I have always loved cole slaw, but until my celiac diagnosis, the only cole slaws I had ever tried were doused in a creamy (and not so healthy) dressing. About a year ago, I found a recipe on Eating Well Magazine’s website for cole slaw that I absolutely fell in love with, and the best part, it is not mayonnaise based. I eat this slaw weekly, and quite often, I will have a bowl of it for lunch. Once I learned about the rock star nutritional profile of cabbage, including being a good source of Vitamin K, I became a big fan of this cruciferous vegetable (see below for information).
3 Tbs. Cider Vinegar
4 tsp. Sugar (I used 3 tsp. of Stevia Extract In The Raw)
2 tsp. Canola Oil (I used Grapeseed Oil, my new favorite oil because of the health benefits)
1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
1/4 tsp. Celery Seeds
1/4 tsp. Mustard Seeds
1 cup shredded Green Cabbage
1 cup shredded Red Cabbage (I didn’t use in the following photo because I cheated and used the prepackaged Cole Slaw Mix)
1 Carrot, shredded
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
- Whisk together vinegar, sugar, oil, Dijon mustard, celery seeds and mustard seeds in a mixing bowl.
- Add green and red cabbage and carrots; toss well.
- Season with salt and pepper.
Vitamin K, along with the other fat-soluble Vitamins A, D and E are deficiencies commonly found in patients with untreated celiac disease. Vitamin K deficiency can lead to poor blood clotting and excessive bleeding (if you are taking a blood thinner, like Coumadin, there is important information about Vitamin K that you should read).
Cabbage is also a good source of Vitamin C, fiber, manganese, Vitamins B6, B1 and B2, Folate, Calcium, Potassium, Vitamin A and Omega 3 Fatty Acids! Cabbage, as well as all of the members of the Brassica family (including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and kale) are full of phytonutrients, and according to WHFoods.com:
The phytonutrients in cruciferous vegetables initiate an intricate dance inside our cells in which gene response elements direct and balance the steps among dozens of detoxification enzyme partners, each performing its own protective role in perfect balance with the other dancers. The natural synergy that results optimizes our cells’ ability to disarm and clear free radicals and toxins, including potential carcinogens, which may be why cruciferous vegetables appear to lower our risk of cancer more effectively than any other vegetables or fruits.
Here is another interesting factoid I read on WHFoods.com about red cabbage being protective against Alzheimer’s Disease:
In Alzheimer’s disease, an increase in the production or accumulation of a protein called beta-amyloid protein results in brain cell damage and death from oxidative (free radical) stress. Antioxidant polyphenols abundant in red cabbage, particularly its anthocyanins, can protect brain cells against the damage caused by amyloid-beta protein, suggests a study published in Food Science and Technology.
Red cabbages contain significantly more protective phytonutrients than white cabbages:
The vitamin C equivalent, a measure of antioxidant capacity, of red cabbages is six to eight times higher than that of white cabbage.
A 100 gram (about 3 ounces) serving of raw red cabbage delivers 196.5 milligrams of polyphenols, of which 28.3 milligrams are anthocyanins. White cabbages yield 45 milligrams of polyphenols including .01 milligram of anthocyanins per 100 grams. Summing up their study results, the researchers concluded: “additional consumption of vegetables such as red cabbage may be beneficial to increase chemopreventive effects in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.”
That was really great information for me to read, because I have a very strong family history of Alzeheimer’s. Of my grandmother’s 8 siblings, 7 died of Alzheimer’s and the other one died of brain cancer! Maybe I better start drinking cabbage juice too!
The problem with the Brassica family of vegetables is that they suffer from a bad rap in the taste category. I think that the key to enjoying them depends on the method of preparation (still have yet to find a way to like Brussels sprouts though!). Growing up, my mom boiled cabbage and I cannot imagine a worse cooking method for cabbage. In order to choke it down as a kid, I had to douse it in salt and plug my nose (otherwise, I would STILL be sitting at my parent’s kitchen table, waiting to be excused!). ;-) What gets my goat today, is knowing that I suffered for nothing, because boiling vegetables leaches out the healthy nutrients.
My favorite ways to eat cabbage is raw (in salads like cole slaw), or fermented in sauerkraut. I read the following information on sauerkraut on Sixwise.com:
Sauerkraut’s benefits are two-fold. First, it’s made of cabbage, which is known to fight cancer, treat peptic ulcers and provides vitamin C, fiber, manganese, vitamin B6 and folate. However, because sauerkraut is fermented, it has added benefits over regular cabbage.
Fermenting produces good bacteria known as probiotics, which produce beneficial enzymes, aid digestion and promote healthy flora in the digestive tract. Fermentation also produces isothiocyanates, compounds that have been shown to prevent cancer growth in test tubes and animals.
However, not all sauerkraut, particularly in the United States, will give you these benefits. Most sauerkraut sold in supermarkets is pasteurized, which means all of the good bacteria have been killed. In order to get the health benefits of fermentation you need traditionally prepared sauerkraut, which you can find in some health food stores (in the refrigerated section), in delis that make their own (sometimes sold in barrels) or by making it yourself.
Do you have a favorite way of eating cabbage? I would love to try some new recipes!
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