Cabbage belongs to the Brassica genus of plants, which includes broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. Informally, members of this group are known as cruciferous vegetables.
This versatile vegetable can be eaten raw or steamed, fermented, and even juiced.
Cabbage juice is loaded with nutrients, such as vitamins C and K, and drinking it is linked to many purported benefits, including weight loss, improved gut health, decreased inflammation, balanced hormones, and body detoxification.
However, only some of these claims are supported by research.
This article reviews all you need to know about cabbage juice, including its uses, potential health benefits, and drawbacks.
Benefits of drinking cabbage juice
While a lot of research supports the health benefits of whole vegetables like cabbage, few studies have investigated the effects of consuming vegetables in juice form.
Nevertheless, some research suggests that there are benefits to drinking cabbage juice. Still, most studies have been conducted in animals, so additional research is needed, especially in humans.
High in antioxidants
Cabbage juice is high in antioxidants, which are substances that help reduce cell damage caused by free radicals. An accumulation of free radicals in your body may lead to inflammation and disease.
Cabbage is particularly high in vitamin C, a nutrient that plays many important roles in your body. Vitamin C supports immune health and also acts as a powerful antioxidant.
Red cabbage is packed with anthocyanins. These plant pigments give red cabbage its reddish-purple color and have powerful antioxidant properties. Anthocyanin-rich diets offer many benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease.
Additionally, some antioxidants found in cabbage juice may have anticancer properties. A test-tube study found that cabbage juice induced cell death in human breast cancer cells. This effect was attributed to the concentration of antioxidants called indoles in the juice.
Can help combat inflammation
Cabbage juice contains many compounds that may help combat inflammation.
Although short-term inflammation is a positive response to acute stress, long-term inflammation can be harmful and lead to illness. Thus, it’s important to limit long-term inflammation as much as possible.
Cabbage contains many anti-inflammatory compounds. These include sulforaphane, a sulfur compound found in many Brassica vegetables, and kaempferol, a potent antioxidant with anti-inflammatory effects.
One test-tube study showed that red cabbage juice had anti-inflammatory effects in spleen cells.
Another study looked at the anti-inflammatory effects of cabbage juice extract on skin health. In a group of mice with contact dermatitis, an inflammatory skin condition, topically applied cabbage extract ointment significantly reduced inflammation.
May benefit gut health
Drinking cabbage juice may help prevent and treat stomach ulcers.
In fact, cabbage juice has been used as a traditional remedy for stomach ulcers, with some dated research suggesting that it may be an effective treatment.
Although current human research is limited, recent animal studies have shown that cabbage juice may help heal stomach ulcers.
For example, a study in rats found that cabbage extract significantly improved the healing of stomach ulcers and inhibited ulcer formation.
However, current human research on the effects of cabbage juice on stomach ulcers is limited.
Fermented versions of cabbage juice may also benefit gut health. The juice that results from making sauerkraut, a type of fermented cabbage, is high in lactic acid bacteria. These probiotics are acknowledged for their gut health benefits.
Other potential health benefits of drinking cabbage juice include the following:
- Potential anticancer effects. Cabbage juice may help protect against certain cancers. In fact, consuming 5 or more servings of cruciferous vegetables weekly is linked to a 33% reduced risk of lymphoma in women.
- May benefit heart health. In one study, people who consumed juice containing cabbage had lower cholesterol than the control group. Other studies link the intake of cruciferous vegetables to a reduced risk of heart disease.
- May help you absorb certain nutrients. Cabbage contains beta carotene, a precursor to vitamin A. Studies show drinking its juice results in better absorption of beta carotene, compared with eating whole cabbage.
- Can be more convenient than raw cabbage. Due to the difference in volume, it’s easier to consume a lot of cabbage in juice form, compared with eating it raw. Plus, juices are simple to take on the go.
Cabbage juice may offer antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and gut-health-promoting properties. However, more research is needed to further understand its health benefits.
Potential side effects
Although drinking cabbage juice likely offers several benefits, there are some potential drawbacks to consider.
High amounts may affect the thyroid
Some evidence suggests that consuming cabbage in high amounts may affect your thyroid.
Substances called goitrogens in cabbage can inhibit iodine transport to the thyroid, a process necessary for normal thyroid function.
In fact, a few studies have noted a correlation between cruciferous vegetable intake and the risk of thyroid cancer, although the results were somewhat inconclusive.
Furthermore, goitrogens are found in higher amounts in raw cabbage, so those with thyroid conditions, such as hypothyroidism, may choose to avoid consuming cabbage juice.
However, a significant amount of research on cruciferous vegetables and disease prevention suggests that the benefits may outweigh the potential risks.
Certain nutrients can interact with medications
Some nutrients in cabbage juice have been shown to interact with certain medications.
Cabbage is high in vitamin K, which can affect the ability of blood thinners like warfarin to prevent blood clots. It’s typically advised to maintain a consistent vitamin K intake while on the medication.
If you are taking a blood thinner, it may be best to avoid adding cabbage juice to your diet. However, if you decide otherwise, consult your healthcare provider before adding it to your regimen.
Juicing leaves much of the fiber behind
Juicing vegetables removes much of their fiber content. Fiber promotes feelings of fullness, maintains your gut health, helps stabilize blood sugar, and can reduce cholesterol.
Largely due to their high fiber content, cruciferous vegetables like cabbage have been acknowledged for their ability to positively alter gut bacteria.
However, by juicing cabbage rather than eating it raw, you may be reducing much of its fiber content.
May cause stomach upset in some people
Some individuals may experience an upset stomach from drinking cabbage juice.
Cabbage is a common gas-producing vegetable. It’s also high in fructans, a type of carb that individuals with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) often have a difficult time digesting.
Even with low intakes of cabbage, people with IBS may experience symptoms, such as bloating, stomach pain, and diarrhea.
Drinking cabbage juice may affect your thyroid and can interact with certain medications. For some, drinking cabbage juice can cause an upset stomach.
Should you drink cabbage juice?
Cabbage juice, along with other green juices, can offer several health benefits.
Juicing is a great way to get a high dose of nutrients and antioxidants in an easy-to-consume form.
However, individuals with IBS and those taking certain medications should check with their healthcare provider before incorporating cabbage juice into their diets.
If you choose to drink cabbage juice, do so in moderation. Because plain cabbage juice has a strong taste, consider combining it with other juices, such as apple or carrot, to reduce the bitterness and make it more palatable.
Also, if you don’t like cabbage juice, you can easily reap its health benefits by including whole cabbage in your diet. Cabbage dishes like sauerkraut, stuffed cabbage, and coleslaw are a great place to start.
Cabbage juice is a healthy choice. However, if you have IBS or are taking blood-thinning medication, check with your healthcare provider before including it in your regimen.
The bottom line
Cabbage is a healthy, delicious, and versatile vegetable that can be a great addition to your diet.
Adding cabbage to your daily juice can provide a dose of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and gut-health-promoting compounds, which may benefit your health in a number of ways.
However, don’t fret if cabbage juice doesn’t agree with you. You can reap the benefits of cabbage whether you consume it juiced or whole.
Title: Cabbage Juice: Uses, Benefits, and Side Effects