Cabbage is an excellent plant-based source of calcium. It contains up to 105 mg of calcium per 100g, or 10% of the recommended daily intake.
Health benefits of calcium
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body! It’s necessary for strong bones and teeth. Calcium deficiency may lead to osteoporosis.
In addition, calcium is involved in muscle movement and flexibility, blood vessel contraction and dilation, blood clotting, nerve transmission, and hormonal secretion.
Calcium may decrease serum cholesterol. It inhibits cholesterol and saturated fatty acid absorption!
How much calcium do we need a day?
The recommended daily intake of calcium is 1,000 mg for adults.
Only women older than 50 years should get at least 1,200 mg of calcium a day, due to increased risk of osteoporosis. Calcium absorption declines with age. Decreased estrogen production, due to menopause, further reduces calcium absorption. It also increases urinary calcium loss.
Moreover, children older than 13 years and teenagers require at least 1,300 mg of calcium a day, due to rapid bone growth.
How much calcium is in cabbage?
Cabbage has a moderate calcium content. It contains between 40 mg and 105 mg of calcium per 100g, depending on the variety. In fact, a small 1-cup serving of cabbage can provide up to 10% of the recommended daily intake!
Green cabbage has the lowest calcium content, though. It contains 40 mg of calcium per 100g, or 36 mg of calcium per serving.
Red cabbage has slightly more calcium than green cabbage.
Only Chinese cabbage (also known as bok choi or pak choy) is pretty rich in calcium. Chinese cabbage contains 105 mg of calcium per 100g, which is 10% of the recommended daily intake!
Do we absorb calcium of cabbage?
Most noteworthy, we can absorb calcium of cabbage. In fact, the bioavailability of calcium of cabbage is similar to that of milk! We absorb about 27% of calcium of milk.
On the contrary, the absorption of calcium is only 5% for other common plant-based foods high in calcium, like spinach, collard greens, sweet potatoes, rhubarb, and beans. These foods are high in oxalic acid and phytic acid. These compounds inhibit calcium absorption because they form indigestible salts with calcium.
As a rule of thumb, the more calcium we consume, the less calcium we absorb. It’s estimated that we absorb only 15% of calcium when we follow a high-calcium diet (more than 2,000 mg of calcium a day).
Does cooking of cabbage destroy calcium?
Cooking doesn’t significantly affect the calcium content of cabbage. Calcium in cabbage doesn’t leach into the water. Also, cabbage and other minerals aren’t as sensitive to heat as certain vitamins, like vitamin C.
Common foods high in calcium
Certainly, cow’s milk and dairy are great dietary sources of calcium. An 8 fl oz glass of cow’s milk contains about 310 mg of calcium, or 31% DV (Daily Value).
Fish are high in calcium as well. Especially, small fish like sardines, which are eaten with bones.
But, we can get high amounts of calcium from plant-based sources as well. Beans, seeds, and certain vegetables, such as kale, spinach, and broccoli can help us meet our daily calcium needs.
Moreover, you can boost your daily calcium intake, with moringa powder. Moringa powder is among the richest foods in calcium. It contains about 2,700 mg of calcium per 100g, or 70 mg per a 2-tsp serving! Just for comparison, cow’s milk contains 113 mg of calcium per 100 mL. Moringa powder is a true superfood! You’ll find a wide variety of moringa supplements and powders on iHerb.
Consuming high amounts of calcium from food is safe. But, we shouldn’t get too much from supplements. For instance, high calcium intakes from supplements may inhibit iron absorption up to 55%.
Cow’s milk & dairy shouldn’t be the main sources of calcium
Although cow’s milk and dairy are pretty rich in calcium, we shouldn’t depend on them to meet our daily needs. We should consume them only in moderation.
Milk and dairy are pretty high in saturated fats. A glass of whole milk contains approximately 4.6 g of saturated fats. A slice of cheddar cheese contains 3.3 g!
Furthermore, cow’s milk and dairy naturally contain trans fats! A serving of cow’s milk contains about 0.28 g of trans fats, while a slice of cheddar cheese contains 0.19 g! Trans fats are very dangerous for the heart.[5,6]
The American Heart Association recommends consuming up to 13 g of saturated fats a day. We shouldn’t consume trans fats at all.
Why should I eat cabbage regularly?
Cabbage has a great nutritional value. It’s rich in many vitamins and minerals. Besides calcium, cabbage contains iron, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Furthermore, it contains various bioactive compounds with pharmacological properties, like luteolin, myricetin, quercetin, sulforaphane, as well as many other flavonoids, and polyphenols.
Also, cabbage is pretty rich in chlorophyll, which has also many health benefits.
Due to its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, cabbage may help prevent the development of many chronic oxidative diseases, such as cancer and coronary artery disease. Cabbage is particularly beneficial for the heart.[8,9,10]
Especially, red cabbage has a pretty high antioxidant capacity, as it’s high in anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are colored water-soluble pigments. As a rule of thumb, colorful (red, purple, blue) fruits and vegetables are rich in anthocyanins.
As anthocyanins have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, they may help prevent the development of several diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, microbial infections, metabolic diseases, as well as certain cancers.
Hence, the best time of the day to consume cabbage is before a high-calorie, fattening meal. Cabbage will help you consume fewer calories.
Additionally, cabbage may help regulate blood glucose. High blood sugar levels have been linked to increased risk of mortality!
Obese people tend to have higher blood glucose levels than people who with a healthy body weight.
Even people with diabetes and people who follow a ketogenic diet can eat cabbage.