory effects (8Trusted Source).
Interestingly, applying cabbage leaves to the skin also appears to reduce inflammation.
For instance, adults with arthritis who wrapped their knees in cabbage leaves once a day reported feeling significantly less pain by the end of the four-week study period. However, the cabbage wraps reduced pain less effectively than a topical pain gel (9Trusted Source).
Moreover, cabbage leaves appear to reduce breast pain, swelling, and inflammation due to increased milk supply and blood flow during the early postpartum period (10Trusted Source).
Purple cabbage may help fight inflammation and reduce accompanying symptoms, such as pain, swelling, and discomfort.
4. May Promote Heart Health
Purple cabbage may also benefit your heart.
This may be due to its content of anthocyanins, which are flavonoid antioxidants that give purple cabbage its characteristic color (11Trusted Source).
One large study found that women who regularly eat large amounts of anthocyanin-rich foods may benefit from an 11–32% lower risk of heart attacks, compared with those who eat fewer of these foods (12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).
Purple cabbage contains more than 36 types of anthocyanins, making it an excellent source of this heart-healthy compound (16Trusted Source).
Purple cabbage is a rich source of anthocyanins, which are beneficial plant compounds that may reduce your risk of heart disease.
5. May Strengthen Your Bones
For instance, 1 cup (89 grams) of raw purple cabbage contains around 56% of the DV for vitamin C, which plays a role in bone formation and helps protect your bone cells from damage (1, 18Trusted Source).
Purple cabbage is also rich in vitamin K1, offering a little over a quarter of the DV per cup (89 grams) (1).
Vitamin K1 is mostly found in plant foods, such as leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables. This distinguishes it from vitamin K2, which is found in animal products and fermented foods.
There's evidence that both forms of vitamin K play a role in maintaining strong and healthy bones, although more research is needed to pinpoint the specific effects of each (19).
Purple cabbage is rich in vitamins C and K1, both of which are essential for building and maintaining strong, healthy bones. Purple cabbage also contains smaller amounts of bone-benefitting nutrients, such as calcium, manganese, and zinc.
6. May Protect Against Certain Cancers
Purple cabbage may help protect against certain types of cancers, though more research in humans is needed.
Experts believe this may be because it contains sulforaphane and anthocyanins — two compounds researched for their cancer-fighting properties.
Research links high intakes of cruciferous vegetables, including cabbage, to an 18% lower risk of colon cancer. Diets rich in cruciferous vegetables have also been linked to a lower risk of breast cancer (20Trusted Source, 21Trusted Source).
Moreover, there's evidence to suggest that the sulforaphane found in purple cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables may help kill cancer cells or prevent them from growing and spreading (22Trusted Source).
Cell and animal studies suggest that anthocyanins may have similar anti-cancer effects. Anthocyanins are found in red, purple, and blue-colored fruits and vegetables, including purple cabbage (23Trusted Source).
However, more human research is needed before strong conclusions can be made.
Purple cabbage contains beneficial compounds, such as sulforaphane and anthocyanins, which may help protect your body against certain types of cancers. However, more research is needed to investigate these effects.
7. May Enhance Gut Health
Purple cabbage may improve the function of your gut.
There's evidence that cabbage may lower inflammation in the gut and reduce intestinal mucositis — a condition in which lesions develop in the gut, often as a side effect of cancer treatment (7Trusted Source, 24, 25).
Cabbage is also a good source of fiber, which keeps your gut healthy and helps it digest foods more easily.
Insoluble fiber makes up around 70% of the fiber in cabbage. It adds bulk to stools and helps food move through your gut more easily, reducing the risk of constipation (26Trusted Source, 27Trusted Source).
The remaining 30% is soluble fiber, which provides food for the beneficial bacteria living in your gut. In turn, these friendly bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), such as acetate, butyrate, and propionate, which feed the cells of your gut (28Trusted Source).
Research shows that SCFAs may also reduce inflammation and other symptoms of gut disorders, such as Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and ulcerative colitis (28Trusted Source, 29Trusted Source).
There's also some evidence that drinking around 1 quart (946 ml) of cabbage juice per day may help heal gut ulcers in 7–10 days. However, the studies showing this are outdated, so more recent studies are needed to investigate this effect (30Trusted Source, 31Trusted Source).
Purple cabbage may help boost your gut health by reducing inflammation, preventing gut lesions, and treating ulcers. However, more research is needed to investigate these effects.
8. Easy to Add to Your Diet
Purple cabbage is an incredibly versatile vegetable. You can eat it raw or cooked, and it works well added to a variety of dishes.
For instance, it can be steamed and used to make dumpling fillings, or braised with red wine, vinegar, apples, carrots, and beets for a flavorful side dish.
