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PHOTO: Suzie's Farm/Flickr
The crops have been harvested, and if you have a root cellar, it is stuffed with all manner of cold-storage veggies awaiting your use throughout the winter. One of the best vegetables to store is cabbage.
Growing Cabbage For Winter Health
We grow a lot of cabbage each year between our garden and my parent’s. It’s a cool-season crop, meaning it likes to grow in early spring and late fall. If you have a cold frame, you may even be able to coax a bit more time for growing it. The crop is a greedy feeder, so it’s wise to have plenty of compost on hand and to water it consistently so that the heads don’t crack. We interplant ours with chamomile to deter the cabbage looper moth.
I’m sure you know that cabbage is a delicious food. You may already make stuffed cabbage and fried cabbage occasionally, but did you know that it’s medicine, too? Let me share with you some of the wonderful things you can use cabbage for to support your health, and you may find yourself growing enough cabbage to have a head each week from now on!
Cabbage contains glutamine, which is a strong anti-inflammatory. You can eat your way to relief for common issues, such as arthritis, allergies and more.
2. Eye Health
It is also a great source of beta-carotene. There are suggestions in much of the literature on this nutrient that eating cabbage can contribute to the prevention of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
3. Strong Bones & Teeth
This brassica crop is rich in minerals, chief among them calcium, magnesium and potassium. Adding this vegetable to your diet is a great way to keep your dentist visits to a minimum and prevent osteoporosis.
4. Better Concentration & Memory
Cabbage is filled with vitamin K and anthocyanins known to boost your concentration. Be sure to add red cabbage to your rotation for this benefit, as it contains the highest levels of these particular nutrients. Beyond concentration, vitamin K seems to be able to repair the myelin sheath around our nerves, protecting us from the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, alzheimer’s and dementia.
5. Beautiful Skin & Hair
Cabbage is high in vitamin E and sulphur, which can prevent the signs of early aging and enhance our ability to recover from infections and rashes.
6. Immune System Booster & Cancer Fighter
Just as we have found with other members of the brassica family, cabbage is filled with a number of cancer-fighting and immune boosting compounds.
7. Digestive Health
If you struggle with pain, irritation, constipation or ulcers, cabbage is one of the best natural options you can choose! I have heard of good results with a cabbage juice fast, while others do well to add a pinch of homemade sauerkraut to each meal.
I encourage you to go looking for more information on the health benefits of cabbage, as this is by no means an exhaustive list. Among its other benefits is weight loss, blood pressure control and even blood sugar management. One note I would want to make is for those of you who suffer from a slow thyroid: Cabbage can act as a depressant for the thyroid when eaten often in its raw from. It isn’t as simple as never eating this vegetable raw though. There are many of its benefits that are destroyed in cooking. My best advice to all is to keep a good variety of recipes going. Try a fresh juice one morning and a cabbage soup on the evening of another day. Fry it occasionally, and sometimes add it fresh to your coleslaw. in this manner we can all benefit from this wonderful vegetable without any negative consequences.