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Cabbage & Breast Cancer


Triple Intake Reduced Risk by 66%, One Study Found

You’ve heard of the Mediterranean Diet, the South Beach Diet…but how about the Polish Diet? It’s no joke: Polish women, who consume three times more cabbage than their American peers, enjoy a two-thirds lower risk of developing breast cancer, according to one study.

We could think of no better way to honor October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month than to remind women of the preventive benefits of fruits and vegetables — particularly, cabbage. According to University of New Mexico findings, it turns out Polish women eat about 30 pounds of cabbage annually, compared to 10 pounds for American women, a difference researchers believe contributes to the 66% lower risk of breast cancer enjoyed in Poland. In fact, Polish women who immigrated to the U.S. actually tripled their risk of developing this disease in only one generation!

Among all cruciferous vegetables, cabbage has the highest levels of two anti-cancer glucosinolates,  which help trigger enzyme defenses and may inhibit tumor growth. Opt for lighter cooking methods: Previous research found that long boiling reduced glucosinolate content by 77%. No wonder the protective effects of cabbage were most pronounced when it was either blanched or eaten raw (as in sauerkraut) at least three times per week — little to no benefit was found for over-cooked or stewed cabbage.For “just right” cabbage try our featured recipe, “Cabbage with Walnuts and Sesame Seeds.”

A cup of green cabbage provides 102% of your daily vitamin K and 45% of your daily vitamin C, all for 20 calories. Though a head above the rest, cabbage is not alone in its promising prevention prowess.

The cornucopia of foods that may fight breast cancer include  cauliflower, apples, broccoli, cranberries, tomatoes, and beans).

Published October 1, 2008

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