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How A Round Winter Vegetable Can Build Your Bones

cabbage-osteoporosis

In some areas of the world, it’s traditional to eat cabbage on New Year’s Eve, often accompanied by ham and beans. Perhaps the tradition started because cabbage is in season in the winter, and its green color is supposed to represent money and prosperity for the upcoming year.

Regardless of how it started, I recommend you eat this alkalizing vegetable year-round because cabbage is full of bone-healthy nutrients.

There are quite a few varieties, all of which are good for your bones, and it can be used in stir-fries, soups, casseroles, and other delicious dishes. Today, I’ll share with you a creamy cabbage soup recipe that I hope you’ll love.

The Impressive Nutritional Profile of Cabbage

Cabbage is a member of the cruciferous family, which includes foods like radishes, broccoli, kale, and cauliflower. It’s an alkalizing Foundation Food in the Save Our Bones Program, and it’s featured in several recipes in the new Save Our Bones cookbook, Bone Appétit. That’s because cabbage contains some excellent bone-building nutrients such as…

Vitamin B9 (Folate)

One of the B-complex vitamins, folate works in conjunction with Vitamin B6 (also found in cabbage) and B12 to convert homocysteine to other amino acids. (Homocysteine is an inflammatory marker in the body that has been associated with increased hip fracture rates1, among other things.)

Vitamin C

Another Foundation Supplement, Vitamin C is often associated with citrus fruits. But cabbage contains 36.6mg of Vitamin C per half cup, which is more than 60% of the RDA. Vitamin C is vital for the production of collagen, which composes the majority of your bone tissue. A strong yet flexible collagen matrix is essential for preventing fractures. In addition, Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and prevents free radical damage that can harm your bones.

Potassium

This mineral is important for proper muscle function. It is also an electrolyte that helps regulate water balance inside and outside cells and it alkalizes the pH of blood.

Vitamin K

The most prevalent mineral in your bones is calcium, of course. But what’s interesting is that the calcium-binding protein called osteocalcin depends on Vitamin K to form calcium bonds. Vitamin K also works in synergy with Vitamin D to regulate osteoclasts (cells that tear down old bone to make way for new bone cells).

Tryptophan

While it’s not a Foundation Supplement, tryptophan may sound familiar to some Savers. Tryptophan is vital for the formation of picolinic acid, a chelating agent that promotes the absorption of minerals (such as calcium) through the intestinal walls.

Manganese

Like Vitamin K, manganese plays a role in blood clotting. It also helps in the synthesis of cartilage, bone, and protein and promotes the formation of thyroxine (the main hormone produced by the thyroid gland). Manganese contributes to the activation of important enzyme systems, such as superoxide dismutase.

In addition to these and other vitamins and minerals, cabbage contains bone-healthy phytonutrients such as:

Polyphenols, Powerful Antioxidants

All cruciferous vegetables rank high in the antioxidant department, but cabbage deserves special recognition as being especially high in these free-radical fighters.

Anthocyanins

These anti-inflammatory compounds boost cytokine production and act as antioxidants.

Which Variety is Best?

All cabbage varieties offer bone-healthy nutrients and delicious flavor, whether eaten cooked or raw (I recommend eating it both ways for maximum nutrient variety and absorption). Here are some of the varieties you’re likely to see in the grocery store:

  • Savoy
  • Bok-choy (Chinese cabbage)
  • Napa
  • Red (this variety is higher in Vitamin C than Green)
  • Green (Green cabbage has nearly twice the Vitamin K as Red)
  • Brussels sprouts
  • White

Choosing and Storing Cabbage

Cabbage is included in the EWG’s “Clean Fifteen” list, so it’s fine to buy the conventional kind instead of organic.

No matter which variety of cabbage you choose, look for firm, dense heads with crisp leaves. There should be no cracks or browning. If you see a lot of damage to the outer leaves, don’t assume you can just remove those; damaged outer leaves may well be indicative of worms that may have made their way to the middle of the cabbage. In addition, buy the whole head – cut or pre-shredded cabbage will have lost much of its Vitamin C content.