Purple cabbage can also be roasted or sautéed with meats or beans, or it can be shredded and used as a nutrient-rich garnish for soups, salads, and warm dishes.
It also offers an antioxidant-rich and visually appealing alternative to green cabbage in coleslaw or sauerkraut, or it can be fermented to make kimchi.
Purple cabbage is a simple and tasty addition to many dishes. It can be eaten raw, cooked, or fermented, which adds to its versatility.
The Bottom Line
Purple cabbage is a nutrient-rich vegetable linked to a variety of health benefits.
These include reduced inflammation, a healthier heart, stronger bones, improved gut function, and perhaps even a lower risk of certain cancers.
This vegetable is also incredibly versatile and one of the most cost-efficient ways to add beneficial antioxidants to your diet.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
By Dana M Bergstrom, Euan Ritchie, Lesley Hughes and Michael Depledge
In 1992, 1,700 scientists warned that human beings and the natural world were "on a collision course." Seventeen years later, scientists described planetary boundaries within which humans and other life could have a "safe space to operate." These are environmental thresholds, such as the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and changes in land use.
The Good and Bad News<p><span>Ecosystems consist of living and non-living components, and their interactions. They work like a super-complex engine: when some components are removed or stop working, knock-on consequences can lead to system failure.</span></p><p>Our study is based on measured data and observations, not modeling or predictions for the future. Encouragingly, not all ecosystems we examined have collapsed across their entire range. We still have, for instance, some intact reefs on the Great Barrier Reef, especially in deeper waters. And northern Australia has some of the most intact and least-modified stretches of savanna woodlands on Earth.</p><p><span>Still, collapses are happening, including in regions critical for growing food. This includes the </span><a href="https://www.mdba.gov.au/importance-murray-darling-basin/where-basin" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Murray-Darling Basin</a><span>, which covers around 14% of Australia's landmass. Its rivers and other freshwater systems support more than </span><a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/latestproducts/94F2007584736094CA2574A50014B1B6?opendocument" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">30% of Australia's food</a><span> production.</span></p><p><span></span><span>The effects of floods, fires, heatwaves and storms do not stop at farm gates; they're felt equally in agricultural areas and natural ecosystems. We shouldn't forget how towns ran out of </span><a href="https://www.mdba.gov.au/issues-murray-darling-basin/drought#effects" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">drinking water</a><span> during the recent drought.</span></p><p><span></span><span>Drinking water is also at risk when ecosystems collapse in our water catchments. In Victoria, for example, the degradation of giant </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/logging-must-stop-in-melbournes-biggest-water-supply-catchment-106922" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Mountain Ash forests</a><span> greatly reduces the amount of water flowing through the Thompson catchment, threatening nearly five million people's drinking water in Melbourne.</span></p><p>This is a dire <em data-redactor-tag="em">wake-up</em> call — not just a <em data-redactor-tag="em">warning</em>. Put bluntly, current changes across the continent, and their potential outcomes, pose an existential threat to our survival, and other life we share environments with.</p><p><span>In investigating patterns of collapse, we found most ecosystems experience multiple, concurrent pressures from both global climate change and regional human impacts (such as land clearing). Pressures are often </span><a href="https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1365-2664.13427" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">additive and extreme</a><span>.</span></p><p>Take the last 11 years in Western Australia as an example.</p><p>In the summer of 2010 and 2011, a <a href="https://theconversation.com/marine-heatwaves-are-getting-hotter-lasting-longer-and-doing-more-damage-95637" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">heatwave</a> spanning more than 300,000 square kilometers ravaged both marine and land ecosystems. The extreme heat devastated forests and woodlands, kelp forests, seagrass meadows and coral reefs. This catastrophe was followed by two cyclones.</p><p>A record-breaking, marine heatwave in late 2019 dealt a further blow. And another marine heatwave is predicted for <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/dec/24/wa-coastline-facing-marine-heatwave-in-early-2021-csiro-predicts" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">this April</a>.</p>
What to Do About It?<p><span>Our brains trust comprises 38 experts from 21 universities, CSIRO and the federal Department of Agriculture Water and Environment. Beyond quantifying and reporting more doom and gloom, we asked the question: what can be done?</span></p><p>We devised a simple but tractable scheme called the 3As:</p><ul><li>Awareness of what is important</li><li>Anticipation of what is coming down the line</li><li>Action to stop the pressures or deal with impacts.</li></ul><p>In our paper, we identify positive actions to help protect or restore ecosystems. Many are already happening. In some cases, ecosystems might be better left to recover by themselves, such as coral after a cyclone.</p><p>In other cases, active human intervention will be required – for example, placing artificial nesting boxes for Carnaby's black cockatoos in areas where old trees have been <a href="https://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/factsheet-carnabys-black-cockatoo-calyptorhynchus-latirostris" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">removed</a>.