Eat a rainbow - red cabbage

We are always being told to 'eat a rainbow', that is different coloured fruit and vegetables and there is a good reason for this.  Different coloured fruit and vegetables have different antioxidants, vitamins and minerals so by eating a variety, you are taking steps to boost your wellbeing.

Red cabbage is a wonderful way to eat 'red' at this time of year when it is in season - it makes a tasty accompaniment to your Christmas nut roast (see below) and you can make a really nice winter coleslaw using shredded, raw, red cabbage. It is bursting with the antioxidant vitamin C which keeps your immune system boosted and prevents free radical damage which causes degenerative diseases including impaired immunity. Free radicals can also age your skin by attacking collagen and so red cabbage can help prevent wrinkles.

Red cabbage is also a good source of vitamin A, another antioxidant which helps keep your mucus membranes healthy so that they can repel the bacteria and viruses which are around at this time of year (isn't nature just wonderful, providing the right foods to keep us healthy at the right time).

It is rich in fibre- both soluble and insoluble which can help lower cholesterol and keep the gut healthy. By preventing constipation red cabbage prevents toxic build up in the gut.

Red cabbage also is rich in anthocyanins and indoles which give it its colour and are also anti-inflammatory.  I have said this many times but it bears repeating - inflammation is the underlying cause of many diseases including diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and cancer.  

What is of special interest to me however is that red cabbage is a rich source of vitamin K, the 'other' nutrient apart from vitamin D, calcium and boron that is essential to help keep bones strong and healthy, helping to prevent osteoporosis.

Why not try the recipe below for Christmas red cabbage? (but don't just save it for Christmas!)

Christmas red cabbage 

In this recipe the sweetness of the apple balances the earthiness of the red cabbage.

Serves 4 

You will need

1 tbsp organic olive oil
1/2 red onion, peeled and chopped
1/2 red cabbage, outer leaf and stalk removed then finely chopped
1 eating apple, peeled and chopped
pinch salt
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Heat the oil and cook the onion with a pinch of salt on a medium until becoming transparent. Add the red cabbage, balsamic vinegar, apple and 2 tbsp water.  Cover and cook over a low heat until tender.  Makes a good side dish to go with your Christmas tofu turkey (please see 'Meatless Monday: Turkey style tofu with stuffing'- or a nut roast (please see 'Meatless Monday: A trio of nut roasts'-

Other red seasonal fruit includes red apples, cranberries, beetroot and pomegranates.

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