Cabbage, the often overlooked leafy vegetable, is a nutritional powerhouse that can do wonders for your weight loss journey and overall health. Packed with essential nutrients and low in calories, cabbage offers a range of benefits that make it a valuable addition to any diet. In this article, we will explore the surprising advantages of cabbage and how it can support your weight loss goals and whether or not the cabbage soup weight loss diet is another fad, or if there’s something to it.
Cabbage Calories Vs Nutrients
As part of a well balanced low calorie diet cabbage is an excellent food. It’s nutritious and relatively filling for the small amount of calories it contains. The catch is when people take it too far and use it as 90% of their diet, in examples like the cabbage diet which we will come onto a little later.
A whole cabbage contains around 200 calories (small to medium) meaning that it can take up a whole lot of space on your plate and not leave you feeling all too hungry. It also contains a surprising 9g of protein for this 200 calories as well as 30% of your calcium requirements, 20% of your iron and magnesium and 400% of your vitamin C.
Cabbage can be particularly useful if you’re on a low calorie diet as calcium and magnesium are common deficiencies on weight loss plans. And both make sleeping more difficult, which can in turn make your body produce more ghrelin leaving you hungry making it harder to stick to a diet. 
They’re also both difficult to supplement as most none natural sources are not very well absorbed in the body.
And realistically a single cup of cabbage is only 22 calories, meaning that it really is great for filling out your plate, and ultimately your stomach.
Ultimately if you’re looking to lose weight cabbage is a good addition to your diet plan.
Even More Vitamins
Cabbage is also rich in vitamins K, B6, as well as folate and potassium. These nutrients play crucial roles in various bodily functions, such as metabolism, nervous system health, and immune function. Additionally, cabbage is high in fiber, which aids digestion and helps maintain a healthy gut and resulting in it having a high thermic effect.
Powerful Antioxidant Properties
Cabbage is packed with antioxidants that help protect the body from damage caused by harmful free radicals. Antioxidants such as sulforaphane and kaempferol, found in cabbage, have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties.  These compounds not only reduce chronic inflammation but also inhibit the progression of cancer cells.
The presence of anthocyanins, the powerful antioxidants responsible for the vibrant color of red cabbage, further enhances the protective effects of cabbage. These antioxidants have been shown to slow the formation of cancer cells and promote overall health and well-being.
Weight Management Support
If you are looking to shed some pounds, cabbage is an excellent addition to your diet. With its low calorie and high fiber content, cabbage can help you feel full and satisfied while keeping your calorie intake in check. The high fiber content in cabbage promotes satiety and reduces hunger, making it easier to stick to your weight loss plan.
Research published in the journal Nutrition Reviews suggests that increasing your intake of soluble or insoluble fiber  can increase post-meal satiety and decrease subsequent hunger. By incorporating cabbage into your meals, you can enjoy a nutrient-rich and low-calorie option that supports your weight management goals.
Blood Pressure Regulation
High blood pressure is a serious health condition that can lead to various complications if left untreated. Potassium, a mineral found abundantly in cabbage, plays a crucial role in regulating blood pressure levels. Potassium helps counteract the effects of sodium in the body, preventing sodium-induced increases in blood pressure.
According to the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, consuming potassium-rich foods like cabbage can help lower high blood pressure and keep it within a healthy range. By incorporating cabbage into your diet, you can take a delicious and natural approach to maintaining optimal blood pressure levels. 
Digestive Health Support
Maintaining a healthy digestive system is essential for overall well-being. Cabbage is an excellent choice for promoting digestive health due to its high fiber content and gut-friendly properties. The fiber in cabbage adds bulk to the stool and promotes regular bowel movements, aiding in the prevention of constipation.
Research published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology highlights the beneficial effects of fiber on the digestive system.  By including cabbage in your diet, you can support a healthy gut and improve digestion. Whether you enjoy cabbage in salads, soups, or stir-fries, it can provide a valuable boost to your digestive health.
Chronic inflammation has been linked to various serious diseases, including heart ailments, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease. Fortunately, cabbage contains compounds that possess anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce inflammation in the body.
Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage contain antioxidants such as sulforaphane, which has been shown to have potent anti-inflammatory effects, according to research published in the Clinical Phytoscience journal.  By incorporating cabbage into your diet, you can help combat chronic inflammation and promote overall health.
