Eat Your Greens –Red Cabbage Microgreens to Reduce Heart Disease Risk

Posted 02/14/2017 | By HealthCorps

What are red cabbage microgreens? They are an immature form of red cabbage.  Of course all greens are healthy, but a new study suggests that these red cabbage microgreens may be especially effective at reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Microgreens are actually the seedlings of edible plants and herbs, harvested before they are mature.  Considered a high end garnish, they have now grown in popularity in the U.S. because they can be grown with little effort in window boxes.  Some examples of microgreens that can be home grown include kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, some lettuces and red cabbage.  These microgreens, though immature, contain significant levels of vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene – more than their mature counterparts.  According to the new study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, these high levels of nutrients may offer significant health benefits.

Prior studies examined the influence of mature red cabbage consumption and its impact on LDL, noting that it helps to lower levels of the “bad cholesterol.”  The researchers decided to see if the “younger stages” of red cabbage would have a similar or even more potent impact.  To test this hypothesis the researchers took 60 mice and randomized them to one of six “feeding groups:”  The diets included:

  • A low fat diet
  • A high fat diet
  • A low fat diet + red cabbage microgreens
  • A high fat diet + microgreens
  • A low fat diet + mature red cabbage
  • A high fat diet + mature red cabbage

The results after feeding the mice an eight week diet showed that including red cabbage – mature and microgreens – helped to reduce weight in in the groups on a high fat diet and both versions helped to lower LDL levels.

The researchers also found that red microgreens specifically contained higher levels of polyphenols and glucosinolates, which are compounds that can lower cholesterol, and levels were higher in the microgreens compared to levels in the more mature red cabbage.  The group fed a high fat diet plus the microgreens also had much lower levels of circulating LDL cholesterol compared to the group that consumed a high fat diet plus mature red cabbage (though LDL levels were also reduced in this group).

The researchers suggest that based on their findings, including microgreens in your daily diet may help to modulate weight gain and also help with cholesterol metabolism.  It may also protect against hypercholesterolemia-induced heart disease.

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