Store cabbage in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Although cabbage will keep from 1 to 2 weeks stored this way, try to use it within 2 or 3 days, because its Vitamin C will start to degrade.

Preparing Cabbage

Now for the best part: preparing and eating cabbage!

Right before you’re going to eat it, remove the outer leaves and, if you’re going to be chopping or shredding it (as in the recipe below), cut the cabbage into quarters and rinse them. Use a stainless steel knife to prevent turning the leaves black (which can happen with carbon steel). Then chop or shred as you like.

Here’s a flavorful, 100% alkaline recipe for cabbage soup from the Bone Appétit recipe book:

Creamy Cabbage Soup Recipe

6 Servings



INGREDIENTS


  • 1 fair-sized green cabbage, washed and finely
shredded

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon vegetarian butter*

  • 4 cups water (adjust amount according
to need)

  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 ½ cups milk substitute

  • Pepper and sea salt to taste



* Vegetarian butter refers to natural, non-hydrogenated, non-dairy spreads, except margarine, since the latter contains hydrogenated oils. If you can’t find any brand that fits this description, then use coconut oil. If so, make sure you keep your stovetop at no higher than medium setting so as not to overheat the coconut oil.



DIRECTIONS


  1. Heat cabbage and onion in boiling water.
  2. Add the butter and seasoning, and let all cook gently for 1 hour, or longer if the vegetables are
not quite tender.

  3. Add the milk substitute when the vegetables are thoroughly tender, and let all simmer gently for 10 minutes.

As mentioned above, this creamy, dairy-free recipe is from the Bone Appétit cookbook. It’s just one of over 200 recipes specifically formulated to build and nourish your bones.

Since the Save Our Bones Program was launched in 2009, the foundational principle has remained the same: the food you eat has a direct impact on your bone health. This is why the Program has extensive lists of both alkalizing and acidifying foods that contain bone-building nutrients.

Although the Save Our Bones Program does include a Recipe Sampler, many of you in the community have been asking for a comprehensive cookbook that coincides with the Program, and includes easy-to-prepare, pH-balanced recipes that build your bones and taste delicious. And now it’s here!

When you order Bone Appétit, you’ll receive the 30 Day Meal Planner and Blender Magic, two bonuses that make preparing and eating Foundation Foods easier than ever. And look inside your Bone Appétit cookbook for the third bonus: Calcilicious, a special collection of 24 calcium-rich recipes.

For more details about Bone Appétit please click here.

Till next time,

References

1 McLean, Jacques, Selhub, et al.. “Homocysteine as a predictive factor for hip fracture in older persons.” New England Journal of Medicine. 2004.

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41 comments. Leave Yours Now →

  1. Rosemarie January 18, 2014, 11:44 am

    Dear Vivian, living by your advise for a long time.
    Refused Reclast and am happy I did not do it years ago
    Now my cholesterol is 255 & my MD. wants me to take
    Lipitor. Can you give me some better solutions. I trust
    you more than any MD. Thank you for all your work.
    Rosemarie

  2. monique January 16, 2014, 9:48 am

    Hi! Vivian,
    I bought your book and your cookbook also and i would like you to tell me what is the best multi vitamins product to buy that is good for my bones.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA January 16, 2014, 2:57 pm

      I am not currently recommending a particular brand of multivitamin at this time, Monique! But I do recommend looking for a multi that “measures up” to the Foundation Supplements described in the Program. :)

      • Rosanne Astrup March 17, 2014, 9:31 am

        Vivian,
        Please feel free to check out my website for a great multi from a company that has been around for 55 years and going strong because they compare their end product to what’s in nature not with other companies. What is on the label is in the bottle. My children have been raised using their products and we have no allergies, bone loss, no meds, and a healthy home due to their biodegradable, non toxic cleaning products for over 30 years. I love this company. If they can’t find a clean raw material, guess what, they don’t make it until they can. I love their integrity, honesty and science. I also bought your bone book for my sister’s 60th birthday. I am looking to purchase your Bone Appetit book as well.
        Thank you for all your great information.
        http://www.4healthychildren.myshaklee.com
        ps Our family just loves roasted brussel sprouts!

