A healthy head of cabbage!

You would be surprised at how healthy a head of cabbage is! Benefits of cabbage include frequent use as a treatment for constipation, stomach ulcers, headaches, obesity, skin disorders, eczema, jaundice, scurvy, rheumatism, arthritis, gout, eye disorders, heart diseases, aging, and Alzheimer’s disease. Incorporate cabbage into your vegan meal plan for optimum health!

The inexpensive used cabbage can practically work miracles. The leafy vegetable of Brassica family,  most commonly consists of soft, light green or whitish inner leaves covered with harder and dark green outer leaves, but the purple variety is my absolute favourite. Widely used throughout the world, and can be prepared in a number of ways, but mostly, it is included as either a cooked or raw part of many salads.

Cabbage is beneficial in curing various health ailments:

Deficiency of Vitamin C: 

Scurvy is a disease commonly characterized by spongy and bleeding gums, cracked lip corners, weakened immune system, frequent infections and cold, premature aging, and depression.

Remedy: Cabbage is an abundant source of Vitamin C. Vitamin C, as one of the best antioxidants, reducing free radicals in the body that are one of the fundamental causes of premature aging. It also helps in repairing the wear and tear on the body through the course of ones life, and is helpful in treating ulcers, certain cancers, depression, boosts immune, and defends against cough and cold. It also speeds up the healing process for wounds and damaged tissues, regulates the proper functioning of the nervous system, and reduce the effects and presence of Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative neural diseases.

Deficiency of Roughage: 

This is a very serious deficiency but one that is commonly overlooked in the maintenance of personal health. A lack of roughage in food can result in constipation, which is the root cause of many other ailments and health hazards such as stomach ulcers, headaches, gastrointestinal cancers, indigestion and a subsequent loss of appetite. The dangers of roughage deficiency even extends to skin diseases, eczema, premature aging and hundreds of mild to serious conditions.

Remedies: Cabbage is very rich in fiber, the main health benefit of roughage. This helps the body retain water and it maintains the bulkiness of the food as it moves through the bowels. A great remedy together with going vegan, for constipation relief and other digestion-related problems.

Deficiency of Sulphur:

Sulphur is a very useful nutrient because it fights infections. A deficiency of sulphur can result in microbial infections and a greatly reduced rate in the healing of wounds.

Remedy: Again, cabbage is rich is sulphur. So, it helps fight infections in wounds and reduces the frequency and severity of ulcers.

Other Health Benefits of Cabbage:

Cancer Prevention:  One of their most important celebrated benefits to health is their powerful antioxidant quality, in that cabbage and other similar vegetables scavenge free radicals from around the body, which are detrimental to overall health and are major contributors to cancer and heart disease. Lupeol, sinigrin, and sulforaphane, are known to stimulate enzyme activity and inhibit the growth of tumors, which lead to cancer. A study has shown (performed primarily on Chinese women), a significant reduction in breast cancer when cruciferous vegetables like cabbage were regularly added to their meals.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties:  Known to accumulate a build-up of cadmium-binding complexes in its leaves, and one of the main components of that is glutamine. Glutamine is a strong anti-inflammatory agent, reducing the effects of many types of inflammation, irritation, allergies, joint pain, fever, and various skin disorders.

Eye Health:  A rich source of beta carotene, many people, particularly as we get older, turn to cabbage for its ability to prevent macular degeneration and generally promote good eye health and the delay and prevention of cataract formation. Beta-carotene has also been positively linked to reduced chances of prostrate cancer, which is an extra added bonus on top of the other anti-carcinogenic effects of cabbage!

Weight Loss:  Those who want to lose weight in a healthy way can do so by going vegan – adding a regular dose of cabbage is highly recommended, since cabbage is packed with so many beneficial vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, it is quite filling, and has high levels of fiber, which add bulk to the bowels, extremely low in calories, with only 33 calories per cup of cooked cabbage.

