Cabbage is among nature’s super foods to fight disease

Cabbage and its family relatives are on the list of “super foods” that support our health in many ways.

A recent study about cabbage and its potential to help people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) caught my attention and I want to share it with you.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease occurs in about 25% of the population worldwide. The rate is higher in the United States and has been steadily increasing since 1990, including a rising rate of disease in children. This disease is characterized by the accumulation of fat in the liver and is most common among those who are obese, have high cholesterol and high triglycerides, or have Type 2 diabetes.

Since everything that we eat or drink is filtered through our liver, it makes sense that changing our diet and reducing our weight has a major impact on whether or not we develop NAFLD. And, like diabetes, it may be reversed if caught in the early stages.

Researchers at Texas A& M University have recently discovered a chemical found in members of the cabbage family that has the potential of preventing or treating NAFLD. The compound, indole, is a natural compound found in gut bacteria and in cabbage, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts and other members of the cabbage family. The research was published in January 2020 in Hepatology, a medical journal sponsored by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

In an article about this research, written by Paul Schattenberg of Texas A& M AgriLife Extension Service, Dr. Chaodong Wu, principal investigator for the study, was quoted summarizing the study, “Based on this research, we believe healthy foods with high capacity for indole production are essential for preventing NAFLD and are beneficial for improving the health of those with it. This is another example where altering the diet can help prevent or treat disease and improve the wellbeing of the individual.”

Previous research has shown that members of the cabbage family can also play a role in preventing cancer and reduce inflammation which leads to a number of chronic diseases.

So, this is a family of vegetables to love, as they surely love us.

Today, the Growing Growers Farmers Market, located in Firemen’s Park, at 201 North 1st Street, McAllen will feature locally grown cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and several kinds of kale.

This market, just off of Business 83, is open from 9 a.m. to noon, every Saturday, year-round.

Check at the Welcome Desk for recipes and information on NAFLD and its prevention.

For information on the market, contact (956) 330-6410 and for information on NAFLD, go to www.liverfoundation.org.

Barbara Storz is a local horticulturist. Contact her by e-mail at barbara. storz@hotmail.com.