Skin Health and Anti-Aging
Cabbage can do wonders for your skin health and help slow down the aging process. Vitamin C, abundantly present in cabbage, plays a crucial role in collagen production. Collagen is essential for maintaining healthy skin, as it helps improve elasticity and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Additionally, cabbage contains sulfur compounds that can enhance the natural beauty of your skin. Sulfur helps in the shedding of old skin cells, promoting a renewed and youthful appearance. By including cabbage in your diet, you can nourish your skin from within and maintain a radiant complexion. 
Cabbage belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family, known for its powerful cancer-fighting properties. The presence of antioxidants, such as sulforaphane, in cabbage has been linked to a reduced risk of developing certain types of cancer.
Studies have shown that regular consumption of cruciferous vegetables, including cabbage, can help protect against various cancers, including breast, lung, colon, and prostate cancer. The unique combination of antioxidants and other beneficial compounds in cabbage makes it a potent ally in the fight against cancer.
How to Incorporate Cabbage into Your Diet
Now that you understand the incredible benefits of cabbage, you may be wondering how to incorporate it into your diet. Fortunately, cabbage is a versatile vegetable that can be enjoyed in various ways. Here are a few delicious and healthy ways to include cabbage in your meals:
Cabbage Salad: Try a refreshing cabbage salad by shredding cabbage and adding your favorite vegetables, nuts, and a light dressing. The added crunch and nutrients will make for a delightful and nutritious meal.
Stir-Fries: Include cabbage in stir-fries along with other vegetables and lean protein for a balanced and flavorful dish. The crispiness of cabbage adds texture and freshness to your stir-fry.
Soups and Stews: Add cabbage to soups and stews for a hearty and nutritious boost. Cabbage can enhance the flavor and provide additional nutrients to your favorite recipes.
Roasted Cabbage: Roasting cabbage brings out its natural sweetness and creates a delicious side dish. Simply drizzle olive oil, sprinkle some seasoning, and roast until tender and slightly caramelized.
Remember, the key to reaping the benefits of cabbage is to enjoy it regularly as part of a balanced and varied diet and not to go to far like in the cabbage diet.
What About The Cabbage Soup Diet?
The Cabbage Soup Diet, also known as the Sacred Heart Hospital Diet, gained popularity in the 1980s  and has remained a popular choice for those seeking quick weight loss. As the name suggests, the diet primarily revolves around consuming homemade cabbage soup multiple times a day for a week. Additionally, you are allowed to include a small selection of other low-calorie foods such as fruits, vegetables, skim milk, and brown rice.
The Cabbage Soup Recipe
To embark on the Cabbage Soup Diet, you will need to prepare a large batch of cabbage soup to sustain you throughout the week. The recipe for the soup may vary slightly, but here is a basic version:
- 2 large onions
- 2 green peppers
- 2 cans of tomatoes
- 1 bunch of celery
- 1 head of cabbage
- 3 carrots
- 1 package of mushrooms
- 1-2 bouillon cubes (optional)
- 6-8 cups of water or vegetable cocktail, such as V8
- Chop all the vegetables into cubes.In a large stock pot, sauté the onions in a small amount of oil.
- Add the remaining vegetables and cover with water or vegetable cocktail. Add bouillon cubes or other seasonings if desired.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer until the vegetables are tender (approximately 30-45 minutes).
- Season the soup with salt, pepper, hot sauce, herbs, or spices to taste.
- Additional non-starchy vegetables like spinach or green beans can be added if desired.
Rules of the Cabbage Diet
While following the Cabbage Soup Diet, there are specific rules to adhere to. Each day of the diet has its own set of guidelines:
Day 1: Fruit and Cabbage Soup: On the first day, you are allowed to consume unlimited amounts of cabbage soup and fruits, excluding bananas. This provides a low-calorie start to the diet.
Day 2: Vegetables and Cabbage Soup: The second day focuses on vegetables. You can eat as much cabbage soup as you want and incorporate raw or cooked leafy greens. However, starchy vegetables like peas, corn, and beans should be avoided. Additionally, you may have one baked potato with butter or oil.
Day 3: Fruits, Vegetables, and Cabbage Soup: Day three allows for a combination of fruits, vegetables, and cabbage soup. However, like day one, bananas and baked potatoes are off-limits.
Day 4: Bananas, Skim Milk, and Cabbage Soup: On the fourth day, you can enjoy as many bananas, glasses of skim milk, and bowls of cabbage soup as you desire. Bananas and milk provide a higher calorie intake compared to previous days.