Brain Health: Let’s not forget that cabbage is a very powerful brain food! The presence of Vitamin K and anthocyanins within cabbage give a strong boost to mental function and concentration. These are primarily found in red cabbage, and vitamin K has been well-researched, although it is often called the “forgotten vitamin”. Vitamin K is essential in the production of sphingolipids, the myelin sheath around nerves. This wrapping is what protects nerves from damage and decay. Consuming vitamin K improves defence against neural degeneration, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.

Furthermore, the anthocyanins in cabbage are a current area of research, but early indications point to it being a more powerful source of antioxidants than vitamin-C, and red cabbage has even more types of anthocyanins than common cabbage. It also appears that the nutrient uptake is not limited by anything, and that one can eat as much cabbage as they want, and continue to accumulate antioxidants, which help fight off diseases, reduce chances of cancer, improves the nervous system, and increases brain function.

Bone Health:  All cruciferous vegetables, are great sources of minerals –  calcium, magnesium, and potassium. These three essential minerals are integral in the protection of bones from degradation and the onset of osteoporosis and general bone weakening.

Blood Pressure: The presence of potassium in cabbage makes it a wonderful way to protect oneself from elevated blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.  Potassium is a vasodilator –  it opens up the blood vessels and eases the flow of blood.

Skin Care and Premature Ageing:  Antioxidants play a major role in skin health and the general toning and improvement of the body in response to the ageing process. Free radicals are an underlying cause of wrinkles, skin discolouration, spots, and many other conditions. Antioxidants you gain by eating cabbage can cause a turn-around in your aging processes, leaving you feeling and looking healthy and young.

Muscle Aches: When certain bacteria ferment the sugars in cabbage, such as during the cooking of sauerkraut, lactic acid is released. It isn’t the easiest compound to find in a diet, but it has been shown to reduce muscle soreness and aches, so in some small way, cabbage helps general pain relief and muscle soreness, depending on how it is prepared.

Detoxification by cabbage:

A great detoxifier –  it purifies the blood and removes toxins, primarily free radicals and uric acid which are primary causes of rheumatism, gout, arthritis, renal calculi, skin diseases, and eczema. This detoxifying effect of cabbage is due to the high content of vitamin C and sulphur.

Whether you cook it, eat it raw, pickle it, or make a probiotic with it – consider adding more cabbage to your already healthy vegan meal plan for optimum health! I absolutely love raw shredded cabbage tossed with black salt, hemp seed oil, oregano, and apple cider vinegar – folded into a sesame seed wrap. Let’s hear how you love cabbage and how you prepare it!

Stay healthy, eat healthy – be vegan for life!

 

 

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What are probiotics – why are they good for us?

Probiotics are a microorganism introduced into the body for its beneficial qualities.They are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for health, especially our digestive system. We usually think of bacteria as something that causes diseases. But our body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are often called “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy. They are naturally found in your body, but can also be found in some healthy vegan foods.

How Do They Work?

  • When we lose “good” bacteria in our body, probiotics will help replace them.
  • They lower the amount of “bad” bacteria in our system that causes infections or other problems.
  • They help balance our “good” and “bad” bacteria to keep our body working like it should.

What Do They Do?

Probiotics help move food through our gut. Researchers are still trying to figure out which are best for certain health problems. Some common conditions they treat are:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Infectious diarrhea (caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites)
  • Antibiotic-related diarrhea

There is also some research to show they ease the symptoms of non-stomach-related problems. For example, some people say they have helped with:

  • Skin conditions, like eczema
  • Urinary and vaginal health
  • Preventing allergies and colds
  • Oral health

Benefits of probiotics for re-establishing and maintaining gut integrity and optimal health. What is the purpose of probiotics, who should consume them and for how long, and are they vegan?

Who and for how long?

Unless you’ve never been on a dose of antibiotics in your life, never eaten an animal product injected with steroids, hormones or antibiotics, never travel and are able to shield your body from environmental toxins via air, water and food – then you can stand to benefit from daily probiotic consumption.

