Cabbage is from the Brassica genus of plants including broccoli, cauliflower and kale. Informally, members of this group are known as cruciferous vegetables (1).
This versatile vegetable can be eaten raw or steamed, fermented and even pressed.
Cabbage juice is packed with nutrients such as vitamins C and K, and drinking it is linked to many supposed benefits, including weight loss, improved bowel health, reduced inflammation, balanced hormones and detoxification of the body.
However, only a few of these claims are supported by research.
This article discusses everything you need to know about cabbage juice, including its use, possible health benefits, and disadvantages.
Although many studies support the health benefits of whole vegetables such as cabbage, few studies have investigated the effects of consuming vegetables in juice form (
Yet some research suggests that drinking cabbage juice has benefits. However, most studies have been conducted in animals, so additional research is needed, especially in humans.
High in antioxidants
Cabbage juice contains many antioxidants, these are substances that help reduce cell damage caused by free radicals. An accumulation of free radicals in your body can lead to inflammation and diseases (
Cabbage contains a lot of vitamin C, a nutrient that plays many important roles in your body. Vitamin C supports the health of the immune system and also acts as a powerful antioxidant (
Red cabbage is full of anthocyanins. These plant pigments give red cabbage its red-purple color and have powerful antioxidant properties. Anthocyanin-rich diets offer many benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease (
In addition, some antioxidants in cabbage juice can have anti-cancer 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 fight inflammation
Cabbage juice contains many compounds that can help combat inflammation.
Although short-term inflammation is a positive response to acute stress, long-term inflammation can be harmful and lead to illness. It is therefore important to minimize long-term inflammation (
Cabbage contains many anti-inflammatory compounds. These include sulforaphane, a common sulfur compound Brassica vegetables and kaempferol, a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory effects (
One test tube study showed that red cabbage juice had anti-inflammatory effects on 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 improve intestinal health
Drinking cabbage juice can 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 it may be an effective treatment (
Although current human research is limited, recent animal studies have shown that cabbage juice can help cure stomach ulcers.
For example, a study in rats has shown that cabbage extract significantly improved the healing of stomach ulcers and inhibited the formation of ulcers (
However, current human research into the effects of cabbage juice on stomach ulcers is limited.
Fermented versions of cabbage juice can also improve intestinal health. The juice that comes from making sauerkraut, a type of fermented cabbage, contains many lactic acid bacteria. These probiotics are recognized for their gut health benefits (
Other possible health benefits of drinking cabbage juice include:
- Potential anti-cancer effects. Cabbage juice can help protect against certain cancers. In fact, the weekly consumption of 5 or more servings of cruciferous vegetables is linked to a 33% reduced risk of lymphoma in women (
8, 17, 18).
- May improve the health of the heart. In one study, people who consumed juice with cabbage had lower cholesterol than the control group. Other studies link the intake of cruciferous vegetables to a reduced risk of heart disease (
- Can help you to absorb certain nutrients. Cabbage contains beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A. Studies show that drinking the juice results in better uptake of beta-carotene compared to eating whole cabbage (
- Can be more convenient than raw cabbage. Because of the difference in volume, it is easier to consume a lot of cabbage in juice form, compared to eating raw. Plus, juices are easy to take with you on the go.
Summary Cabbage juice can have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and bowel health-promoting properties. However, more research is needed to better understand its health benefits.
Although drinking cabbage juice probably offers several benefits, there are some potential disadvantages to consider.
Large amounts can affect the thyroid gland
There are indications that consuming cabbage in large quantities can affect your thyroid gland.
Substances referred to as goitrogens in cabbage can inhibit iodine transport to the thyroid gland, a process necessary for normal thyroid function.
Some studies have even found a link between the intake of cruciferous vegetables and the risk of thyroid cancer, although the results were somewhat unclear (
In addition, gorogens are found in greater quantities in raw cabbage, so people with thyroid disorders, such as hypothyroidism, may choose to consume cabbage juice (
A considerable amount of research into cruciferous vegetables and disease prevention, however, suggests that the benefits outweigh the potential risks (
Certain nutrients can interact with medicines
Some of the nutrients in cabbage juice have been shown to interact with certain medicines.
Cabbage contains a lot of vitamin K, which can affect the ability of blood thinners such as warfarin to prevent blood clots. It is usually advised to maintain a consistent vitamin K intake during medication (
If you use a blood thinner, it might be best to avoid adding cabbage juice to your diet. However, if you decide otherwise, consult your healthcare provider before adding it to your regime (
Juicing leaves a lot of fiber behind
The pressing of vegetables removes much of their fiber content. Fiber promotes feelings of fullness, maintains bowel health, helps stabilize blood sugar levels and can lower cholesterol (
Largely due to their high fiber content, cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage are recognized for their ability to positively alter intestinal bacteria (
However, by pressing cabbage instead of eating it raw, you may reduce a lot of the fiber content.
May cause stomach upset in some people
Some people may suffer from stomach upset by drinking cabbage juice.
Cabbage is a common gas-producing vegetable. It also contains many fructans, a type of carbohydrate that people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) often digest a difficult time (
Even with low cabbage intake, people with IBS may experience symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhea (
Summary Drinking cabbage juice can affect your thyroid gland and can interact with certain medications. For some, drinking cabbage juice can cause stomach upset.
Cabbage juice, along with other green juices, can offer various 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 individuals taking certain drugs should contact their healthcare provider before including cabbage juice in their diet.
If you choose to drink cabbage juice, do so in moderation. Because regular cabbage juice has a strong taste, consider combining it with other juices, such as apple or carrot, to reduce bitterness and make it tastier.
If you don't like cabbage juice, you can easily reap the health benefits by including whole cabbage in your diet. Cabbage dishes such as sauerkraut, stuffed cabbage and coleslaw are a great place to start.
Summary Cabbage juice is a healthy choice. However, if you have IBS or are taking blood-thinning medication, contact your health care provider before you include it in your regimen.
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 antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and bowel health promoting substances that can benefit your health in a number of ways.
However, don't worry if cabbage juice doesn't agree with you. You can enjoy the benefits of cabbage, whether you consume juice or whole.