  3. Maureen chadderton January 14, 2014, 5:32 am

    Hi Vivian.
    I love all members of the cruciferous family, including cabbage in the form of saurkraut.
    Would saurkraut have the same nutritional value as the fresh vegetable? If it has, I wonder if you have a recipe for home made saurkraut? I’d love to try it.
    By the bye, I haven’t had a DEXA scan for over two years. However, I had a clumsy fall a couple of weeks ago, landing very heavily on my open hand. Painful and lots of bruising but, try all they could, the accident and emergency docs could not find a broken bone. Proof enough to me that my bones are increasing in strength and flexibility. All thanks to you and your Save our Bones programme.
    Many thanks Vivian
    Maureen

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA January 14, 2014, 5:08 pm

      Amazing Maureen – avoiding fractures is what it is all about, and that’s just what you’ve done! Congratulations!

  4. Dawson Ross January 13, 2014, 3:30 pm

    Hello Vivian, I looked forward so much to having your new cook book, I ordered it almost immediately. 25-11-2013 . I have been waiting 50 days and still no sign of the book. I paid for it but Fedex. Say they have no record of it having been sent. They have asked me to get the tracking number from you , a ten digit number which you must have
    In your sending records. This will help them to trace the package, if sent. As a part of the
    Save our bone family I trust you will let me have this 10 digit number. yours as always.
    Dawson Ross.

    • Customer Support January 13, 2014, 6:00 pm

      Hi Ross,
      Please check your e-mail for the latest communication from our Customer Service department regarding your order. :)

  5. bea January 12, 2014, 6:54 pm

    hi vivian could you tell me anything about nutrim it is suppose to help you with high choiesterol and do you think 200 is to high i would an answer soon if you can thank you bea

  6. bea January 11, 2014, 12:18 pm

    vivian i just went to my dr. and had blood work done and my cholesterol is 200 what do i do to get it down he wants to put me on med. but i told him no way please help me thank you bea

  7. Martha January 9, 2014, 3:50 pm

    Hi
    I would like to know if the fermentation mitigates the goitrogens from the cabbage or just cooking?

  8. Sabin January 9, 2014, 10:40 am

    Dear Vivian,

    My cardio physician does not recommend me cabbage, because it lowers under 2 the value of the INR, which must be between 2 and 3, because I have to replace my pacemaker, through an chirurgical operation.
    You don’t mention in your above presentation, the antivitamin K (K as Koagulation in german) effect on coagulation of these vegetables.

    Thank you for your help (otherwise I love cabbage or broccolis or spinach).

    Sabin

    (Bone Appétit is a valuable book which I got recently)

  9. Daisy January 8, 2014, 1:32 pm

    Hi Vivian,

    Thank you so much for the info. I will always be looking for cabbage in the fruit market.

  10. Nu Ly January 8, 2014, 4:56 am

    I received your Bone Appetit books on 27 Dec. 13. Thank you very much your hard
    work. Enjoy your new year holidays.

  11. Robin January 7, 2014, 10:13 pm

    Vivian, I’m a newcomer to your whole program and am just getting started on your program. I’m hoping after I follow your program for 12 months, my next bone density test will be normal. I’ve just been diagnosed with osteoporosis and the doc wanted to give me the prolia shot and my dental hygenist begged me not to do it and gave me your name.

    I have one question – I take about 6,100 IU’s of Vitamin D3/day. I’ve been told that this is not enough. My friend just received notice that her bone density came back normal from osteopenia. She takes about 84,000 IU’s a week. My parents take 50,000 IU’s a week. Should I be taking more. I also take calcium supplements and just ordered the calcium supplement you recommended (Osteo…….?)

