February is the perfect time to eat your greens. Author Jackie Lynch reveals why cabbage is not to be underestimated for its gut-boosting, fatigue-fighting powers
One of the core principles of my new book Va Va Voom: The 10-Day Energy Diet is to eat more vegetables, because they contain so many nutrients that help to power our energy levels. But it can be difficult to know what to eat and when to eat it. You can get pretty much any fruit or vegetables you want in the supermarket which makes it hard to know what’s actually in season, especially if you’re a city dweller. This month it’s all about cabbage, which is at its very best right now.
Cabbage is part of the brassica family which includes kale , broccoli and Brussels sprouts. It’s highly nutritious and has a number of important health benefits.
Three great reasons to eat plenty of cabbage
Packed with fibre, cabbage is very important to help maintain a healthy digestion by supporting the correct balance of friendly bacteria. An imbalance of gut bacteria is called dysbiosis and this can cause symptoms such as bloating, wind and inconsistent bowel movements.
Cabbage contains sulphur compounds called glucosinolates which are believed to have a protective effect against certain forms of cancer, such as bladder, breast or colon cancer.
Red cabbage is a great source of protective flavonoids called anthocyanins which help to promote heart health by supporting a healthy blood pressure and maintaining the fluidity of arteries. The antioxidant content of red cabbage may also help to regulate cholesterol levels.
How cabbage can improve your energy levels
Like all leafy green vegetables, cabbage is packed with B vitamins which are vital links in the chain reaction required for energy production in the body. Eating a portion of leafy greens every day could make a big difference to your energy levels.
The best ways to eat cabbage
- B vitamins and vitamin C are water soluble, so it’s advisable to steam rather than boil cabbage, as up to 40% of vitamin content can be lost when boiled for too long.
- Anyone with an underactive thyroid should limit consumption of raw cabbage because it has a mild goitrogenic effect which may disrupt thyroid function
- Cabbage leaves can make a really effective low-carb alternative to a wrap. Try using the large outer cabbage leaves and rolling them around your chosen filling.
Jackie Lynch is a Registered Nutritional Therapist and Author of Va Va Voom: the 10-Day Energy Diet (Headline 14.99).
Visit her website at www.well-well-well.co.uk or you can follow her on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram via @WellWellWellUK.