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Can Heart Disease Be Prevented and Reversed?

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Can Cabbage Prevent Heart Disease?

Being a staple of Northern European cuisine for centuries, cabbage is a healthy, low-carbohydrate, fiber rich vegetable. It is also very low in fat and calories: 100 grams of leaves carry just 25 calories. It is often thought to be of the same category as lettuce because of their similar appearance, but it is part of the cruciferous vegetable family that also includes kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. There are several varieties of cabbage, including head cabbage, napa cabbage and savoy cabbage. Cabbage can vary in color from green to red and purple, and the leaves can be smooth or crinkled.

The vegetable contains phytochemicals like thiocyanates, indole-3-carbinol, lutein, zeaxanthin, sulforaphane, and isothiocyanates. These compounds are potent antioxidants and known to help protect against breast, colon, and prostate cancers and help reduce LDL (low-density lipoprotein or the bad cholesterol) levels in the blood. Fresh cabbage is an excellent source of Vitamin C. Regular intake of Vitamin C helps human body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.

It is also rich in essential vitamins like pantothenic acid (Vitamin B-5), pyridoxine (Vitamin B-6) and thiamin (Vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential in the sense that human body requires them from external sources to replenish. It also has an adequate amount of minerals such as potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium plays an important role in balancing fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure.

Cabbage is an excellent source of Vitamin K, which has the potential role in bone metabolism through promoting osteoblastic activity. Sufficient amounts of Vitamin K in the diet contribute immensely to the bone health. Also, Vitamin K has established a role in the cure of Alzheimer's disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in their brain.

As a plant, cabbage is commonly used as a vegetable. In medicine, it can be used to treat stomach pain, excess stomach acid, stomach and intestinal ulcers, asthma and morning sickness. It is utilized to prevent weak bones (osteoporosis), as well as lung, stomach, colon, breast and other types of cancer. To date, more than 475 studies have examined the role of this cruciferous vegetable in cancer prevention (and in some cases, cancer treatment). The uniqueness of cabbage in cancer prevention is due to the 3 different types of nutrient richness namely antioxidant richness, anti-inflammatory richness, and richness in glucosinolates.

Nearly 20 different flavonoids and 15 different phenols in cabbage have been identified by researchers. All these compounds have demonstrated antioxidant activity that explains why an increasing number of studies link cabbage intake to a lower risk of several cardiovascular diseases. For instance, a recent report in the ĎAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutritioní found that even small amounts of intake of flavonoid-rich foods might lead to a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease. The high polyphenol content in cabbage might reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by preventing platelet build up and reducing blood pressure. Early research also suggests that adding cabbage and broccoli to a beverage containing fruit and other vegetables for 3 to 9 weeks might lower the LDL cholesterol in people with high cholesterol.

Findings of a study, which was released in 2014 and conducted by researcher at Vanderbilt University Medical Centre in Nashville, Tennessee, showed that consumption of fruits and vegetables, particularly cruciferous vegetables, was linked to a lower total mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality. But the potential mechanisms behind the link are not well understood. The researchers analysed signs of inflammation in the blood of 1,005 middle-aged Chinese women who filled out questionnaires about their diets as part of the Shanghai Women's Health Study. The results indicated that women who ate the most cruciferous vegetables had substantially less inflammation than those who ate the fewest.

However, cabbage does have some side effects. Consuming too much cabbage can cause some bloating and increase risk of diarrhea. It might also affect blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, and interfere with certain medication. For example, it might decrease the effectiveness of warfarin.




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