</p><p><span>"Future-ready" actions are also vital. This includes reinstating </span><a href="https://www.abc.net.au/gardening/factsheets/a-burning-question-fire/12395700" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cultural burning practices</a><span>, which have </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/australia-you-have-unfinished-business-its-time-to-let-our-fire-people-care-for-this-land-135196" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">multiple values and benefits for Aboriginal communities</a><span> and can help minimize the risk and strength of bushfires.</span></p><p>It might also include replanting banks along the Murray River with species better suited to <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/gardening/factsheets/my-garden-path---matt-hansen/12322978" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">warmer conditions</a>.</p><p>Some actions may be small and localized, but have substantial positive benefits.</p><p>For example, billions of migrating Bogong moths, the main summer food for critically endangered mountain pygmy possums, have not arrived in their typical numbers in Australian alpine regions in recent years. This was further exacerbated by the <a href="https://theconversation.com/six-million-hectares-of-threatened-species-habitat-up-in-smoke-129438" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2019-20</a> fires. Brilliantly, <a href="https://www.zoo.org.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Zoos Victoria</a> anticipated this pressure and developed supplementary food — <a href="https://theconversation.com/looks-like-an-anzac-biscuit-tastes-like-a-protein-bar-bogong-bikkies-help-mountain-pygmy-possums-after-fire-131045" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Bogong bikkies</a>.</p><p><span>Other more challenging, global or large-scale actions must address the </span><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iICpI9H0GkU&t=34s" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">root cause of environmental threats</a><span>, such as </span><a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-018-0504-8" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">human population growth and per-capita consumption</a><span> of environmental resources.</span><br></p><p>We must rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero, remove or suppress invasive species such as <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/mam.12080" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">feral cats</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-buffel-kerfuffle-how-one-species-quietly-destroys-native-wildlife-and-cultural-sites-in-arid-australia-149456" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">buffel grass</a>, and stop widespread <a href="https://theconversation.com/to-reduce-fire-risk-and-meet-climate-targets-over-300-scientists-call-for-stronger-land-clearing-laws-113172" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">land clearing</a> and other forms of habitat destruction.</p>
Our Lives Depend On It<p>The multiple ecosystem collapses we have documented in Australia are a harbinger for <a href="https://www.iucn.org/news/protected-areas/202102/natures-future-our-future-world-speaks" target="_blank">environments globally</a>.</p><p>The simplicity of the 3As is to show people <em>can</em> do something positive, either at the local level of a landcare group, or at the level of government departments and conservation agencies.</p><p>Our lives and those of our <a href="https://theconversation.com/children-are-our-future-and-the-planets-heres-how-you-can-teach-them-to-take-care-of-it-113759" target="_blank">children</a>, as well as our <a href="https://theconversation.com/taking-care-of-business-the-private-sector-is-waking-up-to-natures-value-153786" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">economies</a>, societies and <a href="https://theconversation.com/to-address-the-ecological-crisis-aboriginal-peoples-must-be-restored-as-custodians-of-country-108594" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cultures</a>, depend on it.</p><p>We simply cannot afford any further delay.</p><p><em><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/dana-m-bergstrom-1008495" target="_blank" style="">Dana M Bergstrom</a> is a principal research scientist at the University of Wollongong. <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/euan-ritchie-735" target="_blank" style="">Euan Ritchie</a> is a professor in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Centre for Integrative Ecology, School of Life & Environmental Sciences at Deakin University. <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lesley-hughes-5823" target="_blank">Lesley Hughes</a> is a professor at the Department of Biological Sciences at Macquarie University. <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michael-depledge-114659" target="_blank">Michael Depledge</a> is a professor and chair, Environment and Human Health, at the University of Exeter. </em></p><p><em>Disclosure statements: Dana Bergstrom works for the Australian Antarctic Division and is a Visiting Fellow at the University of Wollongong. Her research including fieldwork on Macquarie Island and in Antarctica was supported by the Australian Antarctic Division.</em></p><p><em>Euan Ritchie receives funding from the Australian Research Council, The Australia and Pacific Science Foundation, Australian Geographic, Parks Victoria, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, and the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC. Euan Ritchie is a Director (Media Working Group) of the Ecological Society of Australia, and a member of the Australian Mammal Society.</em></p><p><em>Lesley Hughes receives funding from the Australian Research Council. She is a Councillor with the Climate Council of Australia, a member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists and a Director of WWF-Australia.</em></p><p><em>Michael Depledge does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.</em></p><p><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://theconversation.com/existential-threat-to-our-survival-see-the-19-australian-ecosystems-already-collapsing-154077" target="_blank" style="">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>
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