Cabbage, White Button Mushrooms, Cauliflower: Do They Have Nutritional Value?
Broccoli, spinach, and peppers are among the more "famous" vegetables, but there are lots of others out there, too. Just because they're less known doesn't mean they don't have value. This is part of a continuing series to keep you informed about the benefits of the "not-so-famous" vegetables.Cabbage
Value: Cabbage is a member of the cruciferous family, which includes broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, and bok choy. "Like broccoli and other members of this family, cabbage is full of nutrients and has cancer-fighting capabilities," says Lanah J. Brennan, RD, a Los Angeles dietitian. Cabbage is a good source of potassium, fiber, folate, B vitamins, and vitamin A.
Nutrients: One cup of chopped cabbage contains 32.6 milligrams vitamin C (54.3 percent of the daily value), 151 milligrams of potassium (4 percent), 38 micrograms folate (10 percent), 67.6 micrograms vitamin K (80 percent). Cabbage also contains almost 9 percent of the daily recommended amount of dietary fiber.
Health Perks: "Green cabbage is a top source of 'indirect antioxidants' called glucosinolates. These are phytonutrients that remove free radicals from the body by stimulating the body's own natural antioxidant systems. This cascade of antioxidant activity -- unlike the one-shot, finite amount you get from most direct antioxidants -- actually cycles over and over within the physiology, continuing to protect your system for as many as three to four days after the cabbage has been consumed," says Nicholas D. Gillitt, PhD, nutrition researcher at Dole Nutrition Institute. When cabbage is sliced or chewed, phytochemicals called indoles and isothiocyanates are also released.
Nutrition Stats: (1 cup) 22 calories, 5.2g carbohydrates, 1.14g protein, 2.2g fiber, 0.09g fat, 16mg sodium.
Purchasing: Cabbage is in season during the fall and winter. Look for heads that are colorful and firm. Check the stem to make sure it's not dried out. Avoid cabbages that are cracked or bruised. To get the most vitamin C, buy whole cabbage heads instead of those that are precut, says Brennan.
Avoid heads that feel light because they likely have lost a lot of moisture. The head should not have blemishes or withered leaves, says Molly Morgan, RD, of Creative Nutrition Solutions in Vestal, New York.
Storage: An uncut head should last about a week in your refrigerator, but it's best eaten as soon as possible after you buy it. Store it in a plastic bag, says Morgan.
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