No matter what color cabbage you choose, you can’t go wrong. They’re both very low in calories and high in fiber and nutrients. Eating just 1 cup of either one provides 4 percent of the recommended daily intake of eight vitamins and minerals. But there are some differences between the two, especially when it comes to vitamin A.
Red cabbage has 10 times more vitamin A than green cabbage. Both types of cabbage contain vitamin A in the form of the carotenoids beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that can also be converted into the vitamin A you need for vision and to keep your skin and immune system healthy. Lutein and zeaxanthin function only as antioxidants in the eyes. They may help prevent early stage age-related macular degeneration from progressing into the late stage, according to research published in the February 2012 issue of the “British Journal of Nutrition.” One cup of chopped red cabbage has 33 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A. The same portion of green cabbage only has 3 percent.
Green cabbage has the upper hand when it comes to vitamin K, but they’re both good sources. One cup of chopped green cabbage has 57 percent of the daily intake, compared to 28 percent in red cabbage. Vitamin K is named after the German word “koagulation” because it must be available for blood to coagulate, or clot. Vitamin K also regulates bone mineralization, which impacts bone density. Women with low dietary intake of vitamin K have lower bone density and an increased risk of hip fracture, according to research published in the February 2003 issue of the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.”
Vitamin C’s value as an antioxidant comes from its strong ability to neutralize a variety of free radicals, but if you want the maximum benefit, you need to consume the recommended daily amount. Adult men need 90 milligrams daily and women need 75 milligrams. Smokers should add another 35 milligrams and pregnant women need 85 milligrams daily. Vitamin C is also needed for the production of collagen, which strengthens skin and helps heal wounds. One cup of chopped red cabbage has 51 milligrams and the same amount of green cabbage has 37 milligrams.
In addition to delivering oxygen to cells throughout your body, iron is part of a protein — myoglobin — that stores oxygen in your heart and skeletal muscles. Myoglobin ensures you have enough oxygen to meet your muscle’s needs during exercise. Other proteins and enzymes depend on the presence of iron to produce energy and synthesize DNA. Your immune system needs iron for the development of cells that fight viruses. Red cabbage has double the iron than green cabbage, providing 0.7 milligrams in 1 cup, compared to 0.4 milligrams in green cabbage. Women should get 18 milligrams, but men only need 8 milligrams of iron daily.
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Cabbage, Raw
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Cabbage, Red, Raw
- New York University Langone Medical Center: Carotenoids
- British Journal of Nutrition: Lutein and Zeaxanthin Intake and the Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration — A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin K
- Bastyr University: Vitamin K
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Vitamin K Intake and Bone Mineral Density in Women and Men
- National Academies Press: Vitamin C
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin C
Juice of the Day:
Spinach and Swiss Chard
1 Celery Stalk
1/4 cup Mint Leaves
1/2 cup Red Cabbage
1/4 cup Raspberries
1/4 cup Blueberries
1 Tbsp Granola
1Tbsp Goji Berries
1 Tbsp Flax seeds
1 inch size Ginger