9 Impressive Benefits of Red Cabbage

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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The health benefits of red cabbage include prevention of premature aging and cancer, skin and eye care, weight loss, and an immune system boost. It is also good for increasing bone density, detoxifying the body, preventing diabetes, improving heart health, slowing down the onset of Alzheimer’s, and healing ulcers.

What is Red Cabbage?

Red cabbage is a nutritious and delicious vegetable that has become very popular throughout the world for a number of reasons. Also known as purple cabbage or red kraut, it is a member of the Brassicaceae family and can be found throughout Northern Europe, America, and parts of China.

Interestingly enough, red cabbage is often used as a pH indicator, since it changes color specifically dependent on the pH balance of the material it is in. The color of the cabbage will actually fluctuate depending on the pH balance of the soil it grows in! It also keeps much better than traditional cabbage, meaning that it doesn’t need to be consumed or pickled to last winter. It is most often used in salads, but it can also be cooked and served as a side dish to certain meat dishes. Furthermore, it can be used in sauerkraut, particularly in German cuisine.

Whole and halved red cabbages on a wooden table

Nutrition Facts

Cabbage, red, raw
Serving Size :
Water [g]90.39
Energy [kcal]31
Protein [g]1.43
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.16
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]7.37
Fiber, total dietary [g]2.1
Sugars, total [g]3.83
Calcium, Ca [mg]45
Iron, Fe [mg]0.8
Magnesium, Mg [mg]16
Phosphorus, P [mg]30
Potassium, K [mg]243
Sodium, Na [mg]27
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.22
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]57
Thiamin [mg]0.06
Riboflavin [mg]0.07
Niacin [mg]0.42
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.21
Folate, DFE [µg]18
Vitamin B-12 [µg]0
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]56
Vitamin A, IU [IU]1116
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]0.11
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg]0
Vitamin D [IU]0
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]38.2
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.02
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.01
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.08
Fatty acids, total trans [g]0
Cholesterol [mg]0
Caffeine [mg]0
Sources include : USDA

Red Cabbage Nutrition Facts

One of the main reasons why red cabbage is such a popular vegetable addition to meals is the wealth of phytochemicals, antioxidants, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. These essential components include thiamin, riboflavin, folate, calcium, manganese, magnesium, iron, and potassium, as well as vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, dietary fiber, and the B vitamins. Its organic compounds are almost too many to list, but its antioxidants like anthocyanins and indoles are extremely valuable for human health.

Health Benefits of Red Cabbage

Health benefits of red cabbage include the following:

Reduces Cancer Risk

One of the most important functions of red cabbage is its role in cancer prevention. Dr. Jagdish Singh, Dr. A.K. Upadhyay, et al, Indian Institute of Vegetable Research, BHU, Varanasi published a report in the Scientia Horticulturae Journal, which states that the high levels of antioxidants including anthocyanins and indoles, in red cabbage, make it extremely important as a preventative measure. This is actually where the purple color comes from, as some of these phytochemicals normally show in this hue. The rich coloring is proof of just how powerful these vegetables are for your overall health. According to the National Cancer Institute, the indoles in cruciferous vegetables such as red cabbage have been connected to reducing breast cancer in women.

Weight Loss

Red cabbage is very low in calories, but high in dietary fiber and has a wealth of important vitamins and minerals. Basically, this means that it gives you more bang for your buck, leaving you feeling full and taking care of your nutritional needs, without encouraging you to eat more food or overeat from empty calories. This can be a great addition to your daily diet if you are trying to lose weight, maintain a diet regimen, or simply improve your intake of calories.

Anti-aging Property

There are a number of aspects in red cabbage that makes it ideal for keeping you looking young. Antioxidants do more than protecting you from the impact of free radicals in terms of critical disease; they also help reduce the signs of aging that can occur due to free radicals. Antioxidants keep your skin fresh, tight, and flexible, reducing the wrinkles and age spots that so commonly occur. Furthermore, the high levels of vitamin A in red cabbage is very beneficial for skin health, regrowth of skin cells, protection from sun damage, and the elasticity of the skin.

Eye Care

The high levels of vitamin A are not only good for your skin, but also for your eyes. Vitamin A helps keep the eyesight healthy and prevents macular degeneration and cataract formation. It can also be converted into beta-carotene, which is very important for maintaining eye health as you age.

Heals Ulcers

Red cabbage contains a large amount of a specific amino acid called glutamine. This specific amino acid is very good for reducing the inflammation and pain associated with ulcers in the gastrointestinal system. Red cabbage juice is specifically the best remedy for this condition and has been used as a home remedy for a very long time.

Boosts Immune System

Red cabbage is a wealth of vitamins, but none is as important as vitamin C. Ascorbic acid is an important antioxidant and is a massive element of our immune system. It stimulates the activity of white blood cells, which form the first line of defense for the immune system. Furthermore, vitamin C is important in the formation of collagen, which keeps our bodies and cells connected and solid.

Health benefits of red cabbage - infographic

Protects from Alzheimer’s Disease

A 2018 research study published in the European Journal of Medicinal Plants showed evidence that red cabbage showed evidence of antioxidant and anticholinesterase properties. This could help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Further studies are needed to gauge the full potential of red cabbage. 


Increases Bone Mineral Density

The high concentrations of certain essential minerals make red cabbage one of the best vegetables to eat to ensure healthy bone growth and development. Like other vegetables in the Brassicaceae family, red cabbage is rich in calcium, magnesium, manganese, and other important minerals that contribute to bone growth and mineral density that protects against osteoporosis, arthritis, and various other types of inflammation.

Word of Caution: If you suffer from hypothyroidism, it is recommended that you stay away from red cabbage. Also, for pregnant mothers, babies often develop colic if their mothers have eaten cabbage, so most doctors recommend not consuming red cabbage while pregnant.

Other than that, enjoy all the cabbage you want!

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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