The deep colour of red or purple cabbage is caused by a high concentration of anthocyanin polyphenols, giving it significantly more phytonutrients than green cabbage. Anthocyanin pigments are strong dietary antioxidants, and possess anti-inflammatory properties, meaning that they can play a role in protecting the human body from cancer and other degenerative diseases.
100 grams (about 3 ounces) of raw purple cabbage can contain as much as 196.5 milligrams of polyphenols, of which 28.3 milligrams are anthocyanins (deep red, blue and purple pigments found in plants). Green cabbage contains a comparatively low 45 milligrams of polyphenols, which include less than one milligram of anthocyanins. The “vitamin C equivalent,” which represents the antioxidant quotient of red or purple cabbage, is roughly eight times higher than that of green cabbage. Red cabbage is one of the most nutritious and potentially best-tasting vegetables on planet Earth. Shredded thinly and marinated in balsamic vinegar and olive oil, eating red cabbage is a powerful health-tonic. In my photograph of a purple cabbage salad, I have added yellow pear tomatoes and feta cheese to it for a colourful and nutritious dish.
Easy to grow, red or purple cabbage will continue to thrive until the garden has suffered many deep-frost nights.
©M-J de Mesterton