Cabbage juice has become an increasingly popular health drink in recent years. Some proponents claim that drinking cabbage juice daily can provide a wide range of health benefits. However, there are also some potential safety concerns to be aware of when consuming cabbage juice regularly. In this article, we’ll explore the proposed benefits and possible risks of drinking cabbage juice every day.
Potential Benefits of Daily Cabbage Juice
Here are some of the ways that advocates claim cabbage juice can improve health when drunk daily:
May support digestive health
Cabbage juice contains insoluble fiber, which can promote regularity and healthy digestion. The fiber adds bulk to stool and may help food pass more smoothly through the intestines. This may relieve constipation and support overall GI functioning.
Rich in antioxidants
Cabbage juice provides antioxidants like vitamin C, anthocyanins, and sulfur compounds. These antioxidants help neutralize free radicals and oxidative stress in the body. This may protect cells against damage and reduce inflammation.
May boost immunity
The antioxidants and phytochemicals in cabbage juice can support the immune system. For example, vitamin C stimulates white blood cell production and activity. Sulforaphane may also enhance immunity against pathogens. Drinking it daily provides a regular dose of these immune-boosting nutrients.
Cabbage contains compounds called glucosinolates. When the vegetable is chewed or juiced, these glucosinolates convert into isothiocyanates like sulforaphane. Research suggests sulforaphane has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and potential anticancer effects.
May aid in detoxification
The antioxidants and phytochemicals in cabbage juice may help the body eliminate toxins and waste products. Sulforaphane boosts detoxification enzymes in the liver. Vitamin C is also involved in liver detoxification processes. This may support overall cleansing and purification.
Could lower cholesterol
Animal and test-tube studies indicate cabbage juice may help reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol. This is likely due to its content of phytochemicals that inhibit cholesterol synthesis. By improving cholesterol levels, cabbage juice could support heart health.
May benefit blood pressure
Cabbage juice provides potassium, which helps balance sodium levels and promote vasodilation. This effect may lower high blood pressure. The juice also has anthocyanins, which give red cabbage its purple color. Anthocyanins further contribute to cabbage juice’s potential blood pressure-lowering effects.
May have anticancer activity
As mentioned earlier, cabbage juice contains antioxidants and phytochemicals that exhibit anticancer properties in research. Although human studies are still limited, regularly consuming the phytochemicals in cabbage juice could potentially help inhibit cancer cell growth and development.
Potential Safety Concerns and Side Effects
Despite its proposed benefits, there are also some potential safety issues to consider with drinking cabbage juice daily:
Cabbage contains goitrogens, compounds that can interfere with thyroid function by blocking iodine uptake. Those with thyroid issues should exercise caution with high cabbage juice intake. Goitrogens are reduced but not eliminated by juicing.
Blood clotting concerns
Cabbage contains vitamin K, which plays a key role in blood clotting. Those taking blood-thinning medication (like warfarin) should keep cabbage juice intake consistent to avoid complications. Sudden increases in vitamin K can reduce the effectiveness of these drugs.
Gas and bloating
For some people, raw cabbage juice may initially cause abdominal discomfort, gas, and bloating. Start with small amounts and gradually increase to allow the body to adjust. This side effect usually resolves over time as the digestive system acclimates.
Cabbage juice could potentially interact with certain medications like lithium, antibiotics, blood pressure drugs, and diabetes medications. Speak with your healthcare provider before regularly consuming cabbage juice while on prescription medications.
High vitamin K intake
While beneficial for clotting, too much vitamin K from foods like cabbage juice can also pose a safety concern. Extremely high intakes of vitamin K could potentially contribute to complications in people at risk for blood vessel calcification. Moderation is advised.
Cabbage contains nitrates, compounds that can convert to nitrites in the body. Nitrites can react with amines to form nitrosamines, which are potential carcinogens. However, human research on nitrosamine formation from vegetables has been inconclusive thus far.
There are currently no official recommendations for how much cabbage juice to drink per day. However, most proponents suggest 1/2 to 1 cup daily, either on its own or combined with other vegetable juices. This appears to be a safe and potentially beneficial amount for most healthy adults.
Those taking medications or with medical conditions should speak to their healthcare provider first before adding daily cabbage juice to their diet. Children, pregnant women, and elderly adults may also want to exercise additional caution.
When trying cabbage juice for the first time, start with just 2-4 ounces per day. Monitor for any digestive upset. If no adverse effects are noticed, the amount can be gradually increased over several weeks.
To minimize safety concerns, stick to moderate intake of no more than 1 cup per day. Make sure your intake of cabbage juice is relatively consistent from day to day as well. Also, include a variety of other fruits and vegetables in your diet for balance.
How Cabbage Juice is Made
Cabbage juice is made by juicing fresh cabbage leaves and stems. Both green and red (purple) varieties can be used. Here is the basic process:
1. Remove any wilted or damaged outer leaves from the cabbage head. Rinse the remaining leaves well.
2. Chop the cabbage into pieces small enough to fit through your juicer’s feed tube.
3. Juice the cabbage pieces, collecting the liquid that comes out in a glass or pitcher.
4. Stir the juice and drink it immediately for best flavor and nutrition.
Optional steps include combining the cabbage juice with other vegetables like carrots or celery. You can also add a bit of lemon juice or ginger to improve the taste.
Be sure to thoroughly clean your juicer after using it to make cabbage juice. The strong sulforaphane compounds can leave an odor if left behind in the machine.
The Bottom Line
In summary, drinking cabbage juice daily over the long term may provide certain health benefits but also comes with some potential safety concerns to keep in mind. Moderate intake of about 1/2 to 1 cup per day appears to be safe for most healthy adults, providing a source of antioxidants, fiber, and other phytochemicals. However, consult your healthcare provider first if you take medications or have any medical conditions. And remember to include a variety of other fruits and vegetables in your diet as well for balance. As with any significant dietary change, adding daily cabbage juice should be approached cautiously. But overall, cabbage juice as part of a healthy lifestyle may have a beneficial role for some individuals.
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- Clarke, Robert, et al. “Antioxidant status and cancer mortality in vegetarians.” European journal of clinical nutrition 70.8 (2016): 875-880.
- De Biase, Daniela, et al. “Effects of cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. var. capitata)(Brassicaceae) extracts on germination and seedling growth of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. var. capitata) ‘Regina di Maggio’.” Scientia Horticulturae 233 (2018): 438-443.
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