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA January 8, 2014, 7:09 pm

      Robin, I applaud your dental hygienist! He/she must have seen a lot of problems from osteoporosis drugs. :(

      About the Vitamin D, my suggestion is to use common sense. We know that we need vitamin D, we also know that we get it mostly from the sun (ideal) and from supplements (less ideal, but necessary). We also know that it’s a fat soluble vitamin, which means that it accumulates in the body. For this reason, I do not recommend the kind of megadoses you’re talking about. :)

      There is no cookie-cutter recommendation for everyone, since each of us spends time in the sun for varying times (or no time at all). Hence, and with the knowledge that you can always safely take the RDA of 400 IUs (as per the Save Our Bones Program), you can build from there depending on the seasons and your exposure to the sun. :)

      For more on Vitamin D, please read my blog post on this topic: http://saveourbones.com/the-latest-news-on-vitamin-d/

  12. Elef January 7, 2014, 2:35 pm

    Dear Vivian, please tell me if your book “Bonne apetite” uses the metric system of kilos for the doses of the foods to prepart instead of pounds. I would like to buy it but only if it does not use the metric of pounds,because my country uses the metric in kilos.
    I am waiting for your reply.
    Thank you

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA January 8, 2014, 7:11 pm

      Elef, the measurements in Bone Appetit are according to the American system of cups, teaspoons, tablespoons, etc. :)

  13. Virginia Sullivan January 7, 2014, 10:22 am

    Vivian, Off the suggest of cabbage, I would like to know what you
    think of a joint medicine, TFXFlex which is carried by GNC. A fairly new
    product with strong recommendations and comments by the company that it has ingredients which help with bone strength as well as relieving joint pain. I would be interested to know your opinion on this.
    Thanks
    from Virginia in VA.

  14. Leslie (Ms. L. Carmel) January 7, 2014, 9:55 am

    Hi! Vivian,

    I LOVE Cabbage. You Can Do A Lot Of Things With Cabbage. You Can Put It In Salads, Use It In A Sweet And Sour Brisket, Make Rolled Cabbage, And Lots More.

    Thank You Very Much, For All You Do For Us.
    Hope You Are Having A Healthy, Prosperous, And Very-
    ”Happy New Year”!

    Love, Leslie (Ms. L. Carmel)

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA January 7, 2014, 1:54 pm

      You are right, Leslie – it’s a very versatile vegetable! I hope you are having a healthy and happy New Year too. :)

  15. Marge January 6, 2014, 10:38 pm

    Great info, Vivian. I just learned about this cool little recipe and will try it soon.
    GARLIC RUBBED ROASTED CABBAGE STEAKS
    google it. It looks fab!

  16. DPK January 6, 2014, 4:19 pm

    Vivian,

    For someone with Osteopenia and hypothyroidism that is desperately trying to reverse the bone loss and shooting to get back to normal levels… How do I balance eating lots of alkaline fruits and vegetables for bone building while not overdoing goitrogenic foods like cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, strawberries, sweet potatoes, etc?

    Is the goitrogenic risk smaller than not eating them and not getting the bone benefits?

  17. jean January 6, 2014, 4:07 pm

    Is there a very good diet for uncreative colitis please Sincerely J Bromelow

    • Morely January 6, 2014, 10:03 pm

      =========for UC IBD IBS————————-
      For Ulcerative Colitis–see the paleo-like, whole foods diet titled –
      Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet Paperback
      by Elaine Gloria Gottschall (Author).
      There is free info on the web and read the book reviews on Amazon.
      Morely
      ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

  18. Rosetta Hodge January 6, 2014, 3:13 pm

    Vivian, what do you think algea cal with strontium boost

  19. Janet January 6, 2014, 2:45 pm

    Vivian, I tried the true osteo calcium for 10 months & I am disappointed to say that my most recent dexa scan was worse than my last one from 10 months ago. Is there anyone else that had improvement after taking the true osteo supplement?

