Antioxidants are also called “free-radical scavengers.” They prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals, waste substances produced by cells as the body processes food and reacts to the environment. Failure of the body to efficiently process and remove these free radicals can result to oxidative stress which can harm the cells as well as the body functions. Studies have linked oxidative stress to arthritis, stroke, respiratory diseases, heart disease, cancer, immune deficiency, emphysema, Parkinson’s disease, and other inflammatory or ischemic conditions (1).
There are a number of different substances that can act as antioxidants. These include vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, selenium and manganese, glutathione, coenzyme Q10, lipoic acid, flavonoids, phenols, polyphenols, phytoestrogens, and many more. They are naturally occurring and can be found in the foods we eat. These substances help prevent oxidation or serve as a natural defense against the local environment (2).
There are numerous choices for antioxidant-rich foods. One of them is the cabbage which was found to contain nearly 20 different flavonoids and 15 different phenols, all of which have demonstrated antioxidant activity.
Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable that belongs to the group of cole crops. This leafy green, red, or white vegetable is used throughout the world and can be prepared in several ways.
The antioxidant in this vegetable comes from vitamin C, quercetin, and apigenin. Red cabbage is loaded with anthocyanins (3). Vitamin C’s antioxidant activity may help lower inflammation levels and lessen our risk of developing various conditions, including some cancers (4).
In addition to its high fiber content, cabbage contains polyphenols and sulfur compounds which are powerful antioxidants (5).
Polyphenols rank at the top of the list for phytonutrient antioxidants in cabbage. White cabbage provides about 50 milligrams of polyphenols in a half-cup serving. Meanwhile, red can provide about 30 milligrams of red pigment polyphenols called anthocyanins in each half cup. Additionally, cabbage also contains other phenols that are responsible for its antioxidant capacity. These include benzoic acid, caffeic acid, cinnamic acid, coumaric acid, dimethylbenzoic acid, gallic acid, hydroxybenzoic acid, hydroxycinnamic acid, phenylacetic acid, rosmarinic acid, syringic acid, trimethyl benzoic acid, and vanillic acid (6).
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