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Health Benefits of Red Cabbage

Posted by Manuela Boyle on 29 December 2022
Health Benefits of Red Cabbage

Red cabbage is a nutrient-rich, cruciferous, or Brassica vegetable that’s related to cauliflower and kale. It’s sometimes called purple cabbage, since its leaves are a dark purple-reddish colour. Red cabbage typically is a little smaller and denser than green cabbage, and has a more peppery taste.

This variety of cabbage gets its purple-reddish colour from the flavonoid anthocyanin and the acidity level of the soil where it’s grown. Like most colourful vegetables, it’s highly nutritious, low in fat and calories, and has numerous health benefits.   

Red cabbage contains a variety of nutrients that are important for bone health. While most people know that vitamin D and calcium are critical to their bone health, other nutrients essential to your bones include vitamin K and magnesium. 

Red cabbage is high in fibre, making it easier to digest foods and keep your digestive system healthy. The high fibre content can keep food moving through your digestive system and reduce constipation. The soluble fibre in red cabbage can help the beneficial bacteria in your gut. It may help maintain a healthy balance of prebiotics in your digestive system, although more research is needed. Fermented red cabbage may also help promote the balance of gut microbes and probiotics in your digestive system. This can help strengthen your intestines.

The anthocyanins in red cabbage may benefit your heart. Diets high in anthocyanins, like those found in red cabbage, are linked with lower blood pressure. They’re also linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Like all cabbage varieties, red cabbage is rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, and is a low-calorie source of dietary fibre. Red cabbage is also high in antioxidants, especially anthocyanins. These nutrients in red cabbage help keep the body healthy and may help reduce the risk of health conditions such as cancer, osteoporosis, and heart disease. 

Red cabbage also contains other vitamins and minerals such as:

Vitamin A
Vitamin B6
Vitamin E

A one-cup (89g) serving of raw, chopped red cabbage contains:

Calories: 27.6
Protein: 1.27 gram
Fat: 0.1 gram
Carbohydrates: 6.56 grams
Fibre: 1.87 grams
Sugar: 3.41 grams
Vitamin K: 34 micrograms or 28% of the daily value
Vitamin C: 50.7 milligrams or 56% of the daily value
Folate: 16 micrograms or 4% of the daily value
Red cabbage is high in water and dietary fibre, which can help you feel full without consuming lots of calories. For this reason, it’s an excellent food to add to your diet if you’re trying to lose weight. It can be added to dishes like salads and coleslaw, used as a side dish, or the base ingredient of a main dish.

How to Prepare Red Cabbage
Red cabbage is easy to incorporate into your diet. This versatile vegetable can be added to soups, stews, salads, and coleslaw. It’s delicious raw, steamed, sauteed, and fermented. It retains the most nutrients when it’s eaten raw, but is still highly nutritious when cooked. The flavour also becomes a little more subdued as a result of the cooking process.

When selecting a red cabbage, be sure to pick one that’s heavy and firm. The outer leaves shouldn’t be too damaged, and the colour should be vibrant or bright. When prepping your red cabbage, you’ll likely want to remove the first few outer leaves. Be sure to wash the red cabbage thoroughly. Many recipes will have you add vinegar or apple cider vinegar during the cooking process to help lock in the purple-reddish colour. 

Here are some ways to use red cabbage in recipes:

Chop up raw red cabbage and add to salads or coleslaw
Lightly steam it and serve as an easy side dish
Add red cabbage to a potato hash to add additional colour and nutrients
Steam red cabbage and add to dumpling fillings
Braise or simmer red cabbage with apples and spices for a delicious side dish
Add red cabbage to soups or stews 
Roast it with bacon
Ferment red cabbage to make kimchi or sauerkraut
Top tacos with a red cabbage slaw


Author:Manuela Boyle
Tags:NewsBlogsPersonalised DietsRecipes


  • The Institute for Functional Medicine
  • Society for Integrative Oncology
  • Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia
  • Australian Traditional-Medicine Society
  • British Naturopathic Association