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Is juicing red cabbage good for you?

Red cabbage is a nutrient-dense vegetable that offers many potential health benefits. Some people juice red cabbage to take advantage of its nutrients and incorporate it into their diet. But is juicing red cabbage actually good for you?

In this article, we’ll take a comprehensive look at the pros and cons of juicing red cabbage and explore the scientific research on its effects on health.

Nutrition Profile of Red Cabbage

First, let’s examine the nutrition facts of red cabbage itself. One cup (89 grams) of raw shredded red cabbage contains (1):

Nutrient Amount % Daily Value
Calories 28 1%
Protein 1 gram 2%
Carbs 7 grams 2%
Fiber 2 grams 8%
Vitamin C 54% of the DV 54%
Vitamin K 85% of the DV 85%
Vitamin B6 6% of the DV 6%
Folate 6% of the DV 6%
Manganese 5% of the DV 5%
Potassium 4% of the DV 4%

As you can see, red cabbage is low in calories but packed with vitamin C, vitamin K, and other important micronutrients. It’s also a good source of fiber.

Potential Benefits of Juicing Red Cabbage

There are several reasons why someone may want to juice red cabbage.

1. High in Antioxidants

Red cabbage contains powerful antioxidants, including polyphenols and anthocyanins, which give it its reddish-purple color (2).

These antioxidants can help neutralize unstable molecules called free radicals that can damage your cells. Damaged cells are linked to aging and diseases like cancer and heart disease (3).

Juicing red cabbage may help deliver a concentrated dose of these protective antioxidants.

2. May Boost Heart Health

The antioxidants in red cabbage may boost heart health. Polyphenols help relax blood vessels and improve blood circulation and flow. Meanwhile, vitamin K promotes healthy blood clotting (4, 5).

Animal studies reveal that red cabbage’s antioxidants reduce blood pressure, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and heart disease risk factors (6, 7).

More human research is needed, but juicing red cabbage appears promising for heart health.

3. Could Have Anticancer Effects

Red cabbage is rich in antioxidants and other compounds that may help protect against certain cancers.

For instance, cruciferous vegetables like cabbage contain sulforaphane, a sulfur-containing compound with anticancer properties (8).

Animal and test-tube studies indicate that sulforaphane combats cancer by preventing DNA damage, inactivating carcinogens, inducing cancer cell death, and inhibiting tumor blood vessel formation and migration (9).

More research is needed, but juicing red cabbage provides an easy way to increase your sulforaphane intake.

4. Excellent Source of Vitamin C

Red cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin C, an essential nutrient and antioxidant. One cup (89 grams) provides 54% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) (1).

Vitamin C boosts your immune system to protect against illness. It also helps your body absorb iron more efficiently (10).

Juicing red cabbage offers an easy and delicious way to increase your vitamin C intake.

5. Contains Vitamin K

Red cabbage is one of the best food sources of vitamin K, which supports bone and heart health. Just 1 cup (89 grams) delivers 85% of the RDI for vitamin K (1).

This important vitamin is necessary for proper blood clotting and may boost bone strength and heart health (4, 11).

Downsides of Juicing Red Cabbage

Although juicing red cabbage has some benefits, there are some downsides to consider.

1. Low in Fiber

Juicing red cabbage strips away its beneficial fiber, leaving only the juice.

Fiber moves slowly through your digestive tract undigested, promoting fullness, feeding healthy gut bacteria, and contributing to regular bowel movements and digestive health (12).

Juicing makes nutrients quickly absorbable but removes the gut-healthy fiber.

2. High in Oxalates

Red cabbage contains oxalates, compounds that can bind to calcium to form crystals and increase your risk of kidney stones (13).

For most people, moderate oxalate foods like red cabbage are safe. However, if you’re prone to kidney stones, you may want to minimize high oxalate foods.

3. Juice Has Shorter Shelf Life

Fresh red cabbage can last weeks in your fridge. However, juicing degrades nutrients and antioxidants over time.

For maximum nutrition, drink homemade juices right away. Store-bought juices may contain preservatives but less nutrients.

4. May Cause Gas and Bloating

Compounds in cruciferous vegetables like red cabbage may cause gas, bloating, or indigestion, especially in some people (14).

This may be more likely if you juice a lot of red cabbage. Try small amounts at first.

Juicing Methods

You can juice red cabbage in a few different ways:

Juicer Machine

A juicer separates juice from solids. Masticating and centrifugal juicers work well for cabbage.

Blender

Blending retains fiber. Add water to help blend red cabbage if needed.

Food Processor

Chop cabbage, then strain out juice. This method wastes more produce but is convenient.

How to Juice Red Cabbage

Follow these simple steps for how to juice red cabbage:

  1. Wash cabbage and remove outer leaves.
  2. Chop cabbage into smaller pieces to fit your juicer.
  3. Juice cabbage. For a masticating juicer, run pieces through slowly. For a centrifugal juicer, feed smaller pieces through chute.
  4. Pour juiced cabbage into a glass. Drink immediately for best flavor and nutrition.
  5. Store leftover juice in fridge for up to 3 days. Shake before drinking.

Try combining red cabbage with other vegetables like carrots, beets, kale, or apples to make a nutritious veggie juice full of antioxidants.

Potential Side Effects

Juicing red cabbage is generally safe, but a few side effects are possible:

Kidney Stones

People prone to kidney stones may need to limit high-oxalate foods like red cabbage (13).

Digestive Issues

Excess cabbage juice could cause gas, bloating, or diarrhea in sensitive people.

Lower Blood Sugar

The fiber in whole cabbage helps stabilize blood sugar levels. Juice spikes blood sugar faster since fiber is removed (15). Monitor blood sugar if taking diabetes meds.

Drug Interactions

Red cabbage may interact with blood thinners like Coumadin, so check with your healthcare provider.

Thyroid Issues

Very high cabbage intake could potentially impact thyroid function in some people.

Who Should Avoid Red Cabbage Juice?

Check with your healthcare provider before adding more red cabbage juice if you have:

  • Kidney stones
  • Kidney disease
  • Thyroid issues
  • Gout
  • Blood-thinning medications

Pregnant women, children, and people with serious medical conditions should also consult a doctor first.

Recommended Intake

There’s no standard recommended intake for red cabbage juice.

To start, limit to 1/2-1 cup (4-8 ounces or 120-240 mL) of fresh juice per day along with a balanced diet.

You can increase the amount gradually if you find red cabbage juice beneficial and aren’t experiencing any digestive side effects.

Final Word

Juicing red cabbage provides a quick way to gain more nutrients and antioxidants that may boost your health.

Research shows red cabbage juice has potential heart-protective, anti-cancer, and other health effects. It’s also an excellent source of vitamin C and K.

However, juicing removes fiber and cabbage contains compounds that could cause issues for some people. Moderation is key.

Incorporating small amounts of red cabbage juice as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle may provide benefits. But more studies are needed on its direct effects in humans.

Overall, juicing red cabbage in moderation can be a nutritious addition to your diet if you don’t experience any digestive side effects or medication interactions.