The mature red cabbage plant is full of nutrients that help to keep your immune system primed, your eyesight protected, your body free of Alzheimer’s disease and ulcers, your bones healthy, and your body shielded from premature aging. It’s also a wonderful dietary source of the amino acid L-glutamine, which helps to repair gut health issues such as celiac disease, leaky gut, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome. Whether enjoyed steamed, sautéed, or fermented, red cabbage is a nutritive addition to any diet.
But … did you know that red cabbage microgreens—the younger, smaller version of mature red cabbage—has even more nutrients, and a much more vivid and intense flavor?
What Are Red Cabbage Microgreens?
Microgreens are a new marketing buzzword for greens that are smaller than the mature plant but bigger than sprouts. They’re harvested anywhere from 7 to 14 days old and make a great addition to smoothies, salads, soups, and sandwiches.
Recent research shows that sprouts and microgreens contain a significantly more robust concentration of vitamins and nutrients than do their mature counterparts. The quality of protein improves in sprouted varieties of plants, as does the potency of vitamins and antioxidants such as lysine, vitamins A, C, E, and B-complex. Take mung bean sprouts for example. After just a few days of germination, mung bean sprouts contain up to 285% more B1, 515% more B2, and 256% more niacin. Sprouts and microgreens also have more essential fatty acids, and help to alkalize your body and reduce acidity, which has been linked to the progression of diseases such as cancer.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) analyzed 25 different commercially available sprouts, including cilantro, garnet amaranth, green daikon, and radish. All varieties had higher levels of vitamin C, carotenoids, tocopherols, phylloquinone, and extra antioxidant support. For example, cilantro microgreens were found to have 3 times more beta-carotene than mature cilantro, and red cabbage microgreens revealed a 6-fold higher vitamin C concentration than mature red cabbage and 69 times the vitamin K!
Red Cabbage Microgreens May Reduce Weight Gain and Protect Against High Cholesterol
University of Maryland researchers explored the effects of red cabbage and red cabbage microgreens on obese mice. They separated 60 mice into different groups. The mice were fed a low-fat or high-fat diet, with or without red cabbage microgreens or mature red cabbage.
Results, published December 2016 in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, showed that both the mature red cabbage and the red cabbage microgreens helped reduce weight gain in the mice fed the high-fat diet. The red cabbage microgreens also contained more antioxidants and helped to lower liver triglycerides and normalize cholesterol levels. A pretty powerful effect from such a tiny, young plant!