Day 5: Beef (or Substitutes), Tomatoes, and Cabbage Soup: Day five introduces protein into the diet. You are allowed 10-20 ounces of beef, which can be substituted with chicken or fish. Additionally, up to six fresh tomatoes are permitted. It is vital to drink plenty of water during this day.
Day 6: Beef (or Substitutes), Vegetables, and Cabbage Soup: The sixth day follows a similar pattern to day five, with the inclusion of beef or alternative protein sources, a variety of vegetables, and cabbage soup. Leafy greens are emphasized, and baked potatoes are no longer allowed.
Day 7: Vegetables, Brown Rice, Fruit Juice, and Cabbage Soup: On the final day of the diet, you can consume vegetables, brown rice, and unlimited fruit juice without added sugar. This day provides a more balanced set of options compared to earlier stages.
It's important to note that the Cabbage Soup Diet should not be followed for more than seven consecutive days. After completing the diet, it is advisable to wait at least two weeks before considering another round.
Is the Cabbage Soup Diet Effective for Weight Loss?
The primary claim of the Cabbage Soup Diet is rapid weight loss. Due to its low-calorie nature, it is likely that you will experience weight loss during the week-long program. However, it is essential to understand the factors contributing to this weight loss and the potential drawbacks associated with the diet.
Calorie Restriction and Weight Loss
The Cabbage Soup Diet's effectiveness for weight loss can be attributed to severe calorie restriction. By consuming predominantly cabbage soup and low-calorie foods, your overall calorie intake is significantly reduced. When you consistently consume fewer calories than your body requires, weight loss occurs.
Short-Term Water Weight Loss
While it may be tempting to believe that the weight loss experienced during the Cabbage Soup Diet is solely from fat, it is crucial to consider other factors. In the initial week of a low-calorie diet, a significant portion of the weight loss is often attributed to water weight and muscle mass rather than fat loss.
When your body experiences a calorie deficit, it utilizes stored glycogen, which binds to water molecules, for energy. This depletion of glycogen stores leads to a loss of water weight. However, as soon as you return to a regular diet, your body replenishes these glycogen stores, resulting in the return of water weight
Lack of Nutritional Adequacy
One of the major concerns with the Cabbage Soup Diet is its lack of nutritional adequacy. The diet's limited food choices and low-calorie nature make it deficient in essential nutrients such as protein, healthy fats, and certain vitamins and minerals.
Protein is crucial for maintaining muscle mass during weight loss. The Cabbage Soup Diet's minimal protein content may lead to muscle loss, which can negatively impact overall health and metabolism. Additionally, the diet's low intake of carbohydrates and fats may result in decreased energy levels and nutrient deficiencies.
Potential Side Effects of The Cabbage Soup Diet
While the Cabbage Soup Diet may offer short-term weight loss benefits, it is important to consider its potential side effects. Some individuals following the diet have reported discomfort such as flatulence, cramping, dizziness, weakness, and lightheadedness. These side effects can be attributed to the diet's high fiber content and limited nutrient variety.
Gallstones and gallbladder issues have also been associated with rapid weight loss diets, including the Cabbage Soup Diet. Gallstones can form when your gallbladder does not empty frequently enough due to a lack of dietary fat. This risk is more prevalent in very-low-calorie and low-fat diets.
Is The Cabbage Soup Diet Any Good?
The Cabbage Soup Diet may offer short-term weight loss results due to its severe calorie restriction. However, it is vital to consider the limitations and potential drawbacks of this diet. The weight loss experienced is primarily water weight and may be regained once you resume a regular diet.
Moreover, the lack of nutritional adequacy and potential side effects make the Cabbage Soup Diet an unsustainable and potentially unhealthy approach to long-term weight management.
Conclusion: Is Cabbage Good For Weight Loss?
Cabbage is an unsung hero in the world of vegetables, offering a myriad of health benefits, especially for weight loss. From its nutrient-rich profile to its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, cabbage is a versatile and valuable addition to any diet. Ultiamtely anything that fills you up and gives you a lot of nutrients for a low amount of caloies is going to be good for weight loss.
By incorporating cabbage into your meals, you can support weight loss, regulate blood pressure, promote digestive health, and fight against chronic inflammation and cancer. So, in short making cabbage a staple in your kitchen is good for helping you lose weight.
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