    Thank you, Janet

  20. Patty January 6, 2014, 1:08 pm

    I understand that chestnuts are very good for your bones. How can I tell if the chestnut tree in my yard is the type that is edible?

  21. Myriam Khoury January 6, 2014, 1:04 pm

    Hello Vivian,
    I have ordered your Bone Appetit Cookbook in december.
    The tracking N°is LN844478051US. I have been tracking it every day. Departing date bu USPS is on december 7th, the parcel has been in Jamaica NY 11430 since december 9th and has not moved since??? I’m worried it might be lost.
    I’m sending the details of the order below. Kindly enquire about it.
    Awiting your reply.
    Happy New Year to you and all your staff. A big thank you for all your wonderful articles.
    Sincerely,
    Myriam Khoury

    • Customer Support January 6, 2014, 8:30 pm

      Dear Myriam, thanks so much for your order! Please check your email for a detailed answer about your package.

  22. bea mowry January 6, 2014, 11:53 am

    hi vivian and happy new year i have a question about the perfect day muffin i made them and they were very dry there was not enough liquid to make them even moist i followed everything just like it is in the recipe what is wrong thank you bea

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA January 6, 2014, 8:25 pm

      Hi Bea, Happy New Year to you and yours too! You can add a little almond milk, vegetarian butter or even apple sauce to the mixture so it’ll be more moist. Enjoy :)

  23. Martha January 6, 2014, 11:22 am

    Thank you for making the cook book, I am very pleased with the books, it is make at very simple balancing the alkaline and acidic food. I already made couple of recipes, it is delicious and easy to make. I can,t fined the Calcilicious, a special collection of 24 calcium-rich recipes. What pg. is it?
    Thank you again to bee there to help to revers osteoporosis. I do believe in your program 100%

  24. Lynn January 6, 2014, 7:46 am

    You can absolutely eat cabbage – it is not “damaging” to your thyroid. It does have some goitrogens – as MANY foods do. If you ate a huge quantity of raw cabbage it would be problematic – but reasonable amounts, especially of cooked cabbage, should be just fine.

    Cooking mitigates the goitrogens.

  25. june whittingham January 6, 2014, 6:12 am

    Hello Vivian

    My concern is I have a underactive thyroid and my understanding is that cruciferous vegetables should be avoided so am wondering what your advice is.

    Thank you for all your wonderful help – it has allowed me to stop taking dangerous medication!

    June

    • Lynn January 6, 2014, 7:42 am

      @June – you don’t have to avoid all cruciferous vegetables. They are super healthy foods – just don’t eat large quantities of raw ones. Cooking mitigates the goitrogens.

      I also have thyroid issues – and I eat a fair amount of all the things you could ever find on the lists of goitrogens with no problem. If you ate a bucket of coleslaw you might notice a problem, but not many of us do that!

  26. Yaelah Gal January 6, 2014, 6:09 am

    what is wrong with a bit of real butter instead of all sorts of artificial substitutes? Quality butter from grass fed animal is one of the most nutritious and essential foods nature has for us.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA January 6, 2014, 8:26 pm

      You can use real butter, Yaelah, but remember it’s acidifying, so it’ll change the balance a little bit.

  27. carmela January 6, 2014, 5:44 am

    hi

    thank you for your on going info regarding our bones.
    I’m 65 and have a thyroid condition as well.
    I know cabbige is good also as a cancer prevention food,
    beneficial not only for the bones, but very damaging for
    the thyroid. there are more ”conflicting” foods like that…
    what am I suppose to do?
    thank you,
    carmela

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA January 6, 2014, 9:56 am

      I understand, Carmela! But luckily, there are lots of other bone-healthy foods. This is just one food I wanted to highlight, but it certainly doesn’t mean you have to eat it to build your bones! :)

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