If corned beef and cabbage is a dish that’s on your St. Patrick’s Day menu, experts say the health benefits of the Irish-American duo are mixed. According to the University of Florida, the bad news is that the meat is not exactly healthy. Corned beef contains about 285 calories for a four-ounce serving and is packed with a whopping 1,286 milligrams of sodium per serving.
That’s nearly the amount (less than 2,300 mg) experts recommend in a day. You can cut calories in the corned beef by asking the butcher for an extra-lean cut and steaming the meat to melt away any additional fat. Corned beef does contain protein, vitamin B12 and iron, so it’s not a total nutritional loser.
The better news is that it’s sidekick, cabbage, is a nutritional powerhouse, says Healthline. Here are some of the health benefits of cabbage:
• Packed with nutrients. Particularly, antioxidants, and is very low in calories. One cup of cabbage has only 22 calories and includes protein, fiber, vitamin K, vitamin C and vitamin B6 and folate.
• Keeps inflammation in check. Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage have been shown to reduce chronic inflammation, according to a 2014 study.
• Vitamin C-rich. This water-soluble vitamin serves many important functions in the body, including manufacturing collagen, the most abundant protein in the body. Collagen is critical for the proper functioning of the bones, muscles, and blood vessels and gives structure and flexibility to the skin. It’s also a powerful antioxidant that may protect against certain cancers, says Healthline. Red cabbage has significantly more vitamin C than green cabbage.
• Aids digestion. Fiber-rich cabbage is full of gut-friendly insoluble fiber, a type of carbohydrate that can’t be broken down in the intestines. This helps keep the digestive system running smoothly by adding bulk to the stool and promoting regular bowel movements.
• Heart healthy. Red cabbage gets its purple-reddish color from the flavonoid anthocyanin and the acidity of the soil where it’s grown, says WebMD. Anthocyanins may benefit your heart. Diets high in anthocyanins, like those found in red cabbage, are linked to lower blood pressure and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Cabbage also has soluble fiber and plant sterols that may lower the LDL or “bad” cholesterol, according to research.
• Vitamin K. Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin K1, one of the two groups of vitamin K that comes from plant sources. One cup of cabbage delivers 56% of the daily value for this important vitamin that plays a critical role in blood clotting.
Cabbage is super healthy, affordable, and easy to add to your diet. It can be eaten raw or cooked and added to salads, stews, and soups. It can also be fermented and made in sauerkraut. And it pairs nicely with a pint of Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day. Cheers.
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