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Red cabbage helps you lose weight as part of a balanced diet.
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Cabbage gained a reputation for promoting weight loss thanks to a variety of diets based on cabbage soup. But you don't need the fad diets. Red cabbage has a lot going for it as a weight-loss tool when it's included as part of a balanced diet that sustains a healthy lifestyle. Red cabbage offers a combination of nutrients, fiber and low calories that help you lose weight without feeling hungry.
Very Few Calories
Red cabbage meets one proven criteria to help you lose weight: It's very low in calories. You can eat 1 cup of shredded red cabbage and consume just 22 calories. The potential downfall of red cabbage comes from adding calories in the form of salad dressings. You can reduce the calories from mayonnaise-based dressing by at least half if you choose light mayonnaise. Try cooking methods that don't rely on mayonnaise. You can slice red cabbage into quarters and roast it, saute it in low-sodium chicken broth or steam the cabbage and drizzle balsamic vinegar over it.
Sometimes the only way to cut back on calories is to restrict the amount of food you eat, which often leaves you feeling hungry or unsatisfied. The concept of energy density refers to the number of calories in a specific weight of food, which shifts the focus by identifying foods that you can feel free to enjoy, eat a normal portion of and still stay within your diet. One component responsible for a low-energy-dense food is water. It increases the food's bulk without adding calories. Since red cabbage is 90 percent water, you can eat a large portion and stay on your diet without feeling like you're deprived of food.
Fiber Keeps You Full
Fiber supports your health by lowering cholesterol and preventing constipation, but it's also good for weight loss. It's a second factor that contributes to low-energy density, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It delays the release of ghrelin that normally occurs after a meal. Since ghrelin stimulates hunger, this subsequently holds off hunger. As fiber absorbs water, it takes up space in your stomach, which makes you feel full. Then it slows down the release of food from your stomach so you feel full longer.
Rich in Nutrients
It's easy to miss out on nutrients as you reduce caloric intake. Red cabbage can help with that through the vitamins it provides. One cup of shredded red cabbage contains 39.9 milligrams of vitamin C, which supplies about half of your recommended dietary allowance. It provides 26.7 micrograms of vitamin K, an amount that provides 30 percent of women's and 22 percent of men's daily intake. You'll also get at least one-fourth of your RDA for vitamin A. Red cabbage is a source of the phytochemicals isothiocyanates. Even though they're not essential nutrients, these phytochemicals may lower your risk of developing some types of cancer.