What are the cons of cabbage juice?

Cabbage juice has become an increasingly popular health drink in recent years. Advocates claim it can help with a wide range of health issues, from weight loss to cancer prevention. However, cabbage juice does come with some potential downsides that are important to consider. This article will examine the possible cons and risks of regularly drinking cabbage juice.

High in sodium

One potential issue with cabbage juice is that it is relatively high in sodium. One cup of raw green cabbage contains around 65mg of sodium. When juicing cabbage, the sodium content becomes more concentrated. This can be a concern for those who need to limit their sodium intake, such as people with high blood pressure or kidney issues.

Food Sodium per cup
Raw cabbage 65mg
Cabbage juice 195mg (estimated)

While sodium is an essential nutrient, most health experts recommend limiting sodium to 2,300mg or less per day. Drinking large amounts of cabbage juice could potentially cause you to exceed this recommended limit.

Goitrogens that impact thyroid function

Cabbage contains compounds called goitrogens, which can interfere with proper thyroid function if consumed in excess. Goitrogens can block iodine uptake and inhibit the production of thyroid hormones.

For most people eating moderate amounts of cabbage, this is not a major concern. However, those with thyroid issues may want to limit cabbage juice intake to avoid negatively impacting thyroid health.

High in vitamin K

Cabbage is very high in vitamin K, providing over 50% of the recommended daily value in just one cup. Vitamin K is important for blood clotting. But for people taking blood-thinning medications like warfarin, too much vitamin K can counteract the effects of the medication.

Food Vitamin K per cup
Raw cabbage 54mcg (68% DV)
Cabbage juice 162mcg (203% DV)

Those taking blood thinners should consult their doctor before regularly consuming vitamin K-rich cabbage juice, as the high levels could potentially pose problems.

Gas and bloating

Cabbage contains raffinose, a complex sugar that can be difficult to digest. When undigested raffinose reaches the colon, it can cause gas, cramping, and bloating.

Juicing cabbage concentrates these difficult-to-digest sugars. People prone to gas or GI discomfort may want to avoid drinking large amounts of cabbage juice.

Risk of contamination

There is a small risk of contamination when making homemade cabbage juice. Cabbage grows close to the ground and can harbor bacteria like E. coli or Salmonella. If the cabbage is not properly cleaned, these pathogens could contaminate the juice.

To reduce this risk, thoroughly wash cabbage before juicing. Use a vegetable brush to remove any dirt. You can also briefly blanch the cabbage in boiling water to kill surface bacteria.

When possible, drink fresh cabbage juice right away rather than storing it. Bacteria can multiply quickly in vegetable juices left at room temperature.

Nutrient loss from juicing

While juicing makes nutrients more concentrated, some nutrients are lost or reduced during the juicing process.

For example, juicing cabbage leaves behind the fiber content. Fiber provides many health benefits and helps promote fullness. Drinking juice alone means missing out on those valuable dietary fibers.

Some heat-sensitive vitamins like vitamin C and B vitamins are also degraded through oxidation during juicing. Juice has a larger surface area exposed to air compared to whole vegetables.

Nutrient In raw cabbage In cabbage juice
Fiber 2.5g (10% DV) Negligible
Vitamin C 36mg (60% DV) 18mg (30% DV)

While juice retains many nutrients, some loss is inevitable during processing. For maximal nutrient preservation, it may be better to lightly cook or eat cabbage raw instead.

Oxalate content

Cabbage contains small amounts of oxalates, which are antinutrients that can bind to calcium and other minerals. In high amounts, oxalates can potentially cause kidney stones in susceptible individuals.

For most people, the oxalate content of cabbage is not a major concern. But for those prone to kidney stones, the oxalate content may be higher when consuming juiced cabbage rather than whole leaves.

Not as filling as whole vegetables

Juice is not as satiating or filling as eating whole fruits and vegetables. This is because juice lacks the fiber, chewing resistance, and volume of whole produce. Without fiber, juice is quickly digested and absorbed, leading to faster return of hunger.

This means drinking vegetable juice may not keep you full for long compared to eating a fiber-rich cabbage salad. The lack of fiber and bulk could make it easier to overconsume calories from juice.

Potential for excess sugar intake

Although cabbage juice is low in sugar compared to fruit juices, drinking large amounts may lead to excess sugar consumption. One cup of cabbage juice contains around 4 grams of sugar.

For healthy individuals, this small amount of natural sugar is not a problem. However, people with diabetes or insulin resistance may need to monitor their juice intake and account for the additional carbohydrates and sugars.

Risk of contamination during storage

Fresh cabbage juice only lasts for a day or two when refrigerated. Bacteria and mold can grow quickly if juice is left unrefrigerated for several hours.

To avoid contamination and foodborne illness, drink juice immediately or store it for no longer than 48 hours. Keep juice refrigerated and tightly sealed.

Discard any juice that smells strange or develops mold or bubbles, as that indicates spoilage.

Not recommended for children

Due to the small risk of bacterial contamination, most experts warn against giving vegetable juice to infants and young children. A child’s immune system is still developing, so foodborne pathogens could make them seriously ill.

Children also have smaller stomachs and may struggle to digest large amounts of vegetable juice. Stick to whole produce for kids under the age of 4 to be safe.


In moderation, cabbage juice can provide important nutrients and health benefits. However, drinking large amounts may not be advisable for everyone due to potential thyroid, digestion, and nutrient absorption issues. Contamination and food safety risks are also concerns with homemade juice.

As with any health fad, it’s best to consult your doctor before adding large amounts of cabbage juice to your diet. For most people, eating whole cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables provides the best nutrition and safety profile.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *