Overshadowed by its trendy cousin kale, we often keep cabbage hidden away in salad mixes or soups, if we pick it up at all. But now it's time to give cabbage the attention it deserves, especially if you're looking to drop a few pounds.
The "cabbage soup diet" craze may have tricked you into believing that the vegetable can actually burn fat from your body but, sadly, no food has that power. Still, don't throw out that fresh head from the grocery just yet, as adding cabbage to your diet has many nutritional benefits and can promote weight loss in a healthy fashion.
Kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and — you guessed it — cabbage, are brassica vegetables that are packed with nutrients and known mostly for their cancer-fighting powers. They contain sulforaphane, an antioxidant that stimulates natural detoxifying enzymes which can help prevent certain forms of cancer.
>> Read more: Should You Kick Kale to the Curb?
While cabbage can't burn fat, one of this superfood's greatest benefits for dieters is that it's low-cal. Half a cup of cabbage packs only 17 calories, so replacing high-calorie foods with this vegetable or substituting large meals with cabbage-based dishes can certainly help you lose weight. Dr. Jonny Bowden, Ph.D. and clinical nutrition specialist, says that a single cup of cabbage contains four grams of dietary fiber. Packed in such a limited number of calories, this can also stimulate weight loss because dietary fibers help stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent overeating. (via Livestrong)
Brassica vegetables, cabbage in particular, provide a strong source of dietary vitamin C and contain vitamins A, B1, B2 and B6 which support metabolism. The rich vitamins cabbage holds help to maintain tissue health as you shed the pounds, too.
>> Read more: Can You Change Your Metabolism?
When shopping for cabbage, pick up a tightly packed, heavy bulb in the brightest shade possible since colorful vegetables contain the most nutrients. It will stay fresh for nearly two weeks in this form, or for 5-7 days if it's chopped. To ensure you get the most health benefits from your cabbage, it is best served raw, steamed or lightly sautéed. If boiled or overheated, cabbage is stripped of many of its nutritional qualities, and it causes a less-than-pleasant sulfuric smell that lingers in your kitchen. (via Greatist)
Ready to make cabbage a staple in your diet? Try a making a salad that stars this vegetable rather than tries to hide it, like this Weight Loss Soup or Red Cabbage, Radicchio and Endive Salad. Or prepare it with some spice in a Sriracha Beef Cabbage Bowl! For a simple recipe that maintains all of your cabbage's great nutrients, try sautéed cabbage. Seriously, this vegetable is so versatile, it can even replace spinach or kale in your morning smoothie, just as it does in this Red Berry, Cabbage and Almond Smoothie.