Benefits of probiotics:

Our bodies require a healthy dose of good bacteria in order to maintain wellness. Meanwhile probiotics perform many daily functions:

  • break down and digest food
  • produce vitamins
  • suppress other microbes that threaten to take over, such as yeast
  • replenish good bacteria destroyed by antibiotics and environmental insults
  • manage diarrhea and urinary tract infections
  • potentially alleviate medical conditions such as: ◦Irritable bowel syndrome

◦Diarrhea, especially when associated with antibiotic use

◦Ulcers

◦Colitis

◦Chronic yeast infections

◦Autoimmune Illnesses

  • display minimal side effects, mainly gas initially as gut integrity is re-established

Enjoy natural vegan probiotics – fermented plant foods (cultured vegetables, sauerkraut, tempeh, miso, coconut kefir, kimchi, kombucha, etc…). But always keep in mind that these foods may or may not have been cultured with lactobacillus which from an ethical standpoint you want to avoid.

Fermented foods are cheaper than supplements, tastier, and usually more effective. Adding these delights to our daily intake is quite feasible and in many ways preferred, but it will require additional education, planning and incorporation of new foods. Making our own fermented foods is cost effective, tasty, and usually more effective, and at least we know exactly what goes into them. Start with the easy ones to make like sauerkraut – obtainable to have a bottle of that in our fridge always.

The casein protein:

Unlike lactobacillus, casein is a mammalian milk protein that is non-vegan. In many cases, casein invokes a severe food allergen – avoid.

What to look out for in a “vegan” probiotic:

  • Read “vegan” labels – make sure you can view all the ingredients prior to purchasing online
  • Magnesium Stearate – look for “vegetable magnesium stearate” instead
  • Casein = milk protein
  • Capsules made with gelatin = horse, cow, sheep hoof remnants
  • Honey, Bee Pollon, Royal Jelly, Propolis, Beeswax = bee related
  • Lac Resin/Shellac = bug juice, think M&M’s coating
  • Cholecalciferol = animal version of vitamin D
  • Vitamin A – from fish or animal livers

Vegan Options:

Overall my recommendation for anyone, especially the true vegan (avoiding lactobacillus), is to consume probiotics from cultured and fermented foods. This is a delectable option because it provides nourishment while enjoying the probiotic benefits within real, whole vegan foods rich in water, fiber, nutrients and phytochemicals!

The great news is that there are plenty of convenient options for getting started such as a daily dose of fermented veggies (cultured veggies, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles) soy products (1-2 servings of soy or coconut based yogurt, tempeh, miso) or beverages (like Kombucha and Kevita).

In fact, learning the art of fermenting vegetables in your own kitchen may be that next challenge you’ve been seeking as a veteran vegan looking to take your health to the next level!

What is kombucha:

Because it’s naturally fermented with a living colony of bacteria and yeast, Kombucha is a probiotic beverage. This has a myriad of benefits such as improved digestion, fighting candida (harmful yeast) overgrowth, mental clarity, and mood stability.

What is kimchi:

Spicy pickled cabbage

What is tempeh:

Tempeh is a traditional soy product originally from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form, similar to a very firm vegan burger patty.

What is miso:

This is a paste made from fermented soybeans and barley or rice malt, used in Japanese cooking.

What is Kevita:

Is a beverage handcrafted from four strains of live probiotic. Flavors include Coconut, Mango Coconut and Pomegranate. KeVita is certified organic, non-dairy, non-GMO, gluten free and vegan.

What is Coconut kefir:

is a beverage that’s becoming more and more popular due to its incredible health benefits, for everything such as boosting immunity to fighting off harmful yeasts and bacteria. While kombucha brought back the hip factor to the world of fermented foods, coconut kefir is taking the reigns pretty quickly.

So there ya have it – take full advantage of another mega wonder of nature. Stay healthy, keep fit, be happy, always vegan.