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Eating Well With Whole Foods: Cabbage

by Suzann Pileggi Pawelski

Cabbage has long been a popular, and affordable, dietary staple throughout the world. A member of the Cruciferae family of vegetables, its relatives include kale, broccoli, collards, and Brussels sprouts. Early German settlers introduced cabbage and the traditional sauerkraut recipe, a dish made from fermented cabbage, into the United States. As a result, people of German descent were often referred to as "krauts." Some of the leading producers of cabbage today include Russia, Poland, China and Japan.

Chock full of healthy nutrients, cabbage is an excellent source of vitamins C and K. It is also a very good source of dietary fiber, manganese, vitamin B6, folate, and omega 3 fatty acids. A terrific detoxifier, cabbage promotes women’s health, gastro-intestinal health, cardiovascular health, and protects against Alzheimer’s disease. Research has shown that the high level of phytonutrients in cruciferous vegetables, like cabbage, make them more effective at preventing cancer than other vegetables or fruits. Just 3 to 5 servings a week – less than one serving a day – is all you need to lower your risk of cancer.

Opt for cabbage heads that are firm with bright, crisp and colorful leaves. Avoid those that are cracked or bruised, which may signify inner decay. For the best taste and most nutritional benefits, choose those with only a few outer loose leaves attached to the stem and select cabbage heads over ones that are precut or shredded. Cabbage will retain its high vitamin C content for a week to two weeks if stored whole in a plastic bag in the crisper of your refrigerator. Before eating cabbage, remove the thick fibrous outer leaves, cut into pieces, and wash under running water. Since the vitamin C content of cabbage rapidly degrades once it has been cut, try to eat it as soon as possible after preparing it. Cabbage can be cut into large chunks, grated, or shredded depending on personal choice. To reap optimal cancer-fighting benefits, eat cabbage raw, lightly steamed or sautéed rather than over cooked, which decreases the production of healthy phytonutrients. Substitute cabbage for bread when making your favorite veggie wrap. Stuff brown rice, beans, or tuna into a few thick leaves, roll up, and bake in oven for a delicious treat. Sautée cabbage with onions and serve over protein-packed quinoa for a healthy snack. For a refreshing summer salad toss shredded cabbage with lemon juice, olive oil, and your favorite spices.

Asian Ginger Cabbage

6 cups green cabbage, thinly sliced

½ cup scallions, chopped

1 TBS ginger, minced

1 TBS garlic, minced

1 ½ TBS low-sodium soy sauce

1 TBS vegetable broth

½ TBS rice vinegar

Dash of sea salt and fresh pepper

Heat vegetable broth in a large pot. Sauté cabbage, scallion, ginger, and garlic for 3 minutes over medium heat. Stir frequently. Add soy sauce, rice vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Suzann Pileggi Pawelski is a certified holistic health counselor. She works with clients on nourishing their body and soul by helping them make better food and lifestyle choices. She uses food to naturally increase energy, control cravings and create a balanced lifestyle. She conducts special sugar seminars at Radu’s Physical Culture gym in NYC. Visit her website at www.suzannpileggi.com , or you can email her at suzannpileggi@aol.com ,  or call her at (212) 799-4169 for a FREE initial holistic health consultation. Phone consultations and